If you’re expecting your first child – or perhaps you didn’t use a carrier for your first and your expecting your second, then you might be wondering if it’s OK to use a baby carrier for a newborn.
As is pretty much always the case, the answer is a yes, but….
When Is it Ok to Use a Baby Carrier for a Newborn?
Most of the time using a carrier with a newborn is fine. Well, more than fine actually – it has a lot of benefits for both mom/dad and for baby.
But there are some things to watch out for to make sure that your newborn will be safe in your particular carrier. Make sure that:
- Your carrier is suitable for newborns
- That your newborn is big enough even for newborn suitable carriers
- That your newborn is in the correct position as per your carrier’s guidelines
- That you are comfortable with your newborn being in the carrier.
Is Your Carrier Suitable for a Newborn?
Some carriers, whether they’re structured carriers, wraps, mei tai carriers, slings or whatever, aren’t suitable for newborns.
Check the manufacturers instructions for your carrier. Or, if you haven’t bought one yet, make sure that the one you do buy is designed to carry newborns.
In some cases, a carrier, by itself, may not be suitable for newborns but that particular brand might have an “infant insert” or “newborn insert” that can be placed inside the carrier to make it newborn acceptable.
For what we consider to be the best newborn carriers, check out:
Is Your Newborn Big Enough Even for Newborn Designed Carriers?
In a lot of cases, even carriers that are designed for newborns are only suitable for newborns 7lbs and up. If your newborn is smaller than that, then its highly recommended to wait until they reach the minimum weight requirements of your carrier.
Our first was born 6lbs 12oz. It didn’t take him long to reach 7lbs and we weren’t ready to put him in a carrier until after that point anyway. As first time parents we weren’t sure – but I still now would have waited until he hit 7lbs to put him in (assuming having a carrier that is suitable for 7lbs+)
For premature babies, there are specialist carriers that you can get, but you will need to get the specialized ones if you want to have them in a carrier. At least until they reach the minimum size requirements.
Make Sure that Your Newborn is in the Correct Position
This is really important for safety reasons if you want to use a baby carrier for a newborn.
Follow the manufacturers guidelines to the tee. This is one time that you shouldn’t skip the instructions and try to figure it out for yourself.
In fact, go over the instructions a number of times and practice a number of times without baby in the carrier before you try it with your actual baby. Take the time to make sure you get it right. It’s time very much well invested, if it means the safety of your baby.
I see so many comments, and reviews where parents complain about something about a carrier or wrap and its obvious that they haven’t studied the guidelines properly. Ask yourself, is this really something you want to skim over the instructions for?
This is especially the case for those who aren’t experienced with carriers, but even if you’ve had experience with carriers/wraps before, you need to become familiar with the particular carrier (if you have bought or are thinking of buying a new one).
This is just a quick list, but things like:
- Making sure that baby’s chin isn’t on its chest
- Making sure you can see your baby’s face at all times
- That baby’s hips are in a safe position
- That baby is safe when going into and out of the carrier
- That baby is safe when you are walking around
Are all necessary – and this list is, of course, not exhaustive but these are some of the things to keep in mind and since every wrap/carrier is slightly different, you need to pay attention to their guidelines.
This is one reason that going for a professional, known brand is important – because they will have detailed instructions and detailed videos online that you can access to make sure that you’re doing it right.
Once you get it down, it will be like second nature and you can relax knowing that you’re doing it correctly.
Are You Comfortable Carrying Your Newborn in a Carrier?
This is a question that only you know the answer to but its an important question to ask yourself.
Now, when I say comfortable, I mean comfortable mentally (if you’re not comfortable physically that’s a different story and it may mean that you need to make some adjustments or choose a different carrier).
If you’re not feeling comfortable with the idea of having your newborn in a carrier, listen to your instinct and wait a little while. Try again in a couple of weeks and see if you feel comfortable then. If not, wait another little while before trying again.
It’s likely you’ll feel comfortable at some point but don’t force yourself. Do what you feel is most comfortable.
Carrying a newborn in a carrier has many benefits, not least being the fact that you have your hands free, whilst still being able to bond with your baby.
But, if you want to use a baby carrier for a newborn, make sure that you:
- Have the correct type of carrier for a newborn
- Your newborn is above the minimum weight recommendation
- The newborn is in the correct position every time they go into the carrier and that you have thoroughly read and understood the instructions
- That you feel mentally comfortable carrying your newborn in a carrier
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, comments or any recommendations please feel free to leave a comment below by clicking on the Add a Comment button below.
If you want to check out what we consider to be the best carriers for newborns, check out the link below.