Welcome to the Tips for Babywearing at Each Stage Series. We hope you enjoy following seasoned babywearer, Christina, as she chronicles her babywearing experiences at each stage of her son’s life, from pregnancy into toddlerhood.
Pregnancy is hard on the body, but being pregnant and trying to hold a wiggly 2 year old in my arms is even harder. Hauling my giant double stroller in and out of my van is quite the struggle with my huge tummy. Running after my toddler, or bending down a million times to put back the things she knocked off the shelf at the grocery store, is impossible. Using a supportive, well made carrier to secure my toddler to me and distribute her weight, keeping her happy and content and out of trouble – now THAT’s a million times easier than the alternatives. My muscles have grown used to carrying the weight of a toddler over the last several years, so I feel completely comfortable carrying on as we always have, and I’ve accumulated a whole arsenal of baby carriers to choose from for maximum comfort.
photo by Alannah Westfall
How I’m Doing
I’m just now getting into my third trimester and finally looking very obviously pregnant. It seems I can’t go out in public without experiencing this following scenario a few times per outing: strangers look at me and my growing belly, then they glance at the 2 year old on my back, and they either look at me like I’m insane, or with eyes full of pity. And if I have one or both of my older kids in addition to the toddler on my back? Then bring on the comments! “Wow you sure have your hands full…” or “Are these ALL yours?!” Or the most recent one that made me chuckle: “You must not own a television in your house…” People who aren’t familiar with the practice of babywearing don’t understand what a helpful tool it is! Especially when managing the unique challenges of caring for an older kiddo (or 2 or 3 older ones) in addition to growing a new life inside you.
Current Baby Carriers of Choice
Back carries are best for pregnancy, but start practicing early to get comfortable with it, because it’s awkward enough at first without a big belly limiting your movement and flexibility. Here is a list of the carriers I’m currently using and tips to make them work best in pregnancy.
- I find soft structured carriers to be most convenient – quick and easy to use with my impatient toddler, and great for weight distribution. In pregnancy, I like to wear the waistband down further than usual, and I cinch it extra tight because gives me some support for my achy pelvis. Others prefer to buckle the waist band above their baby bump. But there does come a point where it’s just not going to be comfy, any way you buckle it.
- A woven wrap offers amazing comfort. It’s my favorite at the end of pregnancy, because there are so many ways to tie it so that there is no pressure on my belly whatsoever. A simple ruck with a tibetan finish, secure high back carry with a knotless finish, double hammock tied at shoulder are perfect wrap carries throughout pregnancy. The versatility allows endless possibilities, and it will do double duty as a newborn carrier when the baby is born! Obviously, wrapping takes more time and requires a patient wrappee, and
- I like mei tai carriers too. I can wear it in a high back carry and tie it so the bottom straps aren’t pressing on my belly. I tie the straps in a Tibetan finish just like a woven wrap, for extra support and more even weight distribution.
- Ring slings are a convenient, quick option, if you’re used to wearing one. I love it for popping the toddler in for quick carries. She sits on my hip (the same as if I was carrying her in just my arms) but the sling takes some of the weight so my arms and back aren’t killing me later on. And they’re also wonderful for newborns.
Things to Avoid in Pregnancy When it Comes to Babywearing
- If you’ve never used a woven wrap, then pregnancy is not the time to start right up with an advanced back carry on your own. Definitely join your local babywearing group for assistance if you’d like to try.
- Make sure to not spend too long in a ring sling while pregnant (quick ups are fine) because your body will feel sore from the uneven weight distribution sooner than you would if you were not pregnant.
- Listen to your body. If anything hurts or feel uncomfortable, pay attention to what your body is telling you.
- Before babywearing in pregnancy, check with your care provider first.
Make sure to check out our babywearing safety tips here: Using Your Senses to Keep Baby Safe: Important Babywearing Safety Tips