A comfortable babywearing experience is important to ensure that you enjoy this experience with your child.
There is also a risk that minor discomfort could compound into muscle injury and longer term pain if not corrected quickly.
In this article, we will discuss 11 tips to get the best fit with your baby carrier and also discuss some issues to correct to ensure you and your baby’s comfort.
11 Tips to Make a Baby Carrier More Comfortable
1. Make Sure the Carrier Is Fitted To Minimize Movement
The primary cause of discomfort with any baby carrier is an incorrect fit that leads to uneven weight distribution.
This can lead to hip and back pain and a generally uncomfortable experience for the parents. It is the movement of the carrier and the sudden shifting of the baby’s weight that can cause the most issues.
When you are putting on your carrier ensure that:
- Baby’s weight is as close to your spine as possible.
- Straps are tight enough to ensure all straps stay in place.
It should be a snug fit and you will feel all of the weight move in sync with your frame.
For best results, support the weight of your baby with your arm when adjusting the shoulder straps to ensure that there is enough slack to bring them in tight.
2. Ensure You Have Free Movement
You also need to ensure that the carrier is not to tight that you are cutting off your blood circulation.
Movement should be unrestricted – so go for snug rather than tight.
If you cannot move freely then you risk injury and uncomfortable chafing.
3. Baby Is Secured in Center of Seat
Even weight distribution is essential for a comfortable babywearing experience. Your baby is the weight so make sure they are positioned in the center of the carrier seat.
Once they are strapped in they should not be able to shuffle around much but they are likely to require a small adjustment from time to time in order to keep them centered.
4. Baby’s Bum Is Fully Settled in Seat
An extension of the above point is to also make sure your baby is settled into the seat and fills out the space at their back.
This is easy to achieve with a bit of a bounce and shuffle which will cause them to nestle into the available space. Pull them in tight and secure the seat back around them.
The objective here is to minimize movement once you start walking. If there is space behind them you will feel a slight jerking of the back with each step. Over time this can lead to back pain and an uncomfortable experience.
5. Horizontal Waistband Position
The waistband is the first anchor point when putting on your carrier. So it is critical to get this positioned correctly to ensure your baby carrier is comfortable.
It should sit at the top of the hips and be in the horizontal position, and tightened sufficiently to stay in place when you walk.
If the waistband starts to angle then this can increase pressure on the lower back and hips and will lead to increased stress on the muscles. If this happens then stop, tighten, and go again.
6. Horizontal Chest Strap
Some baby carriers will have an additional strap that joins the shoulder straps together across the chest.
Once secured in place this strap should be horizontal and in the shape of an H.
If this moves and starts to angle more like an A shape then you should stop and adjust.
7. Tighten Chest Strap to Minimize Movement
The balance between tightness, and limiting movement of the carrier, while giving you maximum freedom of your own movement also applies here.
When you first strap in your baby it may feel ok, but as you walk and the weight starts to shift around you may realise that you need to tighten. It is best to not ignore this and to adjust as you go.
Over time you will develop a feel for how your carrier best fits with your frame and what is most comfortable for you.
8. No Pressure Under Your Child’s Knees
Your child’s comfort is also essential to a pleasant time with the baby carrier. The positioning of the legs can be a giveaway that something is not right.
The legs should hang out of the side naturally without any unusual bending or folding of the carrier’s shape. If you notice something looks unusual then there is likely pressure on your baby’s legs that can limit blood circulation or cause general discomfort.
This may not cause any immediate problems but an uncomfortable baby will eventually start fussing, and it could take a while to figure out why!
So always check that the legs are positioned comfortably to ensure a smooth time in the carrier.
9. Select the Right Carrier Design
The most fundamental choice you can make to ensure that your baby carrier is comfortable is to select a baby carrier that is suitable for your intended use, your baby’s size, and your own frame.
Some carriers are best used with newborns and infants, such as baby wraps, ring slings, and some soft structured carriers (often requiring an infant insert).
Whereas some other carriers have larger seats and are best used with older babies. Most soft structured carriers or backpack carriers require your child to be older and have well-developed head and neck control.
So you may need a different carrier design if you plan to continue babywearing into the toddler years.
10. You May Want Two Carriers
All of this adjusting could become inconvenient if both parents are sharing the babywearing duties.
If you are constantly adjusting between mom size and dad size you may start to get lazy with certain straps which could lead to weight imbalances and eventually straining your muscles.
If this sounds like you then you will save yourself pain and inconvenience by just buying a second baby carrier and having one each!
11. Don’t Force Your Baby In
If your child is just not in the mood to be in the baby carrier then they are likely to make the experience uncomfortable.
If they are particularly fussy that day you can attempt to soothe, distract them, or perhaps breastfeed them to get them settled in the carrier.
But generally speaking, if they don’t want to be in there they may cry and struggle to the point where it is uncomfortable and not worthwhile.
It is best not to force things and pick your battles.
These 11 tips will become second nature as you get deeper into your babywearing journey. Comfort and safety are paramount to ensure that you can just enjoy the time bonding with your child.
Also check out our full babywearing info hub if you would like to learn more.