Let me fill you in on a little secret for newbornwearing—the key is a supportive seat. Well, actually that’s the key for babywearing in general. A good seat can look different depending on the type of carrier and the carry. But in general, baby should be in a position similar to how you would hold them in your arms long term.
You would probably cradle their legs up, making baby smaller and easier to carry. You would place your hands or arms on their bottom or torso, keeping their body fully supported. What I just described follows the standard rules of babywearing safety: high, tight, knees higher than bum. . These rules weren’t made up at random, they follow you and your baby’s natural tenancies. Let’s take a look at the seat on a few different newborn wrap carries and see how the mimic being held.
Front Wrap Cross Carry Legs In. [Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid Brishen O/S] Recently, there has been a push baby’s legs being out right from birth. People stating legs in could put pressure on baby’s hips, causing hip issues. There is no evidence to support at this time. Think about how you hold baby, do you spread out baby’s legs every time pick them up? Or do you naturally let them fall where they may and just cradle them up for support? Maybe they are tucked up beside them or maybe they in a spread-squat position. I can say from personal experience my oldest’s legs were stuck tucked up until he was 3-months-old. I couldn’t get him to do legs out without him screaming. And my youngest can do either right now, just depends on the day really. So I don’t see the need to shun all legs-in carries. If that’s baby’s natural position in arms, why go against it in a carrier?There are a few things to watch out for when placing baby legs-in a torso pass like that in a Front Wrap Cross Carry. The wrap should support the natural C shape of baby’s spine, with hips rotated towards your body. Legs in the a frog-leg position, knees higher than bottom with feet parallel to ground. The cross passes should close off the bottom of the torso pass, preventing baby from slipping out the bottom. These steps will ensure baby is in a natural position without any unnecessary pressure on little hips or feet.
Front Wrap Cross Carry with a Twist. [Wrapsody Breeze Dinah] Some babies are born with legs uncurled, so legs-out from the start is a wonderful choice. However, for some babies bringing the cross passes under baby’s legs in a basic Front Wrap Cross Carry can puts too much pressure on their little legs. If you were holding baby, you probably wouldn’t place your arm under baby’s legs, awkwardly pushing them away from your body. This is not an natural position, so not the best carry for some babies. A lexi twist under baby’s bottom secures the bottom of the torso pass while bringing the cross passes away from baby’s little legs.This a simple variation that even a beginner can easily achieve. Once baby is in and the wrap tightened, instead of a just once, cross several times—I usually do 3 to 4 times—under baby’s bottom into a twist. Then take the tails behind you like normal and tie. The key is to keep the tension while twisting so baby stays high and tight. Also note that even though baby’s legs are spread out, the area between them is still small. Not much room to get a lot of fabric between you and baby. For this reason logistical reason, don’t stress about making a deep seat with a newborn. You should have some fabric between going between baby’s knees so baby is bottom is supported (like how you might place baby’s bottom on your forearm).But no need to stress about mastering a deep seat yet, this a crucial skill you can work on later.
If the wrap is supporting baby in the optimal high and tight position with knees higher than bottom, then it can be comfortable for both baby and you. If you were holding baby facing out, you would probably hold baby up high with their bottom on your forearm lifting knees higher than bottom. This would boost up baby high enough to fairly easily see baby’s cues. Even with baby up high and tight, this may not be enough head or neck support for babies who have little or no head control. Your natural instinct is to totally support a newborn’s body, so you probably wouldn’t hold a baby who couldn’t support there head facing outward. But, you might once baby got a bit more control, so it’s reasonable to try in a carrier.
The biggest reason lack of head support is an issue is it could compromise baby’s airway. Baby’s head rest against your body when facing inward, making it easier to keep chin off their chest. Facing forward with no head support could force baby to slump forward and close off their airway—especially when sleeping. This is why I agree to never keep baby facing forward when they fall asleep. I do not suggest this carry until baby can hold their head up independently. My son has good head control so I am comfortable placing him in this carry occasionally. Get baby high and tight in the wrap. Take time to make sure you can easily peep down at baby’s face. When you gently sway back and forth, you baby should move as one unit. Baby should swing around in the wrap. Just like your arms would move with your body holding baby, not swing baby away. Rotate baby’s hip’s forward so baby is in a seated position with knees higher than bottom. And I mean actually rotate them. Reach into the carry, gentle grab baby on both hips. Tip them backward and downward. Adjust the cross passes as needed, making sure baby is supported from back too belly button and knee to knee. Keep the torso pass off of baby’s face to keep their airway clear. And keep it off baby’s legs, this might add unnecessary pressure.
Pocket Wrap Cross Carry Facing Forward Outward.[Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid Kailani] Oh, the controversial facing forward. In a nutshell, there are several arguments for not facing baby forward. It can be overstimulating, uncomfortable for wearer and wearee, no head or neck support, you cannot see baby’s need cues, and not ideal position for sleeping. I agree with most of these claims. It can be overstimulating if you kept baby in that position all the time. You might naturally hold your baby facing out for a short while, but you probably wouldn’t hold like that for a long time—and probably not while moving around. It would be hard to keep baby secure. You would probably turn them to face you eventually. But, you would do this holding baby, so it is reasonable to do this in a carrier. It is a bit harder to see if baby is giving you any signs or cues, but it’s not impossible. Just pause and take the best look you can—just like you need to do with baby facing towards you as well.
I hope you have some insights into how to give your newborn the best seat possible. Remember to take your time getting yourself and baby comfortable in any carry. It’s not a race, it’s loving journey!
*Photo credit to Alacrity Photography