Avoid These 3 Common Babywearing Mistakes

by Beth Warrell Leistensnider

This post was made possible by the generous support of Catbird Baby Carriers.

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The benefits of babywearing abound. It promotes physical and emotional development, strengthens the bond between parent and baby, allows baby a bird’s eye view of the world, allows parents to be hands-free and can allow for on-the-go breastfeeding. Here are some common errors when first using a carrier.

Too Low, Too Loose

Always aim for the baby to be high and tight or “visible and kissable.” You always want to be able to keep a close eye on your baby and be able to monitor his breathing. Remember to reposition baby after you’ve finished nursing him.

Babywearing too low and too loose

babywearing safety

Catbird soft structure carrier too low too loose

Babywearing safety from Catbird with TLBsafeKids

High and comfortably snug

Catbird babywearing safety with TLBsafeKids

Safe babywearing with Catbird and TLBsafeKids

Fit Tip: When putting the carrier on, hold your baby in the proper position on your body (on your chest where you naturally hold him), then bring the carrier to your baby and tighten while supporting his weight. If you support the baby’s weight gently in one hand, it will be much easier to adjust your carrier.

Carrier That’s Too big

When using a carrier that’s too big, getting the proper fit can be tough and safety can become an issue. Infants may not get the lateral and spinal support they need, the carrier may be too tall/cover the head, or their knees may be spread too far apart. When using traditional SSCs with newborns, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, make the proper adjustments and use recommended inserts as indicated. Remember, visible and kissable! *An earlier version of this article did not include photos of adjusted fit for proper and safe babywearing. Those images have been added for clarity.

Traditional soft structured carrier that is too wide/tall for this baby.

 

Babywearing safety Lillebaby

Babywearing safety Ergo too big

Adjusted for proper fit
  Babywearing safety Lillebaby

Babywearing safety Ergo

 

The unstructured design of mei teis, ring slings, wraps and buckle carries like the Catbird Baby Pikkolo are great for newborns. 

How to babywear safely with Catbird baby

Safe babywearing positioning

Fit Tip: When babies are little, less is more. Look for carriers that provide snug support without excess fabric or padding.

Compromised Airway

Babiess can sometimes slump into a chest to chin position when in their baby carriers (or car seats or bouncers). The upright, tummy-to-tummy position is the easiest way to maintain an open airway.

 Cradle position poses a risk 

babywearing clear airways dangerous positions

 

 Tummy-to-tummy position for safety

Tummy-to-tummy position for optimal babywearing safety

 

Fit Tip: Make sure that your baby’s chin is off the chest and that there is adequate airflow. Never cover baby’s head with a blanket.

Babywearing is a great parenting tool! With the right carrier (or carriers) for you, you and baby will look and feel comfortable. If you’re having trouble getting the right fit, babywearing groups, volunteer and certified babywearing educators are wonderful resources.

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What is your favorite babywearing safety tip?

Share with us below and visit CatBird Baby on Facebook for more information and babywearing safety support.

Beth Warrell Leistensnider is the founder and owner of Catbird Baby. She is a pioneer in the baby carrier industry and leader in both local and international babywearing circles. A former volunteer babywearing educator, she is also a certified babywearing instructor with the Center for Babywering Studies and on the executive board of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. She started babywearing with her daughter who is now 12.
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