Choosing to carry your baby in a suitable carrier before using a baby stroller has its benefits, both for you and the baby.
Human babies are born helpless, dependant and need a lot of care and time in order to adapt to the outside world. Carrying the baby – snuggled against the parent in something like an outer womb – makes the process of adaptation easier. During the first months, babywearing stimulates the baby’s thermoregulation, helps the baby be calmer and cry less. When carried, the little one’s thorax is upright, this position may considerably reduce regurgitation of food, regardless of the intensity of the reflux (common and mild or rare and severe). Babywearing is one of the few methods to calm children suffering from colics. The use of ergonomic baby carriers also helps prevent hip dysplasia.
The benefits for the parents are not to be ignored as well. While carrying the baby you can cuddle and comfort the little one, and still have two free hands. Daily chores can be done faster, and when outside for a walk, there are no obstacles, stairs or unevenness on your path that can stop you. You can go hiking in the mountains if you will without being hindered by a stroller.
When choosing a baby carrier, you need to make sure that it is indeed ergonomic. With suitable carriers the baby is facing the parent, the legs are bent in the knees and the knees are placed higher than the bottom – the baby’s legs are in the so-called M-shaped position. The back support should be soft and, in babies before the age of 6–7 months, it should allow the natural C-curved position of the spine.
For babies between 0–5 months (when the baby already has a good control over its head) the use of a sling is recommended. The sling is a big piece of cloth (like a shawl) that can be wrapped and tied in a special way to “create” a baby carrier. If the wrapping seems hard, complicated and time-consuming, there are the so-called hybrid baby slings, where most of the tying has already been done and secured, and the parent is left with much less work to do. The smallest babies can be carried in a ring sling. Once the baby is 4–5 months old you can use ergonomic baby carriers, which are way easier to put on than a sling. Baby carrier manufacturers tend to advertise their products as suitable for new-borns, however the majority of babywearing consultants advise waiting until the baby is 4–5 months old to use a carrier, before that age use a sling. Until the baby is developed enough to sit on its own, carry it against your chest, after that you can carry it on your back as well.
Another babywearing item is the hip seat. This is a big waistband with a seat for the baby that the parent wears around their waist. It is suitable for babies that can sit on their own and be stable in a seated position. It is not recommended for long walks, because it is not the most ergonomic method for carrying, but is especially useful with kids that have just started walking and get easily tired, yet want to discover the surrounding world.
If your baby cries when in the carrier, first, make sure that it is in a correct and comfortable position. If everything is as it should, but the baby still cries, do not forget that babies are different and your child may not like to be carried around like that. Allow a few weeks to pass and try to put it in the carrier again, the child may like it better then.
If you are having troubles picking the right carrier for you and your baby, contact a babywearing consultant or use one of the specialized places where you can rent a carrier and test if this is the correct choice for you.
We wish you great and cuddled moments with your little ones!