When you are new to wearing a baby carrier, you may feel somewhat clueless to how long you should where it for. Asking How Long Should Your Baby be In A Carrier For? While there are no hard and fast rules it’s always good to have some references to make you feel happier.
No hard and fast rules
Babies are born to be held close to their caregivers. New babies curl in a fetal position that mimics the mother’s breasts. When held they curl easily and quiet quickly almost magically. There are several reasons for this:
Nipples produce a scent similar to amniotic fluid
The Montgomery tubericles produce a smell that is similar to amniotic fluid, this smell is what babies focus on when feeding.
The breast area is warm
The breasts can help with keeping a baby’s temperature constant and the breasts will heat and cool in response to this infant’s body temperature.
Close to heartbeat
An infant spent 9 months listening to your heartbeat. It goes without saying they would gain comfort from this familiar In general babies through our evolution have needed their caregiver to keep them alive. Nothing has changed from a million years ago to today. Babies are born needing you for food, warm, comfort and safety. Knowing that from an evolution standpoint babies need to be held, can help us address what a carrier can offer them.
If we look at the general routine of a new baby, it will likely look like this.
Brief awake period
And so, it continues. We can use this routine to map out carrier time.
You will probably have realised that holding your baby lengthens the time in which they sleep, compared with placing them to sleep in a Moses basket or baby chair alone. We need to be mindful that we regularly give them the opportunity to feed. Especially in the first few months when establishing breastfeeding (if that is your feeding preference).
Babies will likely be happy to go into a sling or carrier and even wake calm briefly before settling back to sleep, even more so if you are moving. As movement stimulates the vestibular region of their brain.
In general babies will need feeding every 1-3 hours. So, this is a good time to take them out to feed, burp, change and stretch. Before placing them back into the carrier. This can be carried out many time a day, as there is no limit if time that is optimal for a child to be in or out.
Breastfeeding babies, especially newborns may need more frequent feeding. However, I have found that wearing can extend this, which can give a new mum a respite from the schedule.
I would suggest limiting the time in a carrier to 3 hours at a time. Then offering a feed, change etc. It’s also worth noting that a seated squat position can inhibit bladder and bowel movements. So you may find a baby will squirm when then need to go. Again, regular breaks can allow them to eliminate.
Bottle fed babies may have longer schedules, so try allowing your baby a chance to stretch, and eliminate during the longer periods.
The best person though to tell if it’s been too long is you. So, trust your instincts as these are honed to your infant’s needs. Use these guidelines as such, and enjoy your babwearing journey.
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