Can I Continue to Wear My Baby While Pregnant?
Wise women know that pregnancy is not a time to add new physical activities to your life that may prove strenuous. However, if you are accustomed to carrying or wearing your child, a wrap will make it easier on your hard-working pregnant self, so YES, do yourself a favor and wrap your baby – just be sure to listen to your body’s cues!
**These photos and tutorials are for use with woven wraps like the ones you see in my store which offer comfortable support for toddlers and are safe in back carries as well as front carries. These are different from stretchy wraps commonly found in baby stores in the US.
How can Pregnant Babywearing Make My Life Easier?
How do I use a woven wrap while pregnant?
I made this video when I was 37 weeks pregnant, and my toddler was 15 months old. In it I demonstrate a Rucksack Carry (nice for when your toddler wants up and down frequently or will not be wrapped for an extended period) and a Double Hammock Carry (great for comfort over longer periods and when your kiddo will be napping on your back) and I show a few different ways to tie each one off so that you can find the one that works best for you:
Back carries: Most pregnant mamas prefer back carries. You can get away with wearing your child high on your front–above the baby bump–for a while, but eventually there won’t be room for the two of them. You might as well start learning back carries now! A back carry is most comfortable and as an added bonus helps a pregnant mama to feel evened out, so you’re not front-heavy.
Getting child on back: You can lift your child onto your back, but if your child is old enough you can also squat down and let him or her climb up piggyback-style. Similarly, a child who is steady on his or her feet can be slid down your back to the ground when you are done wrapping.
Tying around your belly: When wrapping your child, make sure you don’t tie the wrap uncomfortably across your growing bump. Some moms find it most comfortable to tie above the bump, and some find it comfortable to tie below the bump. If you are eager to “show” you will be delighted to find that either of these arrangements can accentuate your bump.
To completely avoid tying around your waist, try a carry that ties at the shoulder – Double Hammock Carry TAS (tied at shoulder) or Double Hammock Rebozo are both nice supportive carries that tie at shoulder – or try a Rucksack Carry tied Tibetan.
Pregnancy is often a time of random and unpredictable discomforts. Accordingly, utilize the famous versatility of your wrap to solve any less-than-perfect sensations. If rucksack straps pinch, try the same carry crossed in the front, try tying Tibetan to pull the straps inward, or experiment with a totally different carry. If the cross over your breasts is uncomfortable, try rucksack straps, or twisting or tying a knot in between your breasts. Or maybe a Double Hammock Carry with the broad band spread across your torso will be most comfortable. Any pinching could conceivably lead to plugged milk ducts, so do find a way to adjust the wrap until it lays comfortably.
Pay attention to your body and follow its cues. If you are getting winded or dizzy, or just tired, it’s time for a stay-at-home day and cuddle on the couch. It is more important to find the best way to take care of everyone–yourself, your new baby, AND your older child–than it is to live up to some pre-conceived notion about what you ought to be able to do.
What you “ought to be able to do” is follow your body’s cues and your child’s cues and brainstorm the best way to fill everybody’s needs.
What will best help your child adjust is staying flexible and staying sane and loving. That could mean giving up on the plan to move him to his own bed before baby is born. It could mean either increasing toddler-wearing time, or introducing him to the concept of doing his own walking when you are out.
There is no perfect solution for all families, only for your family, and if it means less stress, it’s probably the right choice! (And if wrapping is an option that you want to have, here are some fantastically sturdy wraps that will be supportive of your toddler.)
Can I use my woven wrap as a birth aid?
Your wrap can serve not only to carry your toddler, and your new baby, but it can be used to increase your comfort during pregnancy, to help turn a breech baby, to help a baby become ideally positioned for the easiest birth, to ease the pain of contractions or back labor during labor, to support you in the ideal squatting birth position, to give you leverage for pushing, and after the birth as a post partum belly band to assist in regaining your pre-pregnancy health, fitness, and shape. I have outlined a lot of these functions (including some illustrations and videos) in this blog post about using wraps and rebozos in pregnancy and childbirth.