Babywearing has become an instinctive parenting style over the years as it allows a busy parent the freedom to continue a hands-free, daily routine while providing the child with a rich environment. While it’s great to have your baby snuggled up close to you, ergonomics is something every parent needs to consider when carrying a baby in a sling or another form of carrier.
Once you find a carrier, wrap, or sling to best suit your everyday needs (and figure out how to put it on – thank you, YouTube), the next step is to make sure you and your little one are positioned properly. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your baby is correctly positioned in the baby carrier to best support your body:
Be Aware of How you Lift your Little One: It is important to use proper body mechanics to lift your child, especially as your child gets bigger. Good lifting mechanics require you to bend at your knees (not your back) and keep the weight as close to you as possible. For example, think about lifting a gallon of milk off the floor (about 8.5 pounds) – which would be easier? Lifting while keeping your arms out straight as you stand up or bringing the gallon of milk to your chest before standing up? The closer you bring the weight to your body, the better!
Keep it Symmetric: It’s not always possible to carry your little one in the middle-region of your body, especially if you’re trying to multi-task. I commonly catch myself with my daughter on my left hip so my right arm is free. Whether you have a newborn in a sling or your two year-old on your hip, make sure you share the love between the left and right side. It’s important to keep your body balanced, and split the load between the sides over time (hips when carrying – shoulders when wearing), and it’s also very important for baby. If you’re wearing a sling or wrap, make sure to change the direction your baby is facing (head turned left or right), so they are not consistently in one position.
Disperse the Load: If you continue to use a wrap or carrier as your child gets bigger, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re carrying the load correctly. First, make sure that your child is centered correctly in the carrier and securely tightened to you – not only for baby’s safety, but also because the closer you carry the load to your body, the less strain it will have on you (similar to the first point above). Also, try to spread the load across as much of your body as possible. Carriers with waist straps in addition to shoulder straps are going to disperse weight better, and make it safer and easier for you to carry your growing bundle!
Babywearing doll in feature image found here.