Using a baby carrier for beginners

A common fear among new parents is taking a baby out and about. Prams and pushchairs aren’t always the most convenient option, often being quite heavy and difficult to transport. A baby carrier offers an easy solution and allows you to go about your day with ease. Baby carriers also allow parents to keep their baby close, which helps with the bonding process. This means your little one is less likely to become distressed as your touch will ensure they feel safe and secure.

The different types of baby carrier

Baby wraps

The baby wrap is the most traditional style. This one takes some practice to get right, as learning how to correctly tie the wrap around your body can be difficult for beginners. A baby wrap is essentially a long piece of fabric that wraps around your body, securing your baby in place.

Soft structured carrier (SSC)

Perhaps the most popular style of baby carrier, an SSC includes padded straps and buckle fastenings at the waist. The straps are usually adjustable which makes it easier to get a comfortable fit for both you and your baby.

Meh Dai Carrier

The Meh Dai carrier combines aspects from the wrap and soft structured carriers. It features padded straps but instead of buckles, it ties around the waist. This type of carrier usually takes less practice to master than a wrap and can be adjusted easily.

Backpack baby carrier

This is a popular choice for toddlers, as backpack carriers are only suitable for children who can sit up unassisted. This carrier also has padded straps and waist fastenings for even weight distribution.

Are baby carriers safe for newborns?

Whilst this topic has often been debated, baby carriers are safe for newborns as long as they weigh at least seven pounds. Many parents prefer to use these from day one as it allows longer periods of skin-to-skin contact throughout the day. However, the choice is ultimately down to the individual - if you don’t feel comfortable using a baby carrier until your little one is a bit older then that’s completely fine too. Many baby carriers are created for a specific age group, from newborns to toddlers, so make sure you check the age and weight requirements before purchasing. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines on safety too.

How long can a baby be in a carrier?

As long as your baby is positioned in the baby carrier safely and securely, you should be able to leave them in there for as long as they are content. If your little one begins to show signs of discomfort then give them a break for a while. Most babies need to be fed and changed every two to three hours anyway, meaning they’ll be getting frequent breaks from the carrier. It’s a good idea to be extra safe when using a carrier by changing your baby’s position every so often, alternating between the carrier, your arms and lying the baby down.

What is the safest baby carrier?

Baby carriers from reputable brands will always be designed with safety in mind. At Direct4Baby, we stock the very best baby carriers from the leading industry names, like Ergobaby, Izmi and Tula. The Ergobaby Omni 360 is a popular choice as it accommodates your baby from birth up until approximately four years old. With four different carrying positions and crossable, sturdy shoulder straps, this is the perfect baby carrier for those worried about safety and comfort. Whichever baby carrier you choose, be sure to follow TICKS, a set of helpful rules set out by the UK Sling Consortium: T - TIGHT I - IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES C - CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS K - KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST S - SUPPORTED BACK

How to use a baby carrier

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines thoroughly before using your baby carrier
  • Make sure your baby’s head, hips and neck are supported when using any type of baby carrier and allow them to move their arms and legs freely.
  • The best position for your baby changes with age. For the first four to six months facing inwards is more beneficial to your child’s cognitive development. However, if they are strong enough to hold up their own head, they’ll benefit from facing outward as this position allows more interaction with the outside world.
  • Your baby should be sitting in an ergonomic position. Ergonomic means a wide leg spread squat position with the knees higher than the bum - think of a frog leg shape. This position supports the baby’s spine, hips, legs and helps to help prevent dysplasia (abnormal cell or tissue growth).
  • Stay alert whilst using a baby carrier - the extra weight affects your centre of gravity, increasing your chances of falling over.
  • Be mindful of what you’re wearing - padded clothes may cause your baby to overheat. The weather, temperature and what you’ll be doing that day should be taken into account when deciding whether to use your baby carrier or not.
  • This may sound obvious but you should never lie down with your baby in the carrier - they need to stay in an upright position to avoid discomfort or injury.
  • If you need to bend down, always bend at the knees and never the waist.
We highly recommend practicing using your baby carrier at home before going outside. This means you can get to grips with how it fastens and positioning your baby correctly. You can shop the full range of baby carriers at Direct4Baby. Whether you’re looking for a newborn baby carrier or a baby back carrier, we have options to suit all parents and babies of all ages.