On Off-Label Use:
Or as Kelsey put it, “if you would do it with your own child then teach it to others”. The case in point was doing a back carry with a child in a convertible SSC, with the narrow base setting. The instructions advise against this because they do not want people using the back carry option on infants who are too small and squishy to be worn on the back safely in that carrier. (Newborns can be back carried safely in different carriers.)
Knowing both the baby and the wearer (her mom) and the carrier she would be using, we felt comfortable telling her that she could back carry her baby in her carrier on the narrow setting. Her baby is quite tall, strong (quasi-mobile) but has short legs. If mom had a non-convertible infant-only sized SSC she could do a back carry and it wouldn’t be a narrow setting– but the convertible SSC is too wide for her baby’s leg when extended.
Getting Baby on Your Back:
We always try to recommend a back carry over a front forward facing carry for folks who think their baby would be happier looking out (or for anyone who would like their front back! hmmm hot beverages.) But how do you get your baby on your back? Really, any way you darn well please, however, we have some suggestions!
- Hip Scoot: best for semi-sitting through preschool age. Can be done in conjunction with or without the carrier. This method will mess up your clothes and results in a low back carry (most people will need to bounce the child up a bit).
- Santa Toss: Any age, ideal for infants. So named for the way it looks to secure a newborn in a wrap before tossing (more of a flip) over the shoulder. Results in a nice medium-high back carry.
- Superman: the child looks like Superman’s cape, especially when done in conjunction with a wrap. Can be done with semi-sitters through preschool age, from in-arms or standing on the floor.
- Shoulder Scoot: ideal for newborns with no head control but can be done through infancy. Results in a very high back carry.
For an older child, you can ask them to climb up onto your back. Or have someone place baby on your back. Or sit them on the carrier in a chair and pull them onto your back using the carrier itself.
The best way to practice is to ditch the carrier for a bit and make it into a game. Baby goes up, baby comes down. You can kneel on the bed or next to a full-length mirror. Having something catchy for the LO to watch while you practice can be helpful, especially when dealing with impatient toddlers. Once you and your LO understand the look and feel of back carries, you can try it with the carrier.