Letting your baby experience the world in a carrier is great for your child and of course for you too.
Most baby carriers are really easy to adjust and easy to put on, but there are always a few points that you should at least have heard.
So if you are not entirely sure what to look out for and what to look out for when putting on a baby carrier or a cloth, then this article is for you.
And don’t worry, putting on a baby carrier is really no rocket science and you can’t really go wrong if you pay attention to the most important points.
Upright and close to the body
To support the spine, hips and good air circulation, you carry your baby upright and close to your body.
Your baby should sit symmetrically in the middle of the carrier and not be able to slide to the left or right. Nor should it slide down into the stretcher or the sling, as this can restrict breathing.
In addition, the stretcher and child should generally not be carried too far down, because then it will be very stressful for the carrier’s back.
Carrying positions that are twisted to the side are not recommended (not even when breastfeeding), as they can have a negative effect on hip development.
Face to the person carrying it
You should always be able to look your baby in the face when they are in the carrier. Baby carriers that allow the child to look ahead are generally not advisable, but especially in the first few months of life.
The reason for this is simple, your child can only take the all-important spread-squat position and round back when facing you. In addition, it can withdraw into the carrier with a view to you and hide the environment.
Looking forward, this is not possible and there is a high chance that you will overstimulate your child.
If your child wants to experience and see more, there is a carrier that is suitable for side carrying or a back carrier (Onbu). If the child is still very young, it must be ensured that the head is adequately supported, especially when carrying back carriers.
Rounded back and supported head
The best baby carriers are made of soft sling fabric and allow your baby to be pouched. Pouching means that it can round the back in the stretcher and not sit straight.
The round back is important because the spine and back muscles are not yet developed enough and sitting in the stretcher with a round back is much more ergonomic and gentle. A straight posture can damage your back.
Despite the round back, your child must not sag (see first point). It is properly seated when its entire upper body is in contact with you, but you do not have the feeling that you have to support yourself with your hand.
We do not recommend carriers with a fixed back, fixed newborn inserts or straps that have to be guided behind the child’s back.
If you are using a Half Buckle or Mei Tai, the straps should be passed under the baby’s legs and then under the bottom, where they are then tied.
Important: Always bring long shoulder straps together under your baby’s legs and not over them, this can chafe, impair the blood supply or even damage the hips.
The head should of course not dangle around loosely in the stretcher, but should be supported by the often adjustable head section. The head and the airways should always remain free. Experience has shown that it is sufficient to adjust the headrest to the height of the baby’s ears.
It is the alpha and omega of the stretcher, the spread-squat position.
If your baby has assumed this position correctly, it will look like an M. The back is round, the legs are wide apart and the knees are higher than the pelvis.
It is important that the bar is set correctly, it should reach from the hollow of the knee to the hollow of the knee. The adjustable bridge is also an important quality feature if you want to buy a stretcher. If the bar is not adjustable, the stretcher is either only suitable from the age of sitting, or not at all.
You can find better alternatives here in my big baby carrier test .
Note: With newborns, you can try not to sit your child directly on the footbridge, but to let your bottom slide a little into the soft back part of the stretcher, so you get an even nicer bag.
Free breathing passages
This point should actually be clear to everyone, but for the sake of form I would like to point out again that your child’s airways should always be free.
The headrest should only go up to the level of the ears and your child should not disappear in the stretcher. There should also be no wide straps over the face and air should be able to circulate around the nose and mouth.
The right height
The lower belt of the stretcher, which is often quite wide, is in most cases drawn as a hip belt, unfortunately I personally find this term not very successful because it suggests that the belt should really rest on the hip.
But that’s not always true.
Newborns and babies in the first few months should be carried significantly higher. Strictly speaking, the height of the stretcher is always based on the child.
You will know that you are carrying your stretcher at the correct height when you can easily kiss your child on the forehead. In other places, people like to talk about the area between your ear and heart, because that’s where baby’s head belongs, that’s the right height.
Older children can of course be carried in such a way that the belt actually rests on the hips and so the child’s higher body weight is better distributed.
The most important in a nutshell
At first glance, that sounds like an unbelievable number of things that you have to pay attention to or things that you can do wrong.
But it’s not that bad at all, because a lot comes from the proper use of the stretcher and the little things that come naturally.
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t managed to put on his stretcher himself and correctly within a few days.
To be on the safe side, here are the most important points again:
- Wear upright and close to the body
- Child and porter look at each other
- Back round (bagged)
- Head adequately supported
- Spread-squat position
- Airways free
- Correct height adjusted (kiss on the forehead possible)
I can’t say it enough, but baby carriers often only seem complicated at first glance.
After a few days at the latest, you will have got used to putting it on and then you can explore the world with your baby.