So it's time to try the outward facing position with your baby? They're rolling independently, sitting up unassisted, have mastered great head control, and are increasingly curious about their world? Perfect!
The front outward-facing position (otherwise known as world-facing) is very popular with many parents and babies because, well, the world is an exciting place!
But there are some things to consider for safety when using this position, so we have put together a page especially for it.
First, off, why we love the outward-facing position:
- Babies are curious by nature and are always looking to soak up new information and process stimulating sights. As babies' sight and cognitive abilities develop, so will their appetite to see and learn more!
- Babies may become grizzly if restless from front inward-facing for too long, so by giving them a burst of time outward-facing, you may be able to extend your time babywearing and keep your baby settled for longer.
8 Safety Tips
While our range of carriers (and many others) are designed to safely support you and baby in this position, there are also important safety factors to be mindful of when trying it out.
The front outward-facing position can only be used when baby can hold their head up unassisted. This developmental milestone usually happens between 4–6 months.
At this age, baby should also be tall enough for their chin to sit above the top of the baby carrier, so that their airways are clear. (If not, delay using this position until baby is tall enough.)
When you first begin, it is also recommended that you only use the front outward-facing position for shorter periods of time (10 or so minutes), after which you should alternate to another position.
This is because young babies are still only developing their eyesight range and their cognitive ability to process all they can see. Taking in a busy world-facing view can, therefore, become overstimulating, causing baby to become overwhelmed and tired.
They need to adjust to taking in so many new sights and be given the ability to retreat to the safe and restful comfort of their parent by facing inward again. Being responsive to when your baby may need to return to the inward-facing position is, therefore, important.
Over time, you can gradually increase your baby's time outward-facing to 30 minutes. The reason why we don't suggest a longer duration, like the other positions, is because wearing a forward-facing baby is naturally less ergonomic and can be less comfortable for the wearer if worn for extended periods.
Any longer than 30 minutes also runs the risk of baby becoming drowsy, which is covered in our next tip.
Note: You may want to avoid this position if you have a pre-existing back condition, and we advise that you do not continue with this position if you experience any onset of pain.
Be mindful of the fact that your baby cannot sleep in the outward-facing position. Even when your baby has mastered adequate head control (which is necessary for this position), they will still, of course, not be able to sleep without their head and neck supported, which the front outward-facing position cannot accommodate.
This is why you should not use this position when your baby is drowsy, and one factor for why you should not use it for longer periods of time, as they may become drowsy during that time.
Pay extra attention to your baby's cues when they are in the outward-facing position.
You will not be able to see your baby’s face as easily when they are world-facing, which makes it more difficult to respond to their cues.
If using this position, we advise that you check on your baby regularly by leaning forward and tilting your head to view the side of their face, as pictured.
Choose a carrier that supports your baby to sit in a deep-seated M-position when outward-facing.
Some forward-facing carriers on the market are not designed to safely support baby's hips. We stand behind the safety of our products and have a wide range of carriers that have been approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
When putting your baby in the wrap or carrier, do a gentle pelvic scoop to position the base of baby's hips to tilt outward, and make sure their bottom is lower than their knees, as this causes it to take their weight.
It is recommended that you stop using the outward-facing position when baby is between 10–11 months old.
Again, this is because it is naturally less ergonomic for carrying than the other carrying styles and becomes more difficult, the heavier baby's weight. At this age, a back carry position is a great option!
Learn the signs of an over-stimulated baby.
We endorse Ergobaby's safety guidelines for reading cues of when your baby may be experiencing overstimulation.
Knowing these cues will increase your parent confidence and your ability to meet your baby's needs, which is a great thing.
Used with permission from Ergobaby.com.
In summary, the front outward-facing position should only be used:
When baby has developed strong neck muscles to support their head independently (approx. 4–6 months).
- Until approximately 10–11 months old, due to their weight becoming too heavy to comfortably carry them this way.
- When baby is tall enough for their chin to sit above the top of the baby carrier, so that their airways are clear.
- For shorter periods of time (10 or so minutes to begin with is advisable) to avoid overstimulating baby.
- Longer periods of time are suitable for older babies, but be mindful of how ergonomic it feels for your back and alternate to another position if you become uncomfortable.
- When baby is alert and not drowsy.
Be assured that there is no reason to worry about using this carrying position, as no studies have found any harmful effects, and it is a popular style of babywearing all around the world.
Carriers these days are also even better designed than years previous to support you and baby the best way possible.
Want to see some of our fun outward-facing carriers and hybrids?
Show your baby the world and bond for life!
Wanna know more?
For more informative articles to assist you in your babywearing journey, please check out the following:
- Discover the Lifelong Benefits of Babywearing for Baby (& You!)
- Carry Your Baby in Every Position: When & Why
- Choose the Right Wrap or Carrier for Your Lifestyle & Preferences
- Wrap, Ring Sling, or Carrier? (Pros & Cons)
- Comparison Charts: LÍLLÉbaby, MOBY, Ergobaby & BabyBjörn
- Safety Guidelines Every Babywearing Parent Needs to Know
If you would like some more support from one of our friendly team, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're happy to help, wherever we can!
You can also join the LÍLLÉbaby Love group, which is a supportive platform on Facebook for checking your fit with other babywearers and experts and also getting advice on any questions you have.