Newborns feel most comfortable when lying against the body of their caregivers. Baby’s can even help with carrying by tensing their bodies and tightening their legs when lifted. It's best to get a sling or other baby carrier well before the birth. Talking to your midwife can provide guidance on which carrier is best suited to you and your baby's other caregivers. In Germany, you can also consult what might be called a professional ‘carrying consultant’ in English. For long walks or shopping trips prams, buggies and baby seats are important companions.
Before you put your baby in the carrying position, you must of course first lift them from their crib. Remember to support your baby's head when lifting them up straight. Your baby should then lie erect against your body with their face turned towards you. The baby's pelvis is rounded. Please make sure that the baby's hip joints are in the correct position. Their legs should be in a squat and slightly spread position. When the baby's hips form a shape resembling the letter M, the resulting posture is called the ‘squat-and-spread position’ in German. In this position, the baby’s bottom sits lower than their knees, which are approximately level with the belly button. The baby’s arms should not just hang down, but rather they should also be bent. It is important that your baby's spine does not sit in a hollowed out position. You can recognize this incorrect posture by the fact that the baby's feet are pointing backwards. In addition, the baby's head tilts into their neck if the spine is hyperextended. Babies can’t hold their own heads up until they are three months old. Until then, make sure that your baby is adequately supported by a carrier or sling that reaches up to the bottom of their head. If you use an stretchy sling, you can also pull the sling over the back of your baby’s head.
When babies are four or five months old, they wants to see more. Your baby will push herself off your chest. You shouldn’t be tempted to always carry your baby facing forward now. If your baby is carried with their back to the caregiver's body, their legs hang down and their hip joints can be damaged. It is also best for your baby’s emotional development to feel the body of their caregiver in front of them and to be able to hear their voice well. However, there is nothing wrong with carrying your baby so they can see what’s in front of them now and then, for example if you want to show them something in a playful way.
You can also see whether you and your slightly older baby are comfortable with sideways carrying on your hip. Or you can carry your baby on your back. There are experts who advocate back-carrying babies from the very beginning. Please talk to your midwife or a ‘carrying consultant’ about the pros and cons of this option.
With so many baby carriers on the market, it's not easy to keep track of them all. Many people rely on the classic: the baby sling. You can get a lot of use out of a cloth made of woven fabric and the winding technique is quickly learned. Cloths made of stretchy material are only suitable for small babies, because the fabric gives too much as the baby becomes heavier. Maybe a so-called ‘ring sling’ is more comfortable for you and your partner. With this option, the cloth is held with the help of rings. Carriers that can be closed with practical buckles are also popular. The baby sits in the padded holder in front of your chest. These aids are easily adapted to the baby and the wearer. With a so-called ‘half buckle’, the hip belt of the carrier is outfitted with a buckle, while the padded straps are tied. With a ‘full buckle’ you can also close the shoulder straps with a buckle. You will come across more products in specialty stores. Seek advice from an expert or work with your midwife to find out which carrier best suits your needs.