Babywearing for Beginners
I’ll never forget how I was introduced to babywearing. I immediately saw the benefits as a beginner and let’s just say I became obsessed! I’ll breakdown babywearing for beginners, including carrier types, myths and more!
Why I became obsessed with babywearing!
My first daughter was brand new, and I went to see my doula at her Bradley birthing class to share our story about how amazing the whole experience was. She had suggested getting a stretchy wrap to wear our daughter in around the house.
We bought one and at first, I hated it! What the hell was I supposed to do with all of that fabric and keep her secure in it?!
So, we took our wrap with us, and she showed us an easier, more realistic way to wrap. Hint: I bunch up the stretchy wrap and don’t waste my time folding it in half!
After a couple of practices over the sofa and bed, we became pro’s and babywearing became comforting for all of us! It was AMAZING to see her calm down and fall asleep on me….AND BE HANDS FREE!
We then moved on to an Ergo baby soft structured carrier! It was great…until it wasn’t. More about that in a bit!
Benefits of Babywearing:
- Bonding: you need to calm your newborn baby…skin to skin. Comfort. Snuggles!
- Encourages breastfeeding: your baby is close to the “breastraunt” so there will be more access to breastfeed!
- Hands free: at home and out and about.
- Decrease reflux: since baby is in an upright position, this will help decrease reflux symptoms.
- Tummy time: this helps babies strengthen head and neck control.
- Temperature regulation: your baby will be close and warm and able to regulate their body temperature more easily.
- Better sleep: babywearing helps mimic the womb and keep your baby close and they can hear your heartbeat so baby can rest better.
- Hip position: when done correctly, babywearing can help with hip positioning in babies (https://hipdysplasia.org/ergonomic-infant-carrier-promotes-increased-breastfeeding/)
- Developmental benefits: your baby will be exposed to many more stimuli so this will help with brain development.
- Reduce the chance of strangers trying to touch your baby: I haven’t personally struggled with this, but I know so many mamas who have. Babywearing while out and about will certainly decrease the chance that a stranger would attempt to touch your baby. I’m not even going on that rant 🤦🏽♀️ *whispers* but WHY do strangers think they can touch your baby?!
Babywearing can benefit mom, baby and other parents and caregivers! It truly is such a special experience.
Types of Carriers:
Stretchy wraps: long pieces of typically cotton fabric that can be wrapped around your body, typically for front wearing only
Wraps: many different blends of fabrics and in many different sizes, worn in lots of different carries, very versatile, front, back or hip carries
Ring Slings: different fabric blends with 2 rings, great for newborn stage, can put some strain on one shoulder if not worn correctly
Soft Structured Carriers: these have a waistband, with a chest clip and 2 shoulder straps, most can be used for front or back carries
Onbuhimos: a soft structured carrier without the waistband, great for the newborn stage IF you are using a brand that is tested and sized for that age and weight, mostly for back carries but can also be for front carries
Water Carriers: different brands, fabric types and types of carriers. Always make sure it is a water-friendly carrier!
My favorite types of carriers are stretchy wraps, soft structured carriers and onbuhimos! We never got into regular wrapping that much and we found our groove with these other carriers. It’s based on personal preference and comfort so test them out!
My favorite stretchy wrap is a Kea Babies wrap carrier. I really like it because it has 2 distinguished sides, which makes it super easy for a beginner wrapper. The outside is a smooth fabric, while the inside is a bit more textured.
Textured doesn’t mean rough. It’s still very soft. It just helps to tell which side is which so you can untangle and untwist when needed.
I recently recorded some safe babywearing tips for stretchy wrap carriers and will link them here!
Keababies wrap carrier regular hold safety tip video
Keababies wrap carrier newborn hold safety tip video
Soft Structured Carriers (SSC’s)
I have 2 brands that I absolutely love for an SSC. Kinderpack and Naked Panda Designs (NPD).
In terms of adjustability, they are very similar. The main differences is that the waistband on the kinderpack isn’t as wide and is a bit more stiff.
NPD waistbands are wider, which for me provided more support and comfort. The shoulder padding is thicker as well and worked well for us for support on my aching shoulders. NPD also has multiple types of fabric, including water friendly fabric. We will talk about that in a second.
My husband prefers the kinderpack because they are easier to adjust. This just shows you that it is about preference and comfort.
For naked panda designs, their SSC is called a Full Buckle.
Why I don’t recommend Ergo Baby Carriers…
Years ago, Ergo’s were great. Now, there are many other carriers on the market that provide much more support and are more breathable.
I had lots of back pain with an Ergo and have heard this from manyyyy mom’s. Their shoulder and waistband padding isn’t a lot and in my opinion, doesn’t provide enough support.
If you try one and love it, that’s great! Babywearing isn’t a one size fits all experience and you do have to try them on!
There are lots and lots of brands out there. One of my favorite brands is again, Naked Panda Designs. The biggest factor that got me to love them is that they can be used starting at 7lbs, as long as it’s not a ‘big kid onbuhimo’ (the company’s terminology). ALWAYS double check the weight limits before purchasing.
Wearing an onbuhimo with a newborn was so easy and comfortable. I wish I had discovered onbuhimo’s with my first daughter.
There are other brands out there, just check the weight limits and make sure they can be adjusted and used with a newborn. Always follow the safety standards for each brand of baby carrier!
I am not an affiliate for Naked Panda Designs, however, maybe I should be?! 😆
NPD has a carrier line called Mer, as in mermaid, because mer’s can get wet. 🧜🏼♀️
They make onbuhimo’s and SSC’s in mer fabric. And oh my goodness….they are AMAZING! I wouldn’t waste your money on other water carriers because you can purchase ONE NPD carrier and use in and out of the water.
Mer NPD’s are super easy to use and mostly quick drying. The full buckles may take a little longer to dry than an onbuhimo but still relatively quick drying.
I do recommend having 2 carriers (or more 🤪). One for the car, one for home and one for backup, especially if one is a water carrier.
Most carriers/wraps don’t require too much care. Wash when dirty and keep folded or hung up away from pets. Always follow the specific brand’s care instructions, as each brand may be slightly different.
I keep my carriers hung up in the closet or folded nicely in a large bag in the car so I always have one with me.
How long can you babywear?
Depending on the carrier, as long as you want! As I referenced in the onbuhimo section, there are ‘big kid’ onbuhimo’s and different weight limits for each stage.
The cool thing about babywearing is that if you start wearing when baby is born, then your muscles get used to it so continuing to wear them into toddlerhood won’t be much of an adjustment or strain on your muscles.
ALWAYS follow the brand’s weight limits and don’t exceed those recommendations. The carriers have been weight tested and they have limits in place for safety reasons.
Babywearing is such a great gift and has been around for a very long time in many cultures! It can be done safely and can be very beneficial for each caregiver.
If you have questions about babywearing, you can DM me on Instagram or email me. I’m happy to help! While you’re on IG, give me a follow and please say Hello!