Babywearing is becoming more and more popular by the day. Holding your baby close to you is indeed a pleasurable experience and it also comes with many health benefits. Babywearing is becoming more and more popular by the day. Holding your baby close to you is indeed a pleasurable experience and it also comes with many health benefits.
Newborns are most comfortable being close to the mum as they were carried in the mum’s womb for 9 months, so why this should be changed even after the birth.
Babywearing mums usually use wraps or carriers for carrying babies. They are also referred to as “external wombs” where they can carry their babies after being born. Picking the right carrier for a newborn is slightly more difficult as compared to picking one for a 2-year toddler. Newborns cannot hold their heads up, development of their joints is still in progress, they are bonding with the closest ones, processing all those new and unknown stimuli from the surrounding world; in general, they are busy getting used to the whole new outer world. It is crucial to keep in mind all these facts and specific criteria when answering the question: How to choose a baby carrier for a newborn?
Carrying a baby in a wrap
Firstly we would like to say that we truly believe that wraps are best suited for carrying newborns. Parents can adjust the wrap to meet their baby’s body needs, they can bind it and tighten it accordingly. The wrap copies the baby’s natural body shape, and hence it is more comforting for the baby, this level of comfort cannot be achieved by a baby carrier. Exactly due to this reason, a lot of mums prefer to carry a newborn baby in a wrap and later switch to using a baby carrier (made with baby wrap cloth) when the baby is three months old.
It is the smoothest way to switch to a different babywearing tool as baby can still enjoy the comfort and originality of a wrap in baby carrier made with a baby wrap.
If you have just decided to buy a babywearing wrap to carry your precious newborn, we recommend a wrap made of 100% organic cotton. Cotton is generally known to be the best material for baby’s sensitive skin. When choosing the right wrap, take into consideration an appropriate material-weight capacity.
If you would like to carry a newborn in the beginning and eventually you wish to carry a bigger child as well, then it is best to choose a wraps with material-weight of around 280g/m2, because those are able to handle such weights.
Lenka wraps are suitable for the whole babywearing period and they are beginner-friendly, so parents have no problem or complications with tying the wrap. Lenka wraps are made from 100% cotton, the material-weight capacity is high, but yet not thick, so they are easy to work with. In addition, wraps have sloping ends so when you finish binding you will be able to tie a secure and big knot.
Carrying a newborn in a carrier
As the baby grows and if you decide it is the right time to switch to a baby carrier then, you can buy a carrier from our e-shop. Firstly, you have to consider the right size. It is not enough to choose the first one labeled “From birth”. If this label was enough for you to make a decision, not considering other features of a babycarrier such as baby’s head support or adjustability, you can easily pick a wrong one which may not meet the needs of your little one.
A lot of producers use such label “From birth”, but it is very generic. Every baby comes to this world unique, smaller or bigger, preemie and tiny or even a “little big baby” J. For such reason, we mark our Lenka carriers, in which you can carry your newborn, by the label “From size 62” so you can be sure the carrier will fit the baby perfectly.
Ideal carrier for the little growing baby should be adjustable, it means that the parent can set it up. Newborn baby is growing fast, so there is no such thing as a carrier suitable from the birth up to, let’s say, three months. Such carrier would be useless for later use (as we mentioned above, wrap is ideal for carrying babies for the first three months).
Carrier that allows you to adjust it (enlarge/shorten, widen/tighten) is called a growing carrier because it grows with the baby. Carrier made from a wrap is a very good choice for carrying babies as well as a good compromise when mummy wishes to carry the baby but is afraid of working with a wrap. Wrap carrier combines the advantages of wrap and ergonomic carrier into one which leads to a satisfaction of both the mummy and the baby.
Principles of wearing a newborn in a carrier
Babywearer must know the principles which make babywearing healthy and ergonomic. It is not enough just to put the baby into a carrier and go out, parents must check the seating position of a baby, check whether the baby is sitting right in the middle and not falling to sides, make sure the carrier supports baby’s head sufficiently, especially when carrying a newborn. When in the carrier, the baby is close to the parent, so the mummy or daddy is always in control. Let’s look at the main principles of a proper babywearing:
1. Position of a hip belt and optimal height
The baby in the carrier must be in a correct height, which means neither too high nor too low. When you can kiss baby’s head with a slight bow of your head. This can be done by correct positioning of a hip belt, which should be the first step in adjusting your carrier. When you wish to carry a newborn or a little baby, put the hip belt right under your breasts. The hip belt must be in a straight line all around your body. You must be extra careful to check the position of the hip belt because incorrect position can lead to back pain.
2. Wide seating position
After you adjust the hip belt put your baby into the carrier and slowly and carefully widen the baby’s legs. You must pay close attention and make sure that the baby is not sitting on top of the hip belt and is sitting a backrest – position of the hip belt is directly between the mummy and the baby – that makes the correct seating position. Before putting baby in, the carrier must be adjusted to baby’s needs, which means the wearer should set up the proper width of a backrest so the lower part of the carrier always goes from one baby’s knee to the other.
The width of the carrier should be set up precisely, because incorrect width can result in edges of the carrier supporting calves being too wide, or reaching only up to thighs, or they being too short can jeopardize the ergonomic posture. The baby should sit wide enough to have its knees slightly higher than the bum – it is called “M” position.
By correctly setting the carrier, you can wear your baby in a healthy way. Baby can peacefully sleep, rest and be close to you. This will also make sure that the baby’s hip joint develops correctly and naturally as it should.
3. Rounded back
When the position in carrier is right the baby’s back is naturally rounded. When still in the womb the baby’s position makes the curve of their back look like C shape, this shape is supported by carrying in wraps and ergonomic carriers. This position is natural for newborn and suits them, so we consider babywearing healthier in comparison to prams where having naturally rounded back is not possible because baby is lying flat.
4. Parent-child proximity
The baby should be really close to the parent in the carrier, however not so close that the baby and wearer are unable to breathe properly, of course. You can achieve this by adjusting the shoulder straps. Correct proximity prevents the baby from falling to sides as well as assists in holding their head upright. Always make sure that the hip belt is nice and tight (as much as possible) and also the shoulder straps.
5. Newborn’s position towards the parent
Baby must face the parent while carrying, whether carrying in the front or on the back. Only this facing way of babywearing is healthy and ergonomic. Kangaroo types of carriers do not follow above mentioned principles as the baby’s thighs are not supported and are not seated correctly and the baby’s back is not rounded at all because baby is in the front facing position with the back to the parent.
Many mummies mistakenly think that kangaroo carriers are okay because their babies have a good view but it is important to mention that this kind of carrier is not suitable for healthy or ergonomic babywearing. Especially not for newborns who need their parents to follow the principles of ergonomic babywearing to ensure their proper development.
All Lenka carriers are approved by specialist among pediatrics and orthopedics – whether growing ones (Growing 1, Growing 2, Lenka4ever) or non-growing baby carriers (Standard, In-between-version, Toddler). You can enjoy ergonomic wearing with Lenka carriers, without any worries.
When to start carrying baby in a carrier
Mummies often ask whether they can carry their babies in carriers from birth or they should wait for baby to grow a bit. As we have already mentioned above, the cotton wrap is ideal for babywearing from the birth. However, we understand that not everybody feels comfortable working with a wrap, some consider tying a wrap time consuming, some are seeking something quick and practical, we can offer parents carrier suitable for little babies around 3 months old (it is the size of the baby that matters).
These carriers can be adjusted to the baby size, and they can fit the tiny body perfectly. Of course, everything depends on the baby’s size as not all the babies are of the same size at three months old. This is the reason why we label our carriers “From size 62” because then and only then the parent can be sure that the carrier fits their baby comfortably.
Babywearing in summer
Parents are often wondering whether babywearing in summer is appropriate and how to carry a newborn in a carrier in summer, as the baby must be hot, they think. Mummies who give birth to their babies in summer time and wish to babywear can choose from wraps containing different materials besides cotton. Each material has the same function, some of them are thermoregulatory, some airy, others are antibacterial and are great in draining moisture. About these materials, you can read in this article.
For all those who want to babywear despite the rising heat, we have an excellent solution: summer version carrier.
Summer version Lenka carrier makes summer babywearing more enjoyable beacause it is airy to the maximum possible extend. Special net used in the area of backrest and hood is the basis. Thanks to holes in the net the air is constantly flowing to the baby thereby ensuring elimination of the heat during carrying. If the baby falls asleep in the carrier, you can safely cover the baby’s head with the hood to make sure the baby can have a peaceful nap in such lively surroundings. The net in the hood makes the fresh air flow freely to the baby. Summer version of Lenka is ideal in spring, summer or warmer autumn. It makes it easier for both baby and parent as it chills the baby constantly so the baby’s body delivers significantly less heat to mummy or daddy during carrying.
If you have any questions about babywearing wrap or would like to offer any insight you have gotten over the years (from your personal experiences), please leave a comment below. I would love to hear all about it!