What age should my baby be to begin back carrying is a common question amongst those with young babies or those starting out. Whilst there are no age restrictions and back carrying can happen from newborn there are a few things to think about when deciding whether or not to back carry.
Your child’s age
What carrier you have?
How confident you are
You can begin back carrying from newborn. Although this is a practice that is usually only used by the really experienced babywearers. When carrying a newborn on the back a woven wrap is the best thing to do this with. The moldability of the wrap coupled with the ability for it to fit to small infants and larger children alike, make it a great choice.
Wearing a newborn on a back needs particular skills and confidence. As a new baby is unable to support its head well, the wearer needs to be able to ensure that the airway is supported at all times. Wearing the baby high in the back at the nape/ hairline of the wearer, to ensure the child’s breathing can be monitored is paramount. The child needs also to be worn tight enough so the the body is unable to slump as this will put the airway at risk of compromise.
Being able to get your children up onto your back safely and confidently is something that usually comes with experience but this is also a skill a babywearing consultant can teach you. We always advise having a consult for back carrying especially with babies under 3 months. If however, you chose to research and do this yourself it’s always good practice to have another adult on standby to help ensure baby doesn’t fall and to check on the child’s airway often.
Some people are skeptical or don’t want to spend the money on a babywearing consultant session. However, consultants are trained not only about slings, but also the parent and child dyad, teaching methods and body morphology. They will take into account your knowledge, age, size and skill level even down to how you hold your child, coming up with a method that helps you carry with confidence.
The most ideal age to try getting a child onto your back is around 4 months, as they have a relative amount of head and neck control, but they still stay in place when supported. Which makes it easier to wrap confidently without a child fighting against you. Using a woven wrap at this age is still most commonly used
At around 6 months as an infant starts to have the ability to sit up unaided. Is a good time to start using a buckled carrier. Airway still needs to be monitored, however the risk to the child is significantly lower once they have the ability to support themselves.
If you start early enough an infant will eventually be able to help you by holding on and will signal when something isn’t quite right, like a popped seat.
Back carrying can be started at any age, and there is no upper limit, if a child is happy to go into a sling, then as long as it’s comfortable there should be no issues.
Most carriers can be used on your back, although again, skill level does mean you may need a session with a consultant. Common sense needs to exercised when carrying in any position. Making sure you are following the safety T.I.C.K.S guidelines and getting help for anything your are unsure of, will make your journey a more enjoyable one.
With thanks to Emma Gilmour, Kiri Porter, Lizzie Newby, Sarah K Smith & Zoe Woodman for allowing us to use their images.
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