Safe Babywearing & Top Tips
To ensure that babies are safe and secure in the carrier/wrap/sling the TICK guidelines are used and should be always considered when wearing your baby
- T (Tight ) The carrier/wrap/sling should be tight enough, that when you cuddle baby, they do not move and are close against your body. You should be able to fit your hand (palm facing your stomach) in between you and your baby so there is room to breath. If it is too loose then your baby can slump down, which can restrict their airways (especially in babies who are unable to lift their heads yet.
- I (In View at All Times) You should always be able to see your babies face, by just glancing down. No fabric should be over their face, so you have to move it to check them.
- C (Close Enough to Kiss) You should be able to bring your chin down and kiss the top of babies head or forehead. Nice and close to your chin. This way they will not slump down in your chest and be in view.
- K (Keep Chin off Chest) Baby should not be slumped so that their chin is on their chest. 1 finger width between chin and chest is a good amount of space. (please also see Front Carry below for more details on this)
- S (Supported back) Babies back should be nice and straight. If the carrier it tight enough and they are high, then this should be the case. If their back is arched, this will be due to the carrier being too lose and if they slump down, airways can be restricted.
Correct Hip & Leg Position
If you attend classes, you will hear us talk about the "M POsition" and "Knee to Knee". This refers to the position of babies hips and legs in the carrier. Positioning your baby correctly before putting the carrier on is important in getting this position, so they are comfortable and supported.
A great tip is to put baby on your hip (knees higher than bottom and back straight) and then move them centrally so they are central to your body.
We do not recommend the use of narrow based carriers in class. This is for several reasons; Comfort for baby. Dangling from hips/groin is not very comfortable for them. Also in this position they are more likely to tilt their heads back and if they do not have good neck support you will need to support their heads. This is something you shouldn't have to do in class. Also as most bavies fall asleep, its better that thier head is rested on your chest.
back carries & forward facing
We are often asked about forward facing and back carries
We do not advise this for classes. There are a few reasons for this, that also might be worth baring in mind whilst carrying your baby forward facing day to day
- Babies who do not have good neck strength (usually this comes with sitting well unaided) are unable to keep their heads up in this position. This can mean that their chin sits on their chest and can restrict their airways. Even babies with good neck strength can find this hard to maintain for long periods of time. We suggest no longer than 15 minutes, with very good neck strength only.
- Babies often fall asleep whilst being worn (especially in our classes!) and so need a support to rest their heads on.
- The optimum position for legs and hips (as mentioned above), cannot be maintained forward facing, unless the carrier is designed to hold their legs this way.
- Facing out can be over stimulating for babies (even those who are "nosey") and can cause them undue stress.
- You are unable to see your babies face and check they are okay
If your baby is sitting well unaided, then the best option is a back carry...
As babies get bigger often parents feel that the baby is wanting to see more and also it may be starting to get uncomfortable for you to wear them on your front (usually lower back pain) At this point you can go to a back carry, if your carrier is built to do so.
- Babies can be worn on your back when they are sitting well unaided. They need good neck and core strength to do this, but will also still have support from you and can rest their heads should they want to sleep.
- We would always recommend getting advice from a Babywearing Consultant, who is trained to show you how to do this safely. Please see the 'Sling Hire/Where to buy' page for further details
- If you come to class and would like to do a back carry, we are happy to put baby in for you and make sure you are safe and comfy. We are however not insured to teach you how to do this yourself.
PLEASE NOTE: You are responsible for ensuring that you have followed the instructions for your own carrier and checked regularly for tears or cracks.