When to Use Hip Carries: Around 4 months old, babies have developed more torso strength and neck control as their spines develop and they depend less on the support of the fabric to maintain safe positioning. Once your baby can consistently and reliably hold up his or her head, you can begin to use hip carries which will allow your baby a wider view of the world while providing improved physiological positioning and support over an outward facing carry – you and your baby will BOTH be more comfortable with baby oriented toward you! (This is why I teach and recommend hip and back carries rather than forward facing carries).
If your baby does not yet have full neck control but is eager to see more, try a hip carry but position it off center on your chest where the wrap will continue to support baby curled against you but allow more of a look around. Let your baby’s arm and shoulder out of the wrap on the side that baby is facing to expand his view. You can also wrap your baby in a high back carry that will give him a view while still providing head support – see below.
Time for Back Carries: You can also learn to wrap your baby on your back for a great world-view for baby and super comfortable carrying for you with the greatest range of motion. The reason most of the babies worn worldwide and throughout history have been on mother’s back is that is is much more practical for moms who have work to do!
Back Wrapping Before Baby is Sitting: You can use a woven wrap to wrap your baby on your back before he is sitting unassisted because it provides such customized, perfect support of baby’s healthy, natural shape and position. If you wish to back wrap your baby earlier than 4 months, you may want to find a local experienced wrapping parent to help you learn to do so safely, or familiarize yourself with safe newborn positioning and practice in a safe setting (with a spotter, for example) until you know how to do it safely and that you can monitor your baby’s continued safe positioning as you wear him or her. For other baby carriers (such as buckle or soft-structured-carriers), be sure to check manufacturer instructions as many prohibit use for back carries until baby is sitting unassisted (able to get self into seated position and keep it without help) or around 1 year old. This is because the panel of a structured carrier cannot be tightened perfectly in every direction for custom support for a baby’s torso the way the fabric of a wrap can.
#1 Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC)
- Still the perfect front carry for your growing baby.
- Gives your baby a comforting, familiar place to cuddle, nap or nurse on the go.
- Supportive and comfortable – FWCC will not sag as your baby grows.
#2 Wendy’s Double Hammock Carry (WDHC)
- Multi-layer back carry for comfort with heavy babies.
- Torso pass gives fantastic support, taking weight off your shoulders.
- Great un-poppable carry for wiggly babies.
*back carries should be practiced with someone else as a spotter or while sitting on a bed or other soft surface until you learn to do it safely every time.
#3 Coolest Hip Cross Carry (CHCC)
- Hip carry for when your baby has developed torso strength to sit up and stay seated unassisted.
- Gives a great view of the world for a curious baby, and a great position for nursing on the go.
- Can be done with a wrap one or two sizes shorter than your base size (used for full length carries).
Which wrap to get?
All of the wraps that I carry are appropriate for carrying your baby or toddler in any position so just pick your favorite! Getting a design and color that you love will make you happy to reach for your wrap every day of the year.
Get a long wrap to do multi-layer carries that will be more supportive for longer periods, and for the most options.
Or get a short wrap for cooler carries in hot climates, or if you don’t think you’ll like having a lot of fabric to work with.