Not sure how to babywear?
The wraps, the buckles, the straps…oh my! How do you put this baby carrier on?!?
I remember feeling this way when I tried one of my first baby carriers. It was a stretchy wrap, which is basically a long piece of fabric that you wrap around your body until somehow you’re able to carry your baby around securely.
It was totally intimidating at first, especially when I was trying to follow the instructional booklet. I mean, the wrap was longer than my body yet I somehow had to get it small enough to safely snuggle my baby.This baby wrap is so long. How am I supposed to snuggle my newborn safely? #babywearing #howto Click To Tweet
After a while and a lot of practice, I was able to put the wrap on without having to even think about it.
New to babywearing? Don’t feel intimidated! Anyone can learn how to babywear!
How to Learn to Babywear
Will you be able to babywear by learning some magic trick? No, but if you follow these tips to learn how to use your baby carrier, you’ll be like a pro in no time.
But first things first:
1. Do your research.
This is seriously the most important tip I can give you.
Want to start babywearing but don’t know what to start with? Start doing some research, ideally before your baby is born, but if you already have a baby or toddler, no biggie! You can start babywearing at any time.
As you’re doing your research, think about HOW you would like to carry your baby. There are carriers that use a variety positions, but some only use one or two positions.
Also, consider HOW LONG you’d like to be able to use the carrier. Each type of carrier has a weight limit to consider.
You should also think about WHO will be using the carrier and what your BUDGET is.
Why should you consider these things:
- HOW: How you want to carry your baby will help determine what kind of carrier you want to use. You can wear baby carriers in a variety of ways, depending on the carrier. There are front carries, front facing carries, side carries, and back carries. It’s also important to note that some carriers have specific guidelines for certain ages, especially for newborns.
- HOW LONG: Carriers have a weight limit, which will determine how long you’re able to use them. For instance, many stretchy wraps can only be used up to 30-45lbs. Some soft structured carriers (SSCs) in standard sizes can be used from 7lbs-45lbs. Toddler SSCs can go from 20lbs-60lbs. It depends on the brand and materials used.
- WHO: Will it just be you who uses the carrier, or your partner as well? Will a babysitter or grandparent be using the carrier? You need to think about anyone else who might be using the carrier too. Some carriers are better than others when it comes to the size of the person wearing them.
- BUDGET: How much do you want to spend? You can find quite a few budget friendly carriers in stores, but there are all kinds out there. I have seen them as low as $17 to as high as $1000+ (no joke!). It all depends on the brand, the quality of materials used, and the availability. (TIP: Want a $150-$200 carrier but can’t quite afford that price? Search the BST (buy sell trade) baby carrier groups for gently used carriers for sometimes half the price!)
I highly suggest watching some how-to videos related to different baby carriers to see them in action as well. Sometimes seeing carriers in action gives you a better idea of how you’ll use them.
Some of the more popular baby carriers include:
2. Buy, Rent, or Borrow a Baby Carrier.
While most people outright buy their baby carrier, many others choose to rent or borrow a carrier. If you have any friends or family who use baby carriers, you may be able to borrow theirs for a while or until you decide on which type of carrier is right for you.
You can also rent a carrier through an online shop (Google ‘rent a baby carrier’ for a list of options) or through a lending library. See a list of lending libraries by state.
3. Read the Manual. Watch the Videos. Get Hands-On Help.
Once you choose your carrier (or carriers…Hey, can’t blame you!) you should practice using it to help you get the right fit.
Start by reading the manual. Seems simple enough, right? The manual should have photos and text to give you an idea of how to use the carrier.
If you can’t follow the manual (some are kinda hard to understand), watch some videos on YouTube. I found how-to videos very useful when I was using my carriers for the first time.
For instance, when learning how to use my wrap carriers, I watched these videos for help.
Babywearing International also has excellent online resources for those new to babywearing.
Other helpful online sources are babywearing groups on Facebook (two examples are Tula Love and Lillebaby Love) where you can post pictures of yourself using the carrier and ask for a ‘fit check’. People in those groups can give you tips of how to get the best fit using your carrier. Do a search on Facebook and you’ll find these groups and more.
If you need more hands-on assistance, search for a babywearing group near you where you can go and learn from an actual person how to use your carrier.
You may also get help from a baby boutique that specializes in baby carriers as they sometimes are babywearing certified.
4. Practice, practice, practice.
Once you have it figured out, time to practice! How do you practice?
Use your baby carrier often!
People who are unfamiliar with babywearing often ask “How often are you actually going to use that thing?”. My answer is quite often! There are so many times you can use your baby carrier almost every day:
- doing simple household chores (think: laundry, dishes, etc.)
- going to the doctor
- going on walks or hikes
- during naptime
- during teething
- going to the park
- anytime you need two hands
The more you use the carrier, the easier it will be to use it!
I love that I was able to bring the baby to my son’s spring concert the other night thanks to my @lillebaby carrier. She fell asleep and was quiet during the entire concert. It was also easy navigating the crowds when it was all over! #babywearing #Lilleletsme #lillelove #lillebaby #babywearwednesday #wearallthebabies #babycarrier
Ready to Learn How to Babywear?
What do you think? Ready to tackle the front wrap cross carry? How about a hip carry? Or, my current favorite, the challenging back carry?
Remember: don’t be intimidated, and most of all, DON’T GIVE UP!
I know how frustrating it can be when using a baby carrier for the first time with a wiggly little baby. You might think that you wasted money or that you’ll never use the baby carrier again.
I know because I’ve been there.
But please, don’t give up! Give babywearing a chance. These are the exact steps I took when learning how to babywear, and they have helped me so much to be a confident babywearing mom.New to babywearing? Don't give up! Give #babywearing a chance. Click To Tweet
By researching what kind of baby carrier is best for you, practicing with your carrier, and using your carrier often, you can learn how to babywear like a pro!
Want to Go a Step Further?
Want to be an actual certified pro at all kinds of baby carriers and all kinds of carries? Become a babywearing educator!
You’ll learn babywearing basics for all kinds of carriers, plus best practices, safety guidelines, and advanced carries.
If you’re a nurse, doula, midwife, childbirth educator or even just a new parent who wants to know everything about babywearing, I highly suggest becoming a babywearing educator!
Have Fun Babywearing!
Let me know if you have any questions!