Help! My Baby Doesn’t Like Carriers: Tips for Happier Babywearing
By: Julia Larrabee, Senior Product and Innovation Manager
You have read up on the many benefits of babywearing. Your seasoned mom pals warned you how your baby will always want to be held. You researched hip healthy carriers and picked the best one for you and baby’s comfort. But for some reason, what you envisioned being a cuddle fest of bonding and multitasking is, in reality, a baby screaming fest with you bouncing, swaying and getting nothing done.
You are not alone! Your baby isn’t the only one who doesn’t immediately love being in a carrier and sometimes babies need to get used to it. My daughter, who is now five, didn’t like being in a carrier at first, but with the potential benefits of regulating baby’s heart rate and body temperature while allowing me to have my hands free, I wanted to try! And feeling in control…of my new life, doing my stuff, but also in control of my baby’s cues and learning what each kick and coo might mean (and yes, it might just be gas!).
My efforts getting my baby comfortable with carriers informed a lot of the decisions made when we were first developing the Boppy Signature Hybrid Carrier line. Boppy carriers needed to be stress free to put on, comfortable for the caregiver and baby, secure, hip healthy, and honestly, pretty. When you first have your baby, you don’t always feel your best. Some of us feel like we lost ourselves or are too tired to look or feel cute. That is why we make our carriers out of beautiful, apparel grade fabric.
That being said, my first tip is for you: Pick a carrier you love, that is comfortable and that you want to wear. Ensure it fits you and baby snuggly and comfortably.
Now for the baby tips:
- Don’t force it – if baby doesn’t like it today, try again in a day or two…that may help by itself.
When we know something can be beneficial for our baby, we can have the tendency to try really hard. And that is good, because parenting is hard! But when getting baby used to a carrier, keep it light. Try for a little, if it doesn’t work out, try again later. Try not to stress. Carrying is all about lowering stress and making your life a little easier.
- Try baby wearing when your baby is already in a happy mood.
Think of it like going to a party. If you head to a party in a terrible mood, you probably won’t have fun. You barely know anyone, you hate potato salad, the music sucks. But when you are in a good mood, you joke dance to the terrible music, you meet some great people and even though you hate potato salad, this one is delicious...well edible. It may be the same for baby. Try it a couple times when you and baby are both in a good mood.
- Make sure what you wear isn’t scratchy or fuzzy against your baby’s skin.
Did you forget you were wearing that wool sweater, or you have a zip-up or button top because you are nursing? Try soft, simple textures and see if that helps. Something as easy as a t-shirt change may make the difference!
- Make sure nothing pinches or rubs baby.
Babies are such…babies. Make sure they are placed correctly with nothing pinching or scratching. If you choose a Boppy Hybrid Carrier, make sure wrap knots are in places that are comfortable for baby. Make sure toes and fingers are all sitting in a comfortable position, and none of those cute chunk rolls are getting pulled anywhere.
- You are still learning
Give yourself a break. As you and baby spend more time together you will learn little adjustments to make baby a little comfier. You will get more confident and pass your calm to baby too. Co-regulate has become my favorite mantra over the past 5 years!
You will perfect the T.I.C.K.S. rule and put baby in the carrier smoothly over time. These little adjustments will help you fine tune your babywearing.
- Try baby wearing while just sitting on a sofa and not walking around yet.
If baby loves to be on your chest while you sit, try that same position with a carrier on. It can be a nice segue to get baby used to being in a carrier. You know…baby steps!
- Try for short periods of time around the house.
Short but sweet goes a long way.
I hope these tips help and we can get both you and your baby comfortable and set-up for future baby-carrier outings!
For a more detailed guide on babywearing, check out our other post!