Did you know... A well supported baby in an appropriate and ergonomic carrier actually makes the whole experience more comfortable for the wearer!
There are some popular carriers on the market that mean well but may not provide you and your baby the most comfortable experience. I want you to know that there are options and babywearing is meant to be comfortable and enjoyable! A well supported baby is where it all begins. A basic understanding of how our bodies work, or even feel comfortable, and a quick analysis of your carrier's features can help you work out what is going to be a great carrying experience or where you might need to update!
Let's review the TICKS guidelines. They have been developed to articulate what safe babywearing looks like, but they also make a great guide for getting a comfortable fit.
1. Having baby TIGHT means they are secure and not flopping around. That also provides stability for you so you're not countering baby's leaning to one side.
2. IN VIEW and CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS means that baby can be checked on easily by the wearer so that breathing is monitored, fabric is not covering their face, etc. This also means you are carrying the weight of your baby at a more comfortable centre of gravity! That's right, worn at a lower level on your body (back or front) means your back, shoulder and core muscles are working harder to counter their weight.
3. CHIN OFF THE CHEST is super important and most easily achieved in a carrier that has baby positioned upright! Cradle holds in a carrier or sling are not longer recommended. A baby carried in an upright position also allows for more even weight distribution and a more comfortable carry session.
4. Finally a SUPPORTED BACK is optimal for spine development. Worn high enough to allow a baby to curve and mould into you as you naturally would hold them means they are not arching their back and pulling or dragging their weight away from you. Adding to a SUPPORTED spine is a hip healthy M position with knees above the bum. In a 'seated' position as opposed to a legs 'dangling' position your baby is able to hang on to you more easily and can maintain their own sense of balance.
As always, safety comes first. However, I believe that if you are comfortable and confident in carrying your baby you will both have a better experience. Bonding and all the wonderful reasons to babywear will actually make more sense!