What is Babywearing & FAQ

What is babywearing actually? This question and some Frequently Asked Questions are answered here. If you still have questions, feel free to contact me.

What is Babywearing?

Babywearing means holding or carrying a baby in a sling or another form of carrier. Holding babies is natural and babywearing has been around for centuries. Babywearing has been practiced all around the world in all different cultures.

Babywearing is great for cuddles and bonding but it is also very practical as it allows parents and caregivers to carry their children while continuing their daily tasks.

There is no need to have an expensive wrap or carrier, but a carrier needs to be safe and comfortable for the wearer and baby. It is also very important to follow the T.I.C.K.S. guidelines.

What is the difference between a sling and a baby carrier?

The terms are used simultaneously and are basically the same thing. However woven and stretchy wraps and ring slings are usually referred to as slings and soft structured carriers and mei tais are usually referred to as baby carriers.

From what age can I babywear?

You can start wearing a baby from birth and it is important to only use carriers that are appropriate for your baby’s/toddlers age and weight. In the online shop all carriers have their age/weight restrictions specified which makes it easier to make sure you decide on a carrier that suits you and your baby.

Are there any types of carriers that are recommended for ‘beginners’?

Some materials for wraps are easier to use for beginners as they are softer or more flexible. 100% cotton would be a good one if you are a first time wrapper. There are different wrapping techniques and some are easier to start with but the more you wear the easier it gets and when your child gets older and has more head control you can learn other techniques. Soft Structured Carriers and Mei Tais are more self explanatory however it is very important to first learn how to use the carrier correctly before trying it on your baby. Practice first with a teddy bear first, get someone to help you and use a mirror. You can also book a workshop or a consult in order to get it right for you and your baby. In the shop there is a filter with suggestions for ‘beginner’ carriers.

Does every baby like to be carried in a sling?

Sometimes a baby needs to familiarise with being in a sling, this is more common when you start carrying from an older age vs from birth or few weeks old.It is also possible that your baby isn’t tied / positioned correctly and is uncomfortable. If you are exhausted or not comfortable your baby will pick up these signals.

How do I babywear in different weather conditions?

It is important to protect your baby from the elements, sun, rain, cold.

Hot/sunny weather: Always use a sun hat on your baby (one that you can tie under the chin are great otherwise you’re baby will keep losing it), use sunscreen only when your baby is old enough (check with your local health nurse/gp), cover all limbs but do not overdress your baby. A long sleeve vest and baby leggings or tights is usually enough. Keep in mind that sling material is also a layer of clothing. Love the shade. Do not carry your baby when there is a chance of overheating.

When it is cold: don’t let your baby get too cold in the winter. The material of your carrier is a replacement for one layer of clothing. Keep the head, neck and feet warm. Wear a large jacket or special babywearing coat so that your baby’s body is totally covered.

When it is raining: use a large umbrella.

Can my baby breathe freely or do I need to be afraid of suffocation?

Baby carriers are safe if your baby is positioned correctly. It isn’t rocket science but here are a few tips to make sure your baby can breathe freely:

1. A baby’s chin should never be curled so that their chin is forced onto their chest. By keeping the chin off the chest you keep your baby’s airway free, otherwise the ability to breathe can become restricted. Ensure there is always space of at least a fingers width under your baby’s chin. (K from the T.I.C.K.S. guidelines)

2. Do not allow your baby’s head and face to be covered by fabric as it will restrict your baby to turn its head (which they can do from birth). Covering the head and face also keeps you from frequently checking on your baby.

Does babywearing hurt my back?

It should not hurt if if you wear your baby correctly (tight enough, tying method suitable for age and weight of baby).

Are there any activities that are not recommended while babywearing?

Be aware of how your movements affect the baby and avoid any bumping or jarring motions so don’t go running or jumping on trampolines! Avoid any activities that have an increased risk of falling. Use your common sense and always make your baby’s safety your priority.

Is it possible to breastfeed in a sling?

Most people find breastfeeding in itself a skill that needs to be mastered before they can combine it with babywearing!

My baby is nosy, why shouldn't I wear my baby forward facing?

By carrying your baby in a facing out position the leg/hips are not in an anatomically correct position and it might cause a hollow back and unnatural posture. Besides this your baby will be directly confronted with information of the surroundings and they cannot turn away from all the stimuli. Instead you could carry your baby using a hip carry or back carry (looking over your shoulders).

What does knee-to-knee mean and what does cinching mean?

The term knee to knee means that the material of your sling goes from your baby’s knee to knee, ensuring a correct physiological position and avoiding strains on your baby’s pelvis, spine and hip joints. By wearing your baby in a knee-to-knee position your baby sits on their bottom in a squat position (also called M-position or froggy leg position). This is the natural position that a baby has when laying down or being held.

Cinching is a technique to make the base of a sling smaller to make it fit your baby knee-to-knee. You can just use a ribbon or a scarf to pull the sling material.

Do I need to ‘break in’ every sling and how do I do this?

Slings are a bit like shoes, they get comfier the more they are used. Woven wraps and ring slings can be washed and steam ironed to help them soften quicker.

Can I wash my carrier?

Slings can be washed and I suggest you follow the washing instructions carefully. However as a rule of thumb all slings should be washed at low temperature with liquid detergent and no fabric softeners. Try cleaning Soft Structured Carriers (Buckles) using a wet cloth but if you need to wash them put them in a pillow case for protection.