Newborn Babywearing: What you really need to knowDec 11, 2023
Babywearing your newborn is one of the best (and simplest!) ways to bond with your baby.
Say goodbye to being nap-trapped on the couch with a full bladder, and say YES to fitting in those milky-sweet snuggles while you go about your day. Catch up on housework, bring baby out for errands with ease, and stay connected with the activities and people you love with baby in tow!
The only problem? Brand-new babies can feel like a total mystery - and putting them in a carrier you’re not familiar with can add to the anxiety.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when you begin wearing your newborn baby:
As a new parent (or a seasoned parent with a new baby), making sure your baby is safe is at the top of your mind.
Babywearing is a fantastic way to hone your intuition - make sure that as you wear them, you’re continually checking in on how they’re doing. If something feels off, trust your gut!
When you put your child in the carrier, it can help to have a checklist to go through to make sure you’re setting you and your baby up for success.
So, when you think safety, think TICKS:
In view at all times
Close enough to kiss
Keep off the chest
Let’s dive in a bit more (I don’t know about you, but knowing the why behind stuff like this helps it sink in a whole lot better for me).
Ideally, your child should be held tight enough to your body that they don’t move or jostle separately from you as you move - you and baby are now one!
But you also don’t want to go overboard and pancake your child to your body.
Gently tighten your carrier to the point where baby feels secure and cannot slump down into the carrier - bend slightly forward to check to make sure they don’t sag away from you.
IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES
I know you’ve seen those images of celebrities wearing their children where the only way you’d know it’s a baby in there is because of the little legs popping out the side.
Their precious head and face? Nowhere in sight.
This is a concern because in order to make sure your child’s airway is clear, you have to be able to see it.
This means you should always be able to see your child’s face clearly, even when they’re asleep.
CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS
Again, our goal here is to be able to monitor baby closely at all times - if they’re hanging low by your breast or chest tissue, it’s hard to see what’s going on.
Ensure your baby’s head is high enough on your chest to be able to easily kiss them without straining.
KEEP OFF THE CHEST
I know, this sounds exactly what I said in the point above…but this time we’re talking about your baby’s chest, not yours.
Baby’s airway is tiny, like a small straw, and we don’t want any kinks in that straw to make it difficult for them to breathe.
Problem is, because they have heavy heads and little neck control, they can’t really do much to help themselves if it happens.
That’s your job.
Make sure your little one’s chin doesn’t slump into their chest - a good rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit two fingers between their chin and chest, more or less.
This will change as your child grows and develops, but while they’re still itty bitty they need their spine to maintain a gentle “C” curve towards your body - they will often settle into this position naturally.
As I mentioned above, this is where it’s important not to over-tighten your baby to you in the carrier so they’re forced to straighten or over-extend their back.
But we want a gentle curve - baby shouldn’t be slumped in a full on fold. Think half-moon, not whatever this thing is called: “>”
After you run through this checklist a few times, it will likely become second nature, and you’ll begin to trust yourself to support your child and recognize when their position is problematic.
And as always, if your intuition says something’s up, even if you’ve perfected your TICKS situation - trust yourself.
Newborn babywearing is an opportunity for growth for you and your child.
Safe babywearing supports their physical, emotional and social development, and can boost feelings of confidence and calm for you during a time when many parents experience self-doubt and anxiety.
Keep practicing, stay consistent, and reach out for help when you need it - but more than anything, enjoy these special moments getting to know this beautiful new member of your family.
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