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Having your baby next to you at all times is nothing new to parents, especially when they’re newborn. Many babies become really upset if they’re not being cuddled or held which can make even the simplest of things like going to the shops or making a cup of tea harder than it needs to be.
This is why baby wearing products such as carriers, wraps and slings are popular because it enables you to be as close as possible whilst still having both hands free to get on with your day.
We’ve seen quite a few new mothers ask on various websites and forums at what age babies can be safely carried in a carrier and this article helps to answer that question and give some quick tips to make it better for parents and babies.
When can you start carrying a baby in a carrier?
You can use a carrier to carry a baby from the first day they are born as long as it supports their necks and provides a healthy hip position. Modern baby carriers are designed to support their weight, help with skin to skin contact, support their necks and have plenty of room to breathe.
The use of baby carriers are recommended as it can help with new parents mobility, improve the bond between the carrier and baby and offer an alternative to prams.
Are baby carriers safe for newborns?
Yes, baby carriers are safe for newborns provided you use a model which has passed EU safety standards and has clear instructions on how to use it and your baby meets the minimum weight.
The most important thing to remember is as long as it can provide a healthy hip position and supports their necks, it is safe – a claim backed by Child Safety Experts.
The most common anxieties from parents surrounding carriers is the baby’s positioning, their ability to breathe and supporting their necks.
Front inward facing only
Newborns up to the age of 2 months should only be positioned facing inwards (towards you). This is because of their inability to support their own heads.
The way your baby is positioned, specifically their legs, is important. For a healthy hip position their legs shouldn’t dangle and the bottom of the carrier should act like a seat so their hips are spread and they are straddling your body. Only buy a baby carrier that is able to do this.
Ability to breathe
A baby carrier should allow enough room for a baby to move their head from side to side and be able to see out of the carrier. For carriers to be suitable for newborns they need to have adjustable straps to suit your baby’s head size – they need to allow enough space for them to turn their head but not tight enough that they’re squeezed against you. The parent who is carrying should always be able to see your baby’s head while they’re being carried to make sure there’s nothing covering their airways such as your body.
Supporting their necks
Effective baby carriers keep their backs straight and gently support the back of the neck so that their heads are not swinging freely. The ideal position for a newborn in a carrier is to rest on your chest. Once they are able to support their own heads they can freely look around whilst being in the carrier.
Quick Tips For First Time Carriers
Don’t go cheap
The best baby carriers are not cheap and that’s because there’s a lot of research gone into the design to make it as comfortable as possible. The better brands will have thicker shoulder straps, more adjustments and a strong neck support and girdle.
Limit first time uses
It can be a shock to the system to carry extra weight on your back which can make it sore. We recommend training your body to adjust to the weight and improve your posture and before long you will be able to carry it for longer and longer before your muscles start to ache.
Share the load
Carriers are great because it can help other caregivers to be able hold the baby and be mobile themselves which can give mum or dad a well deserved break. Carriers are great to get lazy husbands into gear. Carriers can improve the bond between parent and child, too.