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What do you think about when you think about your life with a new baby? Do you think about babywearing a newborn?
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I had this vision in my head of what my life would be like. I imagined lazily lounging around with her day-after-day. We would cuddle, nap, play, and I’d count her fingers and toes time and time again. While we certainly had days like this, mostly, I was in for a rude awakening.
This may come as a shock to some of you, as it did me, but apparently, the need to do household chores and get things done doesn’t stop when you have a baby. Hence my dozens of frantic Google searches for “babywearing a newborn.”
While newborn babywearing might not be for everyone, it does come with a range of benefits. Whether you’re looking for ways to get things done or you want to improve your bonding experience with baby, purchasing a baby wrap or newborn sling might be right for you.
But don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by questions such as: “What is babywearing?” Or, “is newborn babywearing safe?”
Our community has all the information you need to know about safely carrying your newborn baby.
Is Newborn Babywearing Safe?
While Martha Stewart wouldn’t have awarded me “Housekeeper of the Year” during those first few months, I still had to do the bare minimum around my house.
But our little one enjoyed being held…ALL DAY LONG.
Thankfully, I’d registered for a baby wrap and received it at my shower. In my mind, though, babywearing was something I would do when our daughter was a little bigger.
She seemed so small when she was first born – I was terrified that if I tried babywearing my newborn she’d just fall out!
I became overwhelmed with questions regarding whether using a baby wrap with a newborn was safe or not. I did a lot of research and found that the short answer to this question is “yes.”
Like most parenting decisions, newborn babywearing is a cost/benefit analysis. Please talk to your pediatrician or medical provider about babywearing your newborn safely and make sure you follow safe babywearing practices.
When done correctly, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear your newborn in a baby wrap or sling, as long as you’re following babywearing safety tips.
We’ve got several helpful hints for you:
- Carry your baby high on your chest. Their head should be at a kissable height right under your chin.
- Monitor their airways and make sure they’re facing sideways (no chin tucked into your chest when newborn babywearing) until they have the neck control to hold their head up better and look around.
- Carry them with their legs open and their bottom lower than their knees to prevent positional asphyxia – this is sometimes called the ‘frog leg’ position.
- Be aware of their temperature – Your baby can heat up when worn for long periods of time. Newborns don’t regulate their own temperature well, so be mindful of how long you’ve been babywearing your newborn.
- If you reach down for something while newborn babywearing, bend at the knees with one hand on your baby’s back
Is Babywearing for Preemies Safe?
Not only can you babywear preemies, but studies have shown that babywearing a newborn preemie can be highly beneficial for them.
One statistic even explains that low-weight babies who experience some sort of close contact for at least six hours a day will show positive increases in their weight.
If you have a preemie, it’s natural to want to experience that closeness with them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it might not be an option if they’re in the NICU on a ventilator.
Once your little one has graduated from ventilation, some hospital staff members will help you work around equipment, like oxygen and IV therapy, so that you can begin to babywear your newborn.
Keep in mind that, due to preemies’ small frames, it’s especially important to abide by the newborn babywearing safety tips mentioned in the previous section.
Are There Any Cons to Babywearing a Newborn?
As with everything, newborn babywearing comes with risks. Hip dysplasia and suffocation, for example, are significant concerns, which is why it’s important to learn to wear baby safely.
For instance, carrying the baby with their bottom lower than their knees will keep them in a better position to avoid potential problems like hip dysplasia.
By keeping your baby facing outward or sideways and at a kissable height, with the back of their head positioned snugly and carefully in the wrap, you drastically decrease the risk of suffocation that comes with having baby facing you directly.
Exercise caution and learn how to wear your baby safely to enjoy lots of hands-free snuggles.
Understanding the Newborn Babywearing Benefits
If freeing up your hands to do dishes, vacuum, or pour a glass (or four) of wine isn’t enough of a reason to consider babywearing a newborn, you’ll be happy to hear there are several other babywearing benefits you should know about!
1. Babywearing Can Help With Baby’s Fussiness
Have you ever heard of the witching hour? It’s this super fun time when even the happiest babies might try to break the world record for consecutive hours of crying.
My daughter, for example, went for the gold during the witching hour each day.
Every day for months on end, she would begin to cry around 4pm, lasting until around 7 or 8. And this wasn’t your normal crying – it was “it feels like the world is coming to an end” crying.
I tried everything to no avail.
Finally, though, I decided to put her in our wrap and see what happened – score 1 for mommy. When I began to baby wear her during her witching hour, she would immediately calm down.
See, here’s the thing, babies like to be close to their parents. Sometimes there is nothing more comforting to them than nuzzling against our chest and feeling our heartbeat against theirs.
In some cultures where women wear their babies regularly, their little ones supposedly only cry for a few minutes a day.
2. Prevention of Postpartum Depression
We’ve covered the fact that babywearing a newborn can help improve your little one’s mood, but did you know it can do the same thing for moms?
Studies have shown that women who practice newborn babywearing for 2 – 5-hours a day during the first month showed fewer signs of depression.
Whether it’s the lovely dopamine-high you get from having close contact with that delectable new baby smell or the fact that you have more freedom to move around and do things, newborn babywearing can surely brighten a new mama’s mood.
Just know there’s no surefire way to avoid postpartum anxiety or depression; if you fear you have a postpartum mental health disorder, please contact your doctor or Postpartum Support International immediately. A mother’s mental health is not something to be taken lightly – be sure to take all of the steps needed to receive the treatment you deserve.
3. Better Breastfeeding Results
When babywearing a newborn, not only does it provide a convenient and discreet way to nurse your baby while you’re out and about, but it can also improve your chances of nursing long term.
One small study suggested a correlation between newborn baby wearing and breastfeeding. 200 women were provided with information on breastfeeding, but only 100 of these women also received a soft baby carrier.
When researchers checked in with the new moms after three and five months, a larger number of the women who’d received the baby wrap had continued nursing or nursed for longer periods.
Pair your baby wrap or sling with one of our favorite pieces of nursing loungewear for a comfortable and hassle-free breastfeeding experience.
4. Bonding with Partners and Other Family Members
It’s not unusual for people to think of babywearing as a “primarily for moms” activity. On the contrary, partners and other family members are just as welcome to participate in the process!
In fact, one of the other great babywearing benefits is the fact that it’s an ideal bonding exercise for anyone who chooses to do it.
Choosing the Best Baby Carrier for Newborn Babies in 2020
Wraps, ring slings, and buckle carriers – oh my!
When it comes to picking the best baby carrier for babywearing newborn babies, there are loads of great options to choose from. Before you get overwhelmed by choices and stress out about the fact that you don’t know how to wear your baby in a wrap, we’re here to help!
Based on personal experiences and community suggestions, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite carriers for newborn babywearing.
1. Solly Wrap
Are you looking for the ultimate in comfort, safety, and style for babywearing a newborn? Enter the Solly Wrap!
This is one of the most popular baby wraps on the market and a personal favorite of our founder, Katy! Its stretchy fabric is perfect for skin to skin and neck comfort, and it works for all body types.
It’s also machine washable; just follow the instructions carefully!
The handwoven fabric is 100% cotton, making it ultra breathable to keep baby and mama cool. With a recommended weight of 8-35 lbs, this wrap transitions well from the newborn stage to early toddlerhood.
Our favorite thing about a ring sling is that it’s easier to put on than most wraps, and it travels very compactly!
If you’re one of those people, like I was, who gets stressed out trying to figure out how to wear your baby in a wrap, the Baby K’Tan is a great option.
This carrier comes partially wrapped, making it simpler and quicker to put on than some other options. I was a frequent user of the Baby K’Tan, and I found it to be much cooler than other newborn babyewaring wraps, as well.
Also, since keeping baby cool matters, check out the K’tan breeze if you’re wearing your baby during warmer weather.
Soft-structured buckle carriers are always a great option for stylish carriers if you don’t want to learn to use a wrap. Make sure you choose one with padded shoulder straps and that provides good lumbar support.
Which one is the best of the best, however? I’m quite partial to the baby Tula Carrier myself! It’s incredibly comfortable and comes in a wide variety of beautiful styles. In speaking with several other moms, I noticed I wasn’t alone.
The Tula frequently pops up on “Best Baby Carrier” lists, and has been deemed one of the best carriers to prevent hip dysplasia.
While many of these buckle carriers are used primarily with older infants, they can be adapted for babywearing newborns when using the appropriate infant insert that provides needed head and neck support for baby.
Recapping the Pros and Cons of Babywearing a Newborn
If you ask us, the cons to newborn babywearing are minimal when following appropriate safety measures.
The pros, on the other hand, are rather impressive. As long as you handle the situation carefully and correctly, you and your baby can reap all of the amazing babywearing benefits that come with the babywearing territory.
From closer bonds between parents and baby, to reduced chances of developing postpartum depression, babywearing a newborn can yield great results. Plus, who doesn’t want an excuse to give their new baby all the cuddles they deserve?!
If you’ve tried newborn babywearing, what type of carrier was your favorite?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.