Babywearing can safely be done with your child, and it can be such an enjoyable bonding experience for both parent and baby. We’re going to talk about all things babywearing, including breastfeeding while babywearing…Yes, that’s possible too!!!
Is babywearing safe?
When done correctly, babywearing is 100% safe! The acronym TICKS (from babyslingsafety.co.uk) is an easy way to remember how to babywear safely!
T is for tight enough so that your baby’s posture is correct while being worn.
I is for in view at all times, which means you should be able to see your baby’s face at all times. Ensure that baby’s nose and baby’s mouth are not covered.
C is for close enough to kiss, meaning make sure your baby is wrapped up high enough to easily kiss.
K is for keep chin off of chest, referring to your baby’s chin off of their chest.
S is for supported back, making sure the baby carrier is tight enough so that your baby’s back does not slump.
We are going to dive in a little more to proper positioning soon, and proper weight guidelines as well. If all these things are done correctly when using a baby carrier, babywearing is a safe and enjoyable way to keep your baby close to you!
Benefits of Babywearing
The benefits of babywearing could be multiple blog posts so this list isn’t an exhaustive list!
Keeping your baby close and warm, especially during the winter months. This is very beneficial to both mama and baby.
Allows the wearer to be hands-free. Do about your daily chores including taking care of older children while wearing your newborn baby in a baby carrier. All it takes is a little practice.
Both parents can wear baby to help create a strong bond. Babywearing is for both new moms and new dads. You can choose a neutral color baby carrier to share or have one for each of you to match your personal style, one to keep in the diaper bag for your travels is a brilliant idea as well!
Can soothe a crying and seemingly inconsolable baby, which can reduce stress among parents. Comforting a new baby is a big challenge and wearing your baby can greatly make things a little easier for parents and other caregivers.
Can help strengthen babies’ neck and back muscles (like tummy time). Among the many benefits of babywearing is the support your baby’s delicate body gets used to being in an upright position, further developing the strength of neck and back muscles to support the weight of baby’s head.
Helps parents become aware of feeding cues sooner since baby will be close. Having your little one in a baby wrap close to your body will better make you aware of his or her gestures especially when hungry.
Can be done for skin-to-skin time. One of the beauties of using a baby wrap carrier is that you can have skin-to-skin time without feeling exposed. You can wear your diaper-only clad baby even if there are other people around and still be appropriately covered, both mama and newborn baby.
There are a few popular baby carrier options in the market, such as the Tula Baby Carrier, Baby K’tan, the Solly Baby Wrap, and the KeaBabies Baby Wrap Carrier. I personally feel that using the KeaBabies Wrap Carrier is GREAT for skin to skin. The baby wrap is soft enough for your and babies’ skin and will help keep you both warm. I love this wrap carrier for skin to skin around the house!
One of the best benefits (although I may be slightly biased) is breastfeeding while babywearing! For breastfeeding mothers out there, Yes!, you can breastfeed while wearing your baby. You can breastfeed your baby with most baby carriers, even with structured baby carriers (the key is in loosening the shoulder straps when you want to feed baby). Although it can take a lot of practice, the benefits are all worth it. Done in the right position, nursing while babywearing can be considered as additional support to any mom. You can nurse discreetly while on the go, or breastfeed your baby anywhere, anytime in a baby carrier. You can check with your lactation consultant for further guidance with regards to nursing in the baby carrier if required.
If you are a breastfeeding parent, babywearing will make it easier and hands-free. I suggest getting breastfeeding established then practice babywearing around the house and then putting them together. It may seem awkward on your first try at breastfeeding and babywearing. That’s ok because you’re learning to put both things together. Keep practicing and soon, you’ll be a pro at both!
PRO TIP for babywearing and breastfeeding:
Wear t shirts that will allow easy access to your breast, either pulling your shirt up or pushing it down.
Babywearing and Mastitis:
While we’re on the subject of breastfeeding and babywearing, let’s discuss mastitis. Can babywearing cause mastitis? Well, the short answer is it could if proper precautions aren’t taken.
Mastitis is caused when the milk has built up in the milk ducts and has caused inflammation that has most likely become infective. To reduce these chances, milk must flow easily from milk ducts. Anything tight, including bras, clothing, and carriers can reduce the milk flow.
Take a little extra care to make sure that none of those items are too tight around your breasts, especially if you’re feeling engorged, and there shouldn’t be any issues with your nursing your little one.
Babywearing and Hip Dysplasia:
Oh boy…this could be its own blog post as well! If you have followed the directions of how to properly position your baby and tie the wrap carrier, there is a low risk of hip dysplasia while babywearing.
The proper position means that baby’s legs should be in the M position, where your babies’ knees are slightly higher than the buttocks.
To read more about hip dysplasia, visit International Hip Dysplasia Institute
Babywearing and Sleep problems:
I’d say the main issue you will have is that your baby will LOVE sleeping close to you because this mimics your baby being in the womb. Safe sleeping in a wrap carrier can be done properly. Always make sure you can see your baby’s face and they do not slouch down in the wrap carrier while sleeping.
When can I babywear? And for how long?
If your baby meets the minimum weight requirements for the wrap carrier, which is 7lbs, then you can wear your baby as soon as they are born. In terms of how long, your baby will tell you! There is no set time you should or shouldn’t wear your baby. At some point, you will probably both want a break. Trust your parent instinct!
How long can I use the baby carrier wrap?
The KeaBabies Baby Wrap Carrier has been tested for babies who are 0 to 36 months and 7 to 35 lbs. If your newborn or toddler is within those ranges, the wrap carrier is safe to use!
Bonus Feature, especially for beginner babywearing parents!
Starting out with a long piece of fabric that is the same color throughout can be difficult for beginner babywearing parents. It gets twisted and difficult to tell which side is which and where to tighten. Probably the most standout feature and my favorite is that the KeaBabies baby carrier fabric essentially has 2 sides, making it much easier to tell the 2 sides apart. The top side (the part of the fabric that is on the outside, not touching your baby) is the smooth side. The bottom side (the part of the fabric that does touch your baby and can’t be seen when worn properly and not twisted) is the textured side.
By texture, I don’t mean rough or uncomfortable. It’s soft with a textured look. Having these 2 distinguished sides of the fabric will make beginner babywearing much easier and faster to learn!
The KeaBabies Wrap Carrier:
Using the KeaBabies wrap carrier will be an excellent start or addition to your baby carrier collection. It’s one size fits all so it’s great for petite parents as well as plus-sized parents. The material is so soft and supportive, plus, it comes in a multitude of fun colors that you can match according to your outfits or mood. Aside from being a baby carrier, it can also be used as a nursing cover, a swaddle, or a blanket for your baby as well!
The KeaBabies Baby Carrier is a multi-award winner, having won awards from Verywell, Baby Maternity Awards, and Family Choice. It is highly raved by modern parents around the world, and is also acknowledged hip-healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI).
Using the KeaBabies Baby Carrier provides back and shoulder support, as it distributes baby’s weight evenly.
The KeaBabies Baby Wrap Carrier also comes in cute box ready for gifting! In a nutshell, you really can’t go wrong with a KeaBabies wrap carrier.
Happy babywearing and breastfeeding!
Meet Our Guest Writer: Shea Collier, RN, CLC
Shea is a registered nurse and certified lactation counselor (CLC), who is passionate about empowering new moms to build a bond with their baby through breastfeeding and babywearing. She believes that new moms need support throughout their parenting journey and provides both prenatal and postpartum education and counseling for breastfeeding and beyond. She currently offers 1:1 virtual support through her private practice, Kinda Crunchy Shea. She lives with her husband, 2 spirited daughters, and 2 dogs in Georgia and loves to caffeinate with coffee in the morning and spend time near water!