ICBW

When is it safe to back carry?

When (or if) you are ready. 

Seriously. That is it. It doesn’t matter if they are lifting their heads or sitting or standing or feeding themselves or pulling up on furniture or able to climb on your back– It is safe to wear your baby on your back in a wrap AS SOON AS YOU ARE READY. Hours, days, weeks, months, years of age.

This does not imply some linear development to a babywearer– it’s not a competition. You are not more or less skilled because you back carry vs. front carry. In fact, I have been babywearing for over fifteen years and find front carries using a woven wrap extremely difficult, simply because doing a back bend to support the baby while wrapping on my front is more difficult than bending forward and supporting the baby on my back. You do not have to be an “experienced wrapper” to do a back carry, everyone starts somewhere– whether it’s your first baby and your first time babywearing to a veteran babywearer who has never tried a back-carry.

Furthermore– you do NOT have to do it alone. There is no rule book that says you cannot have someone hold the baby on your back while you wrap them. In cultures in which back-carries are ubiquitous most women or caregivers are assisted in getting the baby on their back, even when they can do it alone because it’s polite to help each other.

Moderator Aradia: “He is eleven days old in this photo,
I wrapped his sister at six days in the same high-back reinforced rucksack style carry.
I learned from a video and his mama helped.

I get back-carries for older kids, but why do people want to wear their newborns on their back? 

 — surgical delivery: even after healing adhesion can cause there to be pain near incision and the pressure placed on the abdomen can cause pain for months. A high back carry allows the mother to wear her baby without touching her stomach.

pregnancy: (yes people who are pregnant may in fact care for newborns). Same as above.

breastfeeding: some newborns cannot keep calm around the smell of mama breasts. Yes the ideal thing would be to nurse them– but what if they are overfull? what if they have reflux? what if mama just wants some time not nursing? what if baby is perfectly content when not near mama but freaking out near her breasts? Back Carry. All the snuggles much less fussiness. AND bonus: for the mamas with large breasts and stooping shoulders, a back carry can help correct posture!  Some back carries, such as the double hammock, can provide additional breast support too!

walking/ stairs: back carries allow you to see where you are walking. It can be hard to see the ground you are walking on with a bundle strapped to your chest. Some likely adapted over the months of pregnancy, while others will be happy to see where they are walking again.

cooking: standing at a stove to stir a hot pot of soup, or at the counter to chop veggies with a baby on your front is not recommended. So many horrible things can happen. A back carry (with tails tucked away) allows the wearer access the cutting board or stove while baby is safely stowed on their back.

eating/drinking hot items: burns and scalps from hot foods and beverages is a real risk when eating or drinking while baby is on your front. By having baby on your back, anything that drips, falls or spills is on you and not them.

psychological: it can be so liberating to get the baby on your back and have your front back! *happy dance* It can improve your center of balance, which will shift fairly quickly if you are the birth parent of the baby you are wearing. Lifting your chest and pulling back shoulders to stand up tall (assisted by a high back carry) can improve your outlook and self-esteem.

— tandem wearing: allows you to carry a baby or child on the front and on the back.

(Top): Moderator Hai,
(Below): Moderator Aradia with 8 week old twins

So if you find yourself interested in trying a back carry, let us know and we will be happy to help you!

Back carries are a wonderful tool for caring for your baby and child while getting things done. It provides the same benefits as front carries– baby can feel your heart beat, respiration, hear your voice, smell your scent and feel warmth and security. And though they are on your back they still see your face in profile, while being able to see out or nuzzle your neck as they choose. And for the wearer- you can look over your shoulder to see your baby, hear their sounds and feel their movements including their breath.

There are easy transitional carries that move from front to back, and vise-versa for ease of nursing or just a change of positioning. It is easy to carry a small mirror, or to use a window/ reflective surface, a phone’s camera to check where you can’t see or feel.

From Our Members: 

Member: “First baby didn’t go on my back until like 8-9 months because
 I wasn’t an experienced wrapper but this baby, 2 months!….I am little proud”

“There’s a couple things I found super helpful in learning to back carry. First, being down at their level, on your knees brings less worry to moving them into a carrier for both you and child. Especially helpful if you’re afraid you could drop babe- just kneel on grass or carpet and you feel more confident! Second, if your child is standing in front of you, facing away you can grab them under their arms to lift and place much easier than any other way. Third, if you’re using an Ergobaby carrier, you may need to make adjustments for all clips compared to wearing in front. I like the waist being much higher… It is very uncomfortable to have straps mal-positioned, especially the chest clip!”

Six Months, One Year, Six Years– Wrapsody Bali Breeze

“We can enjoy a walk together
She points things out and she sees plenty without a stroller.”
“Extra snuggle with mommy to fight off a cold.
My new favorite carry, Shepherd’s carry with a waist belt & candy-cane chest belt.
Now off to cook dinner.”– Moderator Hai
At Pirate Day, Helping in the Garden, Sleeping at the Fair

Moderator Cami: enjoying a stroll downtown while baby snoozes. 
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