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After about 10 days in the puerperium and after the healing of my episiotomy, I finally dared to try out the baby carrier that my sister gave me. After studying the manual extensively, I felt confident enough to put my sweetheart, of course over the bed, in the manduca. I did not even think about possible baby wearing mistakes.
I did everything to the best of my knowledge and belief and felt I was doing everything right. I read the instructions and watched some YouTube videos.
A nice introduction in Baby wearing can be found on the Mama Natural Website.
So, what could go wrong?
Nothing really went wrong, thank God, but I had not worn my little sweetheart properly yet.
My baby was sitting too low and too loose.
Only when I had my first Kanga-training lesson a few weeks later, by the way, a highly recommended course for mothers to support the regression while wearing your child, I realized what I had done wrong.
The trainer of the course, Susanne, was a certified baby wearing consultant and had a lot of experience with all the many wearing models and bindings that exist.
She brought along about 15 different models, as not all mothers had their own wraps or carriers and had to borrow one.
The course therefore also included a carrying advice. Before training, Susanne checked every single carrier and baby sling for the correct method of baby carrying.
With me she pulled the stretcher so tight that I struggled for air at first.
In addition, she moved the hip belt towards the waist, so that my young sweetheart sat just below my chin, close enough to be easily kissed.
I always thought a hip belt should sit on the hip. Nope! I still do not wear it on my hip today with my 12kg toddler because he would be sitting so low.
What I have learned there and will never forget is that a child has to be carried high and tight .
I also want to tell you what I have learned and what wearing mistakes there are, so that you do not make the same mistakes as I did back then.
If you want to carry your child with a carrying aid or a baby sling, which I recommend to you in any case, then you want to for a baby wearing consultant in any case.
I too thought I could learn everything from the manual and the internet, but sometimes real advice just can not be replaced with a virtual one
Oh, but something went wrong! I had shoulder and partial back pain for weeks before getting the right carrying advice.
Only because of the correct method of wearing these have disappeared and until today, despite 12 kg child and still wearing my toddler on the front, not come back.
I never had discomfort when wearing him, even though I walked around the city like a packhorse with a child in the front and purchases in my backpack on my back.
In the following I want to bring you closer to the most common wearing mistakes that I encounter in everyday life and the Internet and I have also partially done wrong.
If you have any feedback or know more about wearing mistakes, please let me know in the comments below!
1 Your baby sits too low
Not only have I carried my child too low, unfortunately I often see many other mothers making the same mistake. I’ve often thought of addressing the women, but never dared to. If that was correct, unfortunately I do not know.
The center of gravity plays a role in the height of the child’s seat. For the wearer the correct height has an influence on one’s own posture and, as a result, on possible back pain.
For a baby carrier, such as the Manduca, the weight of the child sits on the waist belt and not on the shoulders.
If one carries the child too low, the whole weight shifts to the shoulders and leads, as with me, to shoulder pain.
In the case of a sling, the weight is more on the shoulders from the outset because there is no supportive waist belt. Especially here, the carrying height is important for your own focus.
The baby’s head should always be so close to the mother’s chin that she can kiss it without having to bend down.
I always took my chin for clues. The head of the baby should sit briefly under your own chin.
Remember: As the babies get bigger, the hip-belt or knot on the baby wrap moves down step by step, but not the baby’s head.
2 The wrap is not tight enough
Whether a baby wrap sits tight enough is a point that is difficult to control remotely. Therefore I advise you especially in this case to an on-site baby wearing consultant.
There must be no gap between you and the child’s stomach. If you bend forward, the child must not move an inch away from you.
If you have the feeling that the child is “glued” to you and it is a part of you, you have put on the carrier correctly or tied the wrap well.
Tight binding optimally supports the head, neck and back.
It is important that the back remains rounded and not pressed flat. The rounded back corresponds in the first months of life to the natural shape of the spine.
Often I see women who still have the feeling of having to hold the baby in the carrier with their hands. They have a permanent hand on the baby’s back. This may be an indication that the baby carrier or sling is not tight enough.
If a sling is properly bound, you can move freely and do your daily work without fear that the child would slip out.
If you want to know the benefits of baby wearing on the brain development of your baby, then read my blog post 10 proven basics for smart and happy children.
3 The seat is not wide enough
A very important point in carrying a baby is the frog-position of the legs, also called M-posture.
The frog position is a spreading of the legs with max. 90 degrees from knee to knee and an angle of the legs of about 110 degrees.
Baby’s knees should be higher than her bottom and legs spread so that her spine and hips are supported for healthy development. (Newborns can be worn in a cradle position as well, but face should still be high and visible).
The M-posture is the natural position of the baby’s legs and is automatically taken by babies and often still by toddlers when lifting.
For both the sling and the carrying aid, the pouch should reach from the knee to the knee. This is the only way to guarantee the optimal back curve and the healthy frog-position.
The advantage of the wrap is that you can form the optimal width of the seat on your own by the correct binding.
For baby carriers, the situation depends on the type of carrier It is important to ensure that you use either a carrier with an adjustable seat panel (see Manduca XT) or that you adjust the width of the seat with a piece of fabric.
From time to time you should also check and adjust the size of the pouch and the distance between the knees of your child. This aspect becomes less important for your baby beginning at the age of five months.
4 The baby carrier does not match the age and height of your baby
There are baby carriers that are not adjustable to the size of your child, when your child gets older. These are each designed for a specific size range of the child.
If the baby grows beyond this range, a new carrier has to be bought.
Carrying aids that are too small or too large can make wearing uncomfortable for mother and child and lead to back pain or poor posture.
But also in general it can happen that the selected carrying aid is not suitable for mother and child, is uncomfortable, too small or too complicated.
Therefore, I also recommend a professional advice, since wearing consultants usually have a slightly larger fund of carrying aids and you can try one or the other baby carrier.
With baby wraps and slings, it is often the case that wearing with increased weight and height of the baby is not so comfortable anymore.
Your child gets heavier and due to the lack of padding the weight is heavy on your shoulders. Wraps are therefore especially suitable for newborns and in the first months of life very well.
Often, however, it is worthwhile to switch to a carrying aid after a while, especially for large and heavy children.
Carrying aids with hip belt relieve the shoulders best.
5 The carrying technique does not fit with you and your baby
Not every child feels equally comfortable in every baby carrier or sling. Some like the flexibility of the baby sling, but others need the tightness of a carrying aid to relax.
Some children also want to be tied tightly and just sleep cuddled up to Mama, others need a good all-round view and freedom of movement, which is more possible when wearing on your back.
The difficulty for mom and child now lies in finding out what suits them best.
With a sling consultant you have the possibility to try different carrying systems without investing yourself a lot of money in the various wraps, slings and baby carriers.
If you do not know yet whether a sling, a wrap or a carrying aid is the right one for you, you can try each one and get informed about the advantages and disadvantages.
A consultant can show you different binding techniques. For example, special cases such as wearing during pregnancy or carrying two children.
If you do not want to afford a baby wrap consultant, you can look at different binding techniques on the Internet or on YouTube or look at different carrying aids (Mei Tai, Halfbuckle, Fullbuckle, …) and try something that suits you better.
In any case, in case of problems it is worthwhile to change either the carrier or simply the binding technique.
6 Your baby is carried face-forward
An absolute no-go but unfortunately still often shown wearing variant is the forward facing carrying a baby. There is nothing you can do more wrong.
By carrying forward, neither a correct position of the legs (frog-position / M-position) is possible, nor can the back be rounded, but ends up in the hollow back.
In addition, there is no eye contact or communication between mother (father, etc.) and child.
The baby is not able to cuddle up to mom’s chest, but is completely at the mercy of his environment. Then I would rather prefer the stroller.
Studies have shown that looking forward the many environmental stimuli, that the baby can not escape, is detrimental to a child under the age of two, as well as buggies where the baby sits face out.
Unfortunately, there are well-known brands of carrying aids who advertise exactly this point. These manufacturers list many advantages.
Of course, wearing face out does not harm every child alike. But often the parents are unaware of the disadvantages of buying, as they are not sufficiently explained.
From my point of view, there is no reason to carry a child in a carrier face out.
Fortunately, I do not see many parents in everyday life here in Germany who carry their child this way and I hope that this method of carrying does not prevail.
For more information on carrying forward, especially in relation to the Anatonie, you can find here.
Want to know what baby wraps have to do with Zero Waste, then have a look here: Zero Waste Baby.
7 Your baby is dressed incorrectly
How do I dress my child in a baby wrap or carrier? Not an easy question, as it depends on different conditions. e.g.
- What is the type of the carrier?
- Do you wear on the front or on the back?
- Do you wear your baby under or over the jacket?
- Is it summer or winter?
That’s probably why so many parents struggle with it.
It is often underestimated how warm the babies are with mom or with dad in a wrap and that it also forms at least one layer (carrier) or even more (wrap).
The most common mistake is probably that the child is dressed too warm.
Especially in winter, when you If you have a jacket with a jacket extension like the Kumja over it, your child does NOT need extra winter clothes in the carrier.
Underneath the jacket, the little sweetheart is wrapped up nicely warm with Mom. The heat effect between mother and child should not be underestimated.
As a rule of thumb in this case: number of layers of the wearer (without jacket) + one additional layer gives the number of layers for the child. But this can also vary if you baby tends to sweat or be cold easily.
If you wear a long-sleeved shirt, your baby gets a long-sleeved body + a (thin) sweater over it.
The temperature check in the neck of the child shows whether your sweetheart sweats or freezes.
If you carry your child on the back, it must be wrapped thicker, as on the back the heat effect by the wearer is not given to the extent as on the front.
If you carry your child on the jacket, it must also be dressed for the temperatures outside, since here too the wearer can not warm the child and is exposed to the temperatures.
8 The basic needs are not met
Does your child feel so uncomfortable in the carrier? This can have many of the causes already mentioned. Furthermore it does not have to have anything to do with the carrier or binding technique.
In addition to the above-mentioned cloth-dilemma and the associated sweating or freezing, it can also simply be because your child has a full diaper or an urgent need.
Therefore, you should give your child the possibility to relieve herself before wearing, and generally before going out. Put her on the potty or change the diaper depending on age and preference .
Hunger or tiredness can also be reasons why your sweetheart does not want to be in the carrier right now.
With tiredness I experienced that the protest only holds on until the door closes behind me. After that my son always dozed peacefully in the carrier.
Hunger is easy to turn off. Therefore, you should nurse your baby before carrying or offer something to eat.
I have also heard of children who do not want to be carried, which I can not imagine at all, but there are always exceptions. 😉
9 Your baby is carried too early on your back
The exact moment when you should start carrying your child on the back, is not so easy to name. Because there are big differences worldwide. In the countries known for carrying a lot, such as Africa, South America or India, babies are being carried on the back very soon after birth.
The reason for the early wearing is usually the physically demanding work, which is often performed again shortly after birth. The child then just has to come along and bothers on the back the least.
In Western countries, carrying on the back is more likely to be observed after infancy, when the child becomes too heavy to be worn on the front.
In fact wearing on the back does not allow the optimal frog-leg-position. In addition, the spine of your child is stretched into the “hollow back” position, which can lead to consequential damage when wearing permanently.
Here is the magic word: permanency.
The dose makes the poison. Carrying your baby only a short time on your back does not have to be harmful. Furthermore it is important that the child can already hold his head on his own.
Only then the back / neck muscles are already designed to have a good grip on the back.
It is also recommended to carry the child on his back only when he is already sitting.
These general statements can at least be used as a guideline. In addition, the time from when the child can on the back, also dependent on the carrier. There are differences between sling, wrap and baby carrier.
With the Manduca e.g. it is recommended to wait until the 7th month or until the child can safely sit on his own. With a wrap, it is more likely to carry your child on your back, as the flexible fabric better promotes the natural posture of the child.
To be on the safe side, here too the way to a wearing consultant is the best you can do.
In addition to the anatomical concerns, it should also be noted that the baby can be overwhelmed by the world surrounding. In this positions it can not cuddle up to Mama’s chest if too many impressions pounce on your sweetheart.
Last but not least, security is also relevant. A baby on his back is out of the wearer’s field of vision, potentially more vulnerable than on the front.
It’s better to wait a bit longer before wearing your baby on your back.
Compared to the peoples of Africa, Western nations simply lack (or forgot?) the centuries of wearing experience, so we should play it safe 😉
Additional: What to do if your shoulders are aching?
At the beginning of my experience I had to struggle with back and shoulder pain. My research on the Internet didn’t result in a real remedy.
Only after I took the advice of the baby wearing consultant it was getting better.
Therefore, I would like to summarize here again, which problems can cause this pain:
- The hip belt is too deep.
- The hip belt is not tight enough (especially Halfbuckle, Fullbuckle).
- The child is not sitting tight enough on your body.
- The child is sitting too low and not right under the chin.
- The child is too heavy for the sling / carrying aid.
Wearing a newborn baby is possible painlessly to infancy, if you deal with the anatomy of the child and the various carrying systems.
If you do not have time for that, it’s definitely worth it – I know, I repeat myself – to go to a baby wearing consultant.
Wearing your own baby is a wonderful intimate experience and should not fail due to incorrect wearing or tying.
I still carry my child at the age of one and a half years. Most of the time even on the front. We both enjoy this time very much, especially as it gets rarer and rarer.
As soon as the little ones can run and then with the wheel or tricycle on the road, wearing becomes less important.
Do you have comments or experiences that you want to share? Then use the comments below. I’m looking forward to your baby wearing story!
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Hi! This article is really phenomenally written, and offers great insight into babywearing!
I just want to point out that Africa and South America are not countries, as mentioned in point 9. Not all countries in these continents babywear. I think its important not to conglomerate an entire continent into a mass country.
Thank you for the wonderful information!