A baby carrier is one of the most soothing environments that a newborn baby can be in. This means a calm, happy, and often sleeping baby that is easy to manage.
They are also small which means it is easy to carry them for longer periods of time. But how long is too long for a newborn or infant to spend in a baby carrier at any one time?
In this post, we will look at recommended timeframes and the potential implications of extended use with a young baby.
How Long Can Your Baby Be in a Baby Carrier
You can carry a newborn baby in a carrier for up to one hour at a time. It is important to take breaks so that they experience variety in the movement of their hips, and to prevent them from over-extending.
We are only focusing on newborns and infants for the following reasons:
- An older toddler will not want to stay in a carrier longer than the recommended timeframe.
- You have the option to use carriers that allow more movement with older children (E.g. a backpack carrier).
It is also in the first six months that you are going to be more capable of carrying your baby for longer periods of time because they are smaller and lighter.
Does this Change Depending on Carrier Type
There are so many different styles of baby carriers and hip positioning can vary significantly. However, very few of them will be suitable for newborns with most recommending use from four months and older.
Carriers that are suitable for newborns and you should stick to the one hour limit include:
- Baby wraps
- Ring slings
- Soft-structured carriers (with an infant insert)
Your baby’s hips will be in the M position in each of these carriers which can be the cause of discomfort if maintained for a long time.
Reduce Time Babywearing on a Hot Day
If the weather is warmer then the enclosed environment in a baby carrier can lead to your child getting uncomfortable fast.
You need to take additional steps to ensure your child will not overheat and is comfortable (they will let you know if they are not!) if you plan to babywear for a longer period of time.
This includes taking regular breaks for the sole reason of giving them time to cool down and get some air.
Tips for Longer Babywearing Sessions
If you need to wear your newborn baby for a longer period of time the following guidelines will help minimize the risk of any discomfort to your baby:
- Ensure you have a quality baby carrier that supports the proper M position, and if pre-existing hip issues are present that a carrier with a wide base is used.
- Adjust your child regularly to ensure they remain in the proper position.
- Encourage them to turn their head periodically if they are nestled into your chest to minimize neck muscle stress.
As long as you pay attention to your baby’s cues then you are unlikely to have them in a baby carrier for longer than it is safe to do so.
Babywearing can be tiring and you may want a break before you reach your baby’s limit. The risk is that you then transfer the baby carrier to the other parent and the baby never gets a break.
So remember the general rule of thumb to only have your baby in the baby carrier for up to an hour in each babywearing session and the risk of any muscle stress or discomfort is low.