The safe way to stay close to your baby
Ahead of International Babywearing week 28th Sept – 4th October, Dr Stephanie Ooi (@the_gp_mum) , shares her tips on the safe way to stay close to your baby.
Words By Stephanie Ooi (@the_gp_mum)
‘As a GP and Mum, I am a huge advocate of babywearing. It really helped me out in the initial weeks when your little baby just wants to be close to you. It’s a great way of bonding with them and also keeping your hands free when you are out and about. I tend to take a carrier with me as a “plan B” option if we are out with the buggy as I know baby will feel in it.
However, when you go to put your baby in the sling or carrier for the first time, it can feel daunting not knowing whether you’re doing it correctly! I’m sharing the “TICKS” rules for safe babywearing below as set out by the UK Sling Consortium. These should give you confidence that your baby is in the right position.
“T” is for TIGHT
The carrier should be fairly tight bringing baby right up close to you, but it won’t be pushing down on your breasts if you’re suffering from slightly sore nipples from feeding. To relieve this pain, put on a soothing pad like the Multi-Mam breastfeeding compresses. If the carrier is loose, this will pull on your back and also mean baby slumps down which can hinder their breathing.
“I” is for IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES
You should be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. You shouldn’t have to move any fabric or part of the carrier aside in order to be able to see their face.
“C” is for CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS
Your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as comfortable. If you tip your head forward you should be able to kiss their head or forehead.
“K” is for KEEP CHIN OFF CHEST
A baby shouldn’t be in a curled-up position so their chin is forced into their chest. This can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width below your baby’s chin.
“S” is for SUPPORTED BACK
In an upright carry, a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in a natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. You can test this by placing your hand on baby’s back and pressing gently. They shouldn’t uncurl or move closer to you. A baby in a cradle carry in a soft fabric sling should have their bottom in the deepest part of the carrier so they don’t curl inwards and press their chin to their chest.
If you stick to these rules, your baby will be safe when you wear them! It can take some practice so it’s a good idea to try it out at home when you aren’t in a rush to you can get used to it. You may need someone on hand initially to help but after a few times you will probably find you can do it by yourself! Happy babywearing!