Arms In or Out and When?


When is it ok for a little one’s arms to be out of the sling?

This is usually occurs when little one becoming independent enough to lean to one side and pull their arms out of the top of their wrap or carrier.

If your little one has reached this stage, they are fine to remain with their arms out.

Once your baby has good head and trunk control many will start to pull their arms out of their own accord and short of duct taping them down, there is little we can do to stop them.

The obvious advantages of your baby having their arms out is an improved view of the world and the ability to be able to manoeuvre to see that world a little better (as well as being able to grab your hair and anything else within reach). The usual problem this creates is a slight slackening in your carrier or wrap. The easiest solution to this; when using a wrap, is to simply wrap with your little one’s arms out to begin with. Wrap as you normally would but rather than bringing your wrap over the shoulder pull it high up the back and in to the armpit and tighten as normal.

The benefit of this is you won’t end up with a saggy top rail when they inevitably pull their arms out to get a better view of the world around them and your carry stays secure. It can also be cooler in the summer months to allow your baby or toddler to travel arms out and allow you both a bit more space in the heat.

The disadvantages to your little one having their arms out is that their natural curiosity means you may find yourself back tracking more often to pick up fallen packets of cornflakes and replace the sunglasses your child has helped themselves to in the Supermarket.

If your child is still young and likes to fall asleep you may find it handy to have a scarf or length of fabric to support their head when they nod off as it can be harder to support them if they wrapped and don’t have a sleep hood on their carrier.

The advantages to your little one having their arms in, is that they are more secure and closer to you, more advantageous with a younger baby who may want more cuddles and attention. It is warmer for both of you in the winter months, when the wrap or carrier can be a welcome extra layer against the cold.

It is also easier if you have a small person who likes to sleep on you. We will all, no doubt, have experienced being a human comforter and consequently being an upright nap spot, if your baby has their arms in a sleep hood is easier to put up and often the top rail on your wrap can be pulled over to support the sleeping head.

There is no right or wrong answer in babywearing, we are all different. As long as you follow the Babywearing T.I.C.K.S guidelines, you are good to go.

Originally written by Lisa Mee

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