A lot of carriers enable your baby to face both inwards and outwards when carrying them on your front. For newborns, it’s important that they are facing inwards – but how long should your baby be facing in, in carrier.
Wow, that’s was a weird way to put it – a lot of “ins” there!
OK, let’s make that question easier – when can my baby face outwards in their carrier?
When Can Baby Face Outwards In Their Carrier?
It’s important that newborns and up until the point that they have sufficient neck/head control, remain facing inwards in their carrier. This is the safest position.
But what about once they have that control?
Should you then face them outwards? Are there other reasons, other than ergonomic ones, to keep your baby facing in?
Short answer, Yes.
So How Long Should They Remain Facing In?
It is recommended to try to keep your baby facing inwards for at least the first 6 months. But even beyond that is preferable.
This goes beyond just being able to control their heads. There are a couple of other reasons:
- Brain development
- Feeling of security for the baby
- Parent being able to read baby’s ques
- Easier physically for the parent
Brain Development & Security
At the beginning of baby’s life, its brain development is hugely dependent on their parents/caregivers.
And that brain development is said to be more enhanced for a baby that has direct contact with their caregiver and also helps them to feel more secure, according to:
For this reason, being carried facing in, is certainly the best option in the first 6 months.
Easier Physically for the Caregiver
It’s also easier on the caregivers back when a baby is facing in. This may or may not be an issue for you.
So, when Can Baby Face Outwards?
Short answer – after they are 6 months, IMO.
Even between 6 and 12 months, facing outwards might be overstimulating for some babies, so it’s a good idea to try to have them outwards facing for short stints only, during this age.
But certainly, having them face outwards at least some of the time between 6 and 12 months is a good idea, and something that most babies will enjoy, at least for a while, in my experience.
But My Baby Won’t Face Inwards!
I 100% get this.
Our first boy didn’t want to face inwards at all. He would go crazy in that position most of the time and only ever wanted to face outwards.
But, also, he didn’t go into a carrier until he was bigger, as the carrier we had at the time wasn’t suitable for a newborn. So, he wasn’t used to the carrier. Once we faced him outwards he was a lot happier in it, though.
But he’s always been an immensely social creature too.
So, I think a lot of it depends on your baby, too.
But if you can keep them inwards facing for at least the first 6 months and then try to have them inwards some of the time between 6 and 12 months, I think that is a good idea, based on the research. If you’re baby naturally prefers inwards facing, then you’ve got it easy!
Also, I would try to make sure that you get a carrier that is suitable for newborns so that they can begin experiencing it from the beginning – so long as you are comfortable putting your baby in a carrier that young (and of course always remember to follow the instructions that come with your carrier).
Based on studies of brain development (I encourage you to read >>Facing in? Facing out? A Science-Based View on Baby Carrying Positions for a more detailed look), it’s my opinion that keeping a baby facing in is a good idea for the first 6 months, as a rule of thumb.
After that time, if your baby is showing desire to face outwards, I think its fine to let them, at least for short periods (assuming your carrier is designed for it). But that its also a good idea to monitor their behavior, make sure they aren’t being overstimulated and try to have them facing inwards as much as is doable between 6 & 12 months.
This is a topic that has many different opinions, and this is just my opinion. If you have a different approach, differing opinion or if you agree with this approach, I’d love to hear what you think. Just leave a comment by clicking on the comments button below.
Also, check out the different types of carrier at the link below, to see what is going to be suitable for facing out babies.