Ergonomic Babywearing, what's the deal

Laurna, from Coorie in with Love talks to us about ergonomic babywearing, and why it is so important for you and your little one

What is ergonomic babywearing? What does it mean? Let’s start by understanding the meaning of the word ‘ergonomic’. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Ergonomic means ‘designed to make people’s working environment more comfortable ant to help them work more efficiently’. In babywearing, ‘ergonomic’can be defined as something which is designed to minimise physical effort and discomfort, and hence maximise the practice of carrying your child. So how does  this fit in with babywearing and carrying and how can you choose which carrier to wear?

An ergonomic carrier will support baby in a natural position, it will have a wide base for baby to sit and have their hips in a supported ‘M’ position. The carrier will spread baby’s weight across your body and allow baby to feel almost weightless. In an ergonomic carrier or even a wrap, baby’s bum will sit lower than their knees, like the position of a hammock and offer full back support. Baby will be supported close to your body as they would if you were holding them in your arms.

 

How do I babywear securely - or ergonomically?

To ensure you are carrying correctly, check that baby is well supported with your chosen sling or carrier. You want the panel or fabric to support up to baby’s neck and full support to baby’s knees. Ensure that your carrier is tightened so it feels like you are giving baby a secure hug, but not so tight that it feels you have pressure on your neck or shoulders.

When tightening straps on a carrier, make sure they are tightened equally to prevent pain or tension on one side. Do this by tightening slightly one side at a time and working your way back and forth until it feels secure. Getting the straps sitting on the flat of your shoulders will ensure they are wider, offering more support across your back too. Unless you are doing a hip carry, you want baby’s body to be central on your chest, imagine that your spines are parallel to each other and make sure baby is not leaning or slumping.

Safety checks for babywearing are as follows:
Tight – Ensure baby is secure. An easy way to check is to support baby’s head and learn forward gently. If there is a large gap between you both then you may need to tighten some more. If you cannot take a deep breath comfortably, then you may need to loosen.

In view – You need to be able to always see baby’s face, no fabric or straps must cover baby’s face. Be mindful of this when using a babywearing jacket as you need to ensure baby has plenty of air flow, but you also want to protect them from the elements.

Close enough to kiss – This is the height that baby will be on your body. Baby needs to be high enough that you can easily kiss them on the head without leaning. Keeping baby nice and high will offer more back support and prevent any shoulder strain.

Keep chin off chest – This is especially important for newborns and smaller babies that have no or little head control. Ensure baby’s head is turned with their cheek on your chest and tilted upwards. This will keep baby’s airways open and prevent slumping.

– A well fitted and adjusted sling or carrier will offer full support to baby’s back ensuring they are supported in their natural position which will be curved into your body. This is created by forming the ‘M’ position with their hips. If the sling or carrier doesn’t support from knee to knee, their knees will point down, creating a straighter back. This will also result in no head support and you may feel like you need to support baby’s head with your hand.

 

Take it easy on yourself, it might take a bit to master it, but you will get there

When you are new to carrying, it’s completely normal to feel anxious and nervous when you start. Take your time to become familiar with your sling or carrier. Read your instructions and watch some tutorials made by the brand. Being familiar with something before using it with your baby can help you feel calmer and safer. You will feel more confident and better understand what you are doing; it’s all new to your baby, so chat to them. Talk through the process, you are learning together. This will keep you and baby calmer too, making the experience happier for both of you. When you are ready to have your first try, choose a time when baby is naturally calmer and more relaxed. It’s best if they have been fed, have a clean nappy and they are not overtired. Sometimes you will need to build it up but overtime it will feel more natural and you will gain the confidence needed. You will get used to baby’s routine, and once they become familiar with being carried, they will not mind when they go in. Being mindful of the weather and what activity you will be doing when carrying is also important. If you are carrying in the house for naptime then there is no need for extra layers. When carrying, your body heat transfers to baby and vice versa. They become your personal hot water bottle, so if you are planning to go out a long walk, you may only need a cardi and jacket or coat on top of you both to stay cosy. If you are using a stretchy or woven wrap, then you may have three layers over baby already. If you are using a buckle carrier, then that will only count as one layer. If the weather is unpredictable or wet, you might want to check shower resistant options too. Think of these as clothing layers when preparing for different weather conditions. If you are unsure about your sling, carrier or how to dress for the weather, get in touch with your local babywearing consultant. You can find them listed here
Coorie in with Love

Coorie in with Love

I'm Laurna, Mummy of two monkeys and live in the Scottish Highlands.

I love carrying and my favourite option to use is a woven wrap, I have quite a few! They are so versatile and beautiful pieces of art that you can wear!

I have been a carrying consultant for almost 7 years and I am also a peer trainer, this means I train others who want to support others.

About Wombat & Co. London

Wombat & Co. London is on a mission to spread the word about babywearing. As parents, we know that it could not be more important to foster a connection with your little one both during your pregnancy and throughout their early years, and we believe that babywearing is the best way to do this.

 We have experienced firsthand the relationship-building benefits of this thoroughly enriching practice, but we know that this is not limited to mother and child – babywearing can strengthen ties between mums and dads, and the family as a whole. As a family-owned business, we are driven by a passion for babywearing, and by offering items of the highest standard, we strive to pass on this enthusiasm on to the mums, dads and families that we serve.

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