By Marie Blois, MD, member of API’s Board of Directors
One of the biggest mistakes that new parents make is giving up too soon on soft carriers. Because we often do not have real-life models, wearing our babies can initially feel awkward. Babywearing is a learned skill that takes patience, and the best way to become an expert at wearing your baby is to wear your baby often. To help you do that, here are some general tips:
- All soft carriers should hold baby high and tight for maximum comfort and safety.
- Baby should be rested and well fed before trying a new carrier.
- Adjust carrier before handling baby, as babies tend to get very impatient with a lot of fumbling about.
- While adjusting your carrier, try bouncing baby up and down (small, fast bounces) and shushing to soothe baby.
- Once your baby is safely in the carrier, get moving! Babies love the soothing motion. Try walking outdoors.
- Be persistent: Try new positions until you and baby are comfortable. Observe how your baby likes to be carried in your arms and then try to duplicate that favorite position with your carrier.
- Start with baby’s head out of the fabric and plan to tuck it in when baby falls asleep. Many babies do not like having their head inside fabric.
- General back wearing tip: Always lean forward while tightening the carrier to position baby high and tight.
- Practice in front of a mirror until you feel confident.
- Practice at home, with another person if necessary, until you feel confident.
- Watch other experienced babywearers – at local Attachment Parenting International groups, La Leche League meetings, or on the playground.
Don’t be afraid to try new positions and new carriers. Your baby will let you know when she is uncomfortable or when she has had enough. Enjoy this time with you baby.
Excerpted from: Blois, M. (2005). Babywearing: The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition. Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing. www.ibreastfeeding.com.
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