After spending 9 months at a cosy temperature, hearing a heartbeat and feeling contained and rocked, it’s no surprise that babies like to be carried. During the fourth trimester, and beyond, most like to be kept close – using a sling can help with this. But with so many different options choosing a sling for your newborn can be tricky.
An ideal sling will support your baby’s natural position. Try holding your baby in an upright position on your chest and look at their position in a mirror. You’ll probably notice that they curl and tuck their knees up, resting their head against your chest. Whatever sling you use you want to mimic this natural position.
Here’s some safety and positioning tips to remember when choosing and using your carrier
The most important thing to remember when carrying young babies is to ensure that their chin is not slumping onto their chest. Your sling should fit your baby correctly. It should hold them snugly, supporting their back so they are held in this upright position with no slumping. Always check that you can fit two fingers between their chin and their chest.
Another crucial check is to make sure their airway is visible at all times. Adjust your sling so that your baby’s head rests on the hard part of your chest. You want your carrier to support them in a nice high position on your body.
Try to position the back of the carrier so it reaches the top of baby’s shoulders and provides adequate support, but doesn’t reach higher than the nape of their neck. Move any material away from their face to allow for the flow of air.
A sling will ideally provide support all the way into baby’s kneepits, until the age of 1. This helps to support their developing hips and spine.
When positioning your baby try to mimic your baby’s natural “m” position, where they tuck their knees up. Gently tilt baby’s pelvis towards you so their knees are higher than their bottom. Newborns are often quite tucked up and their hips don’t open very wide. Don’t be tempted to move their legs into a wider position than is natural, they will gradually do this in time.
Finding the right sling for your family
There are lots of different options which let you carry your baby safely, but choosing one to suit you is a very individual thing. Some people love the feeling and closeness of a stretchy wrap, others prefer the simplicity of a buckle carrier. Your body shape and build might also play a factor in what feels comfortable for you. If you can try before you buy it can save a lot of time and money in the long run. Visit your local sling library or arrange postal hire, they can help with choosing a sling for your newborn and show you how to use it. Some people like hiring a newborn sling for a few months then go onto buy something different when their baby is older and they have a wider choice available. Find out more about our Newborn Sling Hire package
Whatever you choose enjoy those cuddles because carrying your baby has lots of amazing benefits!