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Baby Carrier Positioning
You’ve got your baby carrier and you go to put it on. But how can you make it safe for your baby and comfortable for you both (see more about Babywearing Safety HERE)? To achieve both these, you want to position the waist belt according to your baby’s size.
The easiest way to determine where the waist belt goes is to hold your baby in arms on your front, nice and high. You want the ‘heart to heart’ position where their heart is at the same height as yours. You should be easily able to kiss them without straining your neck.
Here is my youngest Isla, at 2 weeks old. You can see for a high and safe front carry, the waist belt will be under my bust.
Where their bum is, is where your waist belt goes – not below their bum which is a common expectation. In order to achieve an optimal position (see more HERE), you actually want their bum to sit down into the back panel as this would put them in that comfortable ‘M’ position, allow them to sit on their sit bones and thighs and helps round their back.
You can see Isla as a newborn is sitting into the back panel not above it. Her bum is positioned in the centre of my waist belt.
For a newborn this is a lot higher and then as they grow, you move the waist belt down accordingly.
Ongoing we want their head to stay at the same height as they grow. This allows for safety, better interactions and communication between you both.
In this article, we go through the positioning at different ages/sizes and I’ve also included baby carrier positions in back carries and forward facing with bigger children. The only exception to this is a newborn in a baby carrier that requires an infant insert. Due to the bulk and size of the infant insert, it will sit further down on your hips (see picture below).
Newborn Carrier Position
It can be surprising for some parent’s how high you want the baby carrier sitting for a newborn in a carrier that doesn’t require an infant insert. But in order to ensure your baby’s safety, they need to be ‘Close Enough to Kiss’ which means that often the waist belt is sitting on your ribs, under your bust.
You want the waist belt to be straight across your body and tight enough so it stays in position but is still comfortable.
Newborn Carrier With an Infant Insert Position
As the infant insert usually consist’s of the other shell and a pillow, it is quite bulky. This means that the waist belt will be sitting on or around your hips. We still want baby to be nice and high in order to easily see them as you wear.
As your baby grow’s, you simply drop the waist belt down so their head stays in the same position. Here Isla is 3 months old and she is big enough that the waist belt sits comfortably on my waist.
Depending on the size of your baby, the waist belt will be sitting somewhere between your hips and waist. They will be using more muscles as they develop but when they are asleep, you want to still make sure that their head rests on your upper chest for safety.
Even in this position, we still want our baby’s head to be nice and high. So wherever you have the waist belt in a front carry (inward facing), it will be similar in the forward facing position. You may even want to go a little higher to ensure that your baby really ‘sits’ in the back panel so that they are closer to that optimal position.
Toddler Front Carry
Your baby is definitely bigger now! The waist belt now sits on or around your hips and this helps with weight distribution of your bigger child. Chatting and cuddles from them is really common at this stage so it is nice to be close and enjoy those moments.
Bigger Baby Back Carry
Generally you can start wearing your baby in a SSC once they can sit independently without any propping or falling. This is to ensure that they are safe while on your back and can use those muscles to adjust themselves if required. As you can’t see them well, it is important for them to have that muscle development as we don’t want them to slump as this can be a safety risk. A high back carry means that it is more comfortable for you and your baby can see easily. You should be able to tilt your head back and touch theirs easily. The waist belt sits on your ribs or high on your waist.
Toddler Back Carry
Just like we did in the front carry, we can move our baby down as they grow. When they are a toddler, the waist belt will be sitting on your waist or above your hips depending on their size. This helps with their weight distribution as toddlers can be heavy! Back carry’s are amazing for being able to get things done while our little people are happy being close to us.
Preschooler Back Carry
Not everyone gets to the stage where they are wearing their preschooler but personally I found it a great option to share your world, help with those little legs that get tired and to reconnect after them being a daycare. We also started having a lot more adventures at this age and a baby carrier with that – including hiking a volcano!
I hope this was useful! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or pm my Facebook page.
And if you want more support, we have restarted providing babywearing consultations – head HERE for more details.
Enjoy those babywearing snuggles,
Certified Babywearing Consultation