For many new moms and dads baby-wearing turns out to be a disappointing experience. After trying a few times they feel uncomfortable, baby feels uncomfortable, and the idea of baby wearing starts to be less appealing. New parents may end up convincing themselves that baby wearing is not for them and that they are just not the baby wearing type.
Before you give up on the idea and deprive yourself and baby from the great benefits of baby wearing, here are some tips to make the most of your experience:
1. Don't give up too easily
If your carrier feels uncomfortable it could well be that you are using it incorrectly. Make sure to read the instructions carefully before you start using your gear and try practicing with some kind of stuffed doll before you actually put baby in the carrier. This exercise will make you feel more confident when wearing your baby.
Also, depending on your baby's age, you should try different positions until baby feels comfortable. Some experts say that an upright tummy-to-tummy with their head on your chest position is the preferred position for most babies. There are specific positions for newborns and you should carry your newborn correctly. Remember that newborns need neck support.
When wearing your carrier, remember that babies like gentle motion, so walking or swaying may make the experience more enjoyable. It does take some time for you and for baby to get used to a carrier, but remember that practice makes perfect!
2. Right Size is Crucial for Success
Buying the right size carrier is a crucial factor. If a carrier is pulling on your neck, back, or shoulders, you are most likely using it incorrectly or you are using the wrong size. Remember that you should be using your core muscle to hold the weight. Following the correct wearing instructions and wearing the right size carrier will ensure that the baby's weight is distributed across your back. If your carrier is too big, baby is not secure in it and it isn't safe to wear a carrier too loosely.
3. Pick the right type of carrier for you
There are many types of carriers available. The most common and most widely available is the baby Bjorn front carrier type. This type of carrier can be a great choice but it does have its limitations. The baby Bjorn type is for infants up to 15 pounds or so. This may give the impression to some parents that a carrier is only for small babies, when in fact there are many other carrier types that can be used for newborns to toddlers.
You should also buy a carrier depending on what you plan to use it for. If you are looking for a baby carrier to do activities like walking or hiking, then a carrier like the Ergo or the Kokopax are great choices. But if you plan to snuggle or soothe your baby, then a pouch style sling like Hotslings is better. Also wrap carriers like the Moby Wrap or the Sleepy Wrap are very versatile and allow for a variety of carrying positions.
4. Try it out when baby is at his or her best
If baby is cranky or tired your chances for success are diminished. If you are trying out a new carrier, do it just after your baby has been fed and is in a good mood; this will make the experience smoother for both of you.
5. Wear baby high
This is a great tip found on one of the mothering magazine issues: Wear your baby high with both the sling and vertical front packs like the Baby Bjorn. This prevents back discomfort and allows you to carry a much heavier burden.
6. Babies go through Developmental Phases
Baby may like to be in a sling or carrier at one point and then a few days or weeks later baby starts disliking it. Don't be discouraged! give baby a break and then try the carrier again after baby has gone through his or her developmental "jump"