Common questions around carrying your baby

Won't it hurt my back?

An ergonomical carrier, if fitted adequately, is unlikely to hurt. It aims to spread the weight evenly. Also by having your baby close to you, you keep baby’s centre of gravity close to yours which makes it feel as if you were one.

Your posture will be improved compared to carrying in your arms and this will alleviate the strain. Carrying is an activity in line with our biological norm and as such will bring the appropriate core strength the more you do it.

Carrying can actually fix some pre-existing aches and pains.

I don't think I can use a sling. I've tried one before and my baby was too heavy.

It may be worth looking into it. A lot of carriers available in high street shops do not offer the most comfortable fit for the person carrying or for baby, amongst other things. By using an ergonomical carrier which spreads the weight evenly and supports your baby in a position that respects his/her physiology, your baby is likely to feel a lot lighter. Some people carry their babies into pre-school age, even early school years.

Won't using a sling make my baby too clingy?

You cannot stop independence. One day your baby will walk away and be very determined not to be carried! There is also a lot of evidence that by responding to a child’s need for closeness, the child will become more secure and independent. “Only when you’ve drank enough from the tap will you be able to walk away from it”

Babies are dependant beings for their own survival so if you have a baby who makes himself known, be thankful, it shows that you have a survivor!

I'd be too afraid of falling while using a sling.

You adjust to your new shape and size very quickly and you are instinctively more careful. Just think of when you go down the stairs with your baby in your arms, I am pretty sure you are more careful. By having your hands free, it allows you to break your fall if it were to happen, and you would also be able to use your arms to  brace your baby.

Make sure to wear sensible footwear too.

Will my baby be able to breathe properly?

Yes if you respect the safety rules. You have to ensure that airflow is free around your baby by keeping the fabric away from the face and that baby’s chin is off the chest. You want to be able to slide 2 fingers between baby’s chest and chin. You must be able to see your baby at all times. Stay responsive when carrying, you can always assess the situation and re-adjust if you feel something is not quite right.

Why are they so expensive?

There is a wide range of prices depending on what you are looking for. A lot goes into releasing a new sling: research and development, safety testing, some slings are very limited editions, some slings use some more pricey materials too… It is also possible to find some much more affordable options.

Won't they get too hot?

I would always recommend to dress them appropriately. Depending on the sling you are using (thickness, number of layers, type of material…), adjust the number of layers. But remember to cover the head, feet and hands appropriately depending on the weather. Also some slings are warmer than others, so you can adjust your choice depending on the season, your tendency to be cold or hot…

Where do you put all the baby gear?

There are many options. You can use a bag, either a standard bag or a baby-carrying one. You can use a little trolley. You can get someone else to carry the gear. You can also carry less.

Where do I put the baby down when I'm out?

It really depends what you are doing. In a restaurant you can use a high chair, if your baby is still too little for a high chair, you can keep him/her in the sling. You can use the sling as a blanket, or play pass the baby.

How do you stay dry when it rains?

Again, there are several options, you can use an umbrella (transparent dome umbrellas are very handy), or a waterproof baby-carrying coat. It is easier to hold an umbrella when you are not pushing a pushchair.

My family/partner says it's weird..... How do I deal with that?

Like everything with parenting there are so many ways of dealing with family. You can go factual, and talk about benefits, history… or you can ignore comments and smile, or you can get them to try it for themselves… However you choose to deal with it, I’m sure you will find a way that works for your family.

How old does my baby have to be before I can use a sling?

You can carry a child from any age. Some slings are easier to use with a newborn than others but you can most likely find something that will work for you. If your baby has special needs, or is premature, I would advise to have some support from your health care provider. It might help to get some support from a baby-carrying consultant too.

What age can I carry my baby up to?

You can carry your child until you both want to stop. There are toddler carriers and pre-school carriers available. A good quality wrap can bear the weight of an adult, so the limiting factor becomes your strength. As a child becomes older, you will carry on shorter stretches anyway, like you would a piggy back.

Is there anywhere that I can try a sling before I commit to buying one?

There are sling libraries setting up all across the country where you can get peer-to-peer support and try different slings. If there isn’t one near you, some do postal hires. There are also baby-carrying consultants. Have a look at the maps in the resources.

I am a lot smaller than my husband, we can't really afford to buy two slings, is it possible to both use the same one?

It is. There are a lot of different options depending on the carrier of your choice. Some will make switching easier than others but possible nonetheless.

How long can I carry my baby for?

As long as you do it in a safe way and attend to your baby’s needs, there is no time limit. I would however recommend varying positions for your baby. You also can carry a child for many years if you wish to do so.

When can I start carrying my baby in a sling?

Whenever you want! From birth if you want or you can start later. It is never too late. It might just mean that some carriers will be easier than others.

Can carrying my baby in a sling do any harm to my baby?

It can if not done according to the safety guidelines. There are also some techniques that are not safe practices and this is one of the reason why we would always suggest talking to a carrying consultant.

Is it possible that my baby does not like to be carried?

It is very unlikely. You baby might like some carriers more than others and some positions more than others. If you feel your baby is not enjoying being carried, talk to an experienced carrying consultant who may be able to spot things out of the ordinary.

Does carrying help with excessive crying and colic?

Carrying has shown a decrease in crying. By keeping your baby close and contained and adding movement to the mix, he will settle quicker. Carrying in an upright position also helps the digestive system.

Can I nurse/breastfeed my baby in the sling?

It is possible to breastfeed in a sling. However they are both skills that take a bit of know-how and mixing them can take some practice. I would suggest you get to see a carrying consultant so that they can talk you through techniques and safety.

Breastfeeding in a sling can be done vertically or in a more reclined position. It is not hand free but it can give you more freedom of movement and also free one hand to help you get your latch sorted.

Always check your baby can breathe easily and that you haven’t added a tripping hazard.