The Ultimate Guide to Babywearing: Feel the Freedom & Bond for Life

Babywearing is no longer niche in the western world – it's a movement. Parents of all backgrounds, and both mums and dads, are loving the freedom and bonding they experience when wearing their little one. 

At Belly Beyond, we are big advocates for keeping your baby close, so we have put together this series called The Ultimate Guide to Babywearing, which covers everything you may want or need to know before you start your babywearing journey. 

Find the best fit for your family and lifestyle – then feel the freedom and bond for life!

Mum and baby bonding in the Ergobaby Breeze Carrier. Belly Beyond. 

7 PART ULTIMATE GUIDE SERIES

Below are the various topics we cover in our Ultimate Guide to Babywearing series. Feel free to click through to whatever is most useful for you, or scroll on down for a helpful overview, packed with infographics. 

Discover the Lifelong Benefits of Babywearing for Baby (& You!)

Carry Your Baby in Every Position: When & Why

Wrap, Ring Sling, or Carrier? (The Pros & Cons)

Choose the Right Wrap or Carrier for Your Lifestyle & Preferences

Comparison Charts: Moby, Ergobaby, LÍLLÉbaby & BabyBjörn

Safety Guidelines Every Babywearing Parent Needs to Know

8 Safety Tips for the Popular Front Outward-Facing Position

PART 1 Discover the Lifelong Benefits of Babywearing for Baby (& You!)

Bump and Beyond T-Shirt - Belly Beyond.

Did you know that the First Thousand Days of your baby’s life – from conception to 2 years – will be the most crucial determiner of their lifelong wellbeing and physical, emotional, and intellectual development?

With this in mind, it can perhaps feel like a lot of pressure to give your baby the best start possible, but the good news is that studies show that regularly wearing your baby close to you is an easy way to give them many of the developmental advantages they need. And, best of all, it's super easy to do!

But babywearing is not just beneficial for baby, it's great for mums and dads too!

Here are our top seven evidence-based reasons to give it a go:
Babywearing can boost the bond you form with your baby, is soothing and calming for baby, supports their healthy development, enables you to stay active with ease and comfort, offers stimulating sights for babies/toddlers, and helps you manage who has access to your baby. Belly Beyond NZ.

FULL ARTICLE (5 minute read)

PART 2  Carry Your Baby in Every Position: When & Why

If you’re looking into the option of babywearing, you’ve probably noticed that there are several different carrying styles – and figuring out when to use them can almost get your head as twisted as a baby wrap on your first attempt!

In this article, we go through the four most common carrying positions and share how they relate to the different baby development stages and babywearing products.

That way, when you’re comparing between products, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for, and when you start babywearing, you'll know how to carry your baby safely during every age and stage.

Common Carrying Positions

The four most common babywearing carrying positions are hip carry, front inward-facing position, front outward-facing position & back carry.

Safe Carrying Positions, Relative to Age & Stage

1. Front inward-facing: Newborn +
2. Front outward-facing: from 4–6 months to 10–11 months only
3. Hip carry: from 4–6 months +
4. Back carry: from 6 months to toddler

  1. Mum and baby in the LILLEbaby carrier, front inward-facing position. The Babywearing Series. Belly Beyond.
    The front inward-facing position is the leading carry style for the young infant stage and is the only safe way to carry baby up until about 4 months. It is also suitable all the way up to toddler/preschool age, although the back carry position tends to be favoured as baby gets heavier. See our full article for more specific details for fetal-style newborn carrying with this position.

  2. Mum and baby in the LILLEbaby carrier, front outward-facing position. The Babywearing Series. Belly Beyond.
    The front outward-facing position can be used from 46 months, provided that baby has built up their neck muscles and can hold their head up unassisted. It is also recommended that you stop when baby is between 10–11 months old, as this position is naturally less ergonomic for carrying than the others and becomes more difficult, as baby grows heavier.

    Experts also advise on using the front outward-facing position for shorter periods of time to begin with (10 or so minutes), after which you should alternate to another position. See our article that takes a special look at the outward-facing position to learn more about the safety considerations.

  3. Mum and baby in the LILLEbaby carrier, hip carry position. The Babywearing Series. Belly Beyond.The hip carry position can also be used from around 46 months and up  again, provided that by this stage, baby has built up their neck muscles and can hold their head up unassisted. Hip carrying is a great way to engage your baby in the stimulating sights around them in a balanced way, as baby is still able to see you and snuggle back into you if the outer world gets too overstimulating for them. As the weight is borne on one side, this position also gets less ergonomic the heavier the child becomes.

  4. Mum and baby in the LILLEbaby carrier, back carry position. The Babywearing Series. Belly Beyond.

    The back carry position can be used from when your baby is 6+ months, so long as they have full head control and are tall enough to see out of the carrier.

    This is the optimal carrying position from 12 months on, as it is the most ergonomic way to carry a heavier load.

 Carrying Positions Guide

Carrying Positions & Compatible Carrier Types 
The most common babywearing carrying styles are front inward-facing position, front outward-facing position, hip carry, and back carry. This table shows which babywearing products they can be done with and at what ages.

NOTE: Not all wraps, hybrids, ring slings and carriers will have all the functions shown in the table. This just gives a general indication of what those product types commonly offer.

Browse related collections: Wraps, Hybrids, Rings Slings, Carriers

Also included in the carrying positions article are the following key topics:

  • The M-Shape seating position is the most ergonomic way to support your baby to develop healthy hips when babywearing. This refers to the shape formed by baby’s legs and bottom, as shown in the diagram.
    The M-shaped seating position
  • The newborn seating position: how to do front-fetal in a wrap and in a carrier
  • Other common carrying positions 
  • Carrying Age Guide in 3 Stages
    1. From newborn to 4 months: Front inward-facing only
    2. From between 4–6 months approx. until 11 months: Front outward-facing,
     Hip carry & (6m+) Back carry
    3. From 12 months to toddler: Back carry, Front inward-facing, Hip carry

FULL ARTICLE (8 minute read)

PART 3 – Wrap, Ring Sling, or Carrier? (Pros & Cons)

If you’re sold on babywearing but are still working out which option(s) could be right for you, we have put together a guide to the various advantages and considerations of the top three babywearing products – wraps, ring slings, and carriers – to help you choose the best fit for you.

To start with, let's go over a brief description of each type:

Wraps

Traditional baby wraps are one long, rectangular piece of specially formed fabric, which you wrap around yourself (in various styles) and tie, before carefully tucking and securing baby inside.

Belly Beyond supply MOBY's leading range of baby wraps. Feel the freedom and bond for life!


Ring Slings

ring sling is made from one long rectangular piece of fabric (like a wrap), but two key differences are that the sling is worn on one shoulder and has two metal rings sewn into the fabric at one end, for a fastening mechanism. The other end of fabric loops back through the rings, creating a pouch for baby to sit in.

Moby Wrap NZ sell beautiful, comfortable, and easy to wear wraps so you can wear your baby. Feel the freedom and bond for life!

Carriers

Soft-structured carriers look similar to a backpack, with their padded shoulder straps and soft-shell pouch across the torso or back (depending on which way you are carrying baby). The pouch, with side openings for legs and arms, holds baby securely pressed against your body as they sit on the seat panel, which is where the soft-shell fabric connects to your carrier's buckle-up waist belt. This supportive band keeps baby firmly in place on the wearer’s body and provides solid support for the wearer’s back.

The padded shoulder straps go down the wearer's body (whether front or back), and they buckle together in the middle and then usually loop back under each arm to connect to the baby pouch. 

Belly Beyond supply a range of carriers by leading babywearing brand Ergobaby. Feel the freedom and bond for life!Belly Beyond supply a range of carriers by leading babywearing brand LILLEbaby. Feel the freedom and bond for life!Belly Beyond supply a range of carriers by leading babywearing brand LILLEbaby. Feel the freedom and bond for life!

The Belly Beyond range of babywearing brands are:
Belly Beyond stock a wide range of babywearing products, including MOBY's wraps, ring slings, hybrid carriers, and carriers, and the leading ranges of carrier from Ergobaby, LILLEbaby, and BabyBjorn.

 

Quick Comparative Chart

Babywearing Comparison Chart - Carrying Positions: Front inward-facing, front outward-facing, hip carry, back carry. Baby wrap, hybrid carrier, ring sling, baby carrier.

For a deep dive into the advantages and considersations for each type, check out the article.

FULL ARTICLE (4 minute read)

PART 4 – Choose the Right Wrap or Carrier for Your Lifestyle & Preferences

Everyone has different priorities when it comes to their parenting and lifestyle, and that’s why it’s important to consider what matters most to you when choosing a wrap, baby carrier, or ring sling.

We advise that, ahead of browsing our extensive selection of babywearing products, you decide on your top needs and preferences so that you can keep an eye out for them when considering all the options available. 

In this article, we look at the range of babywearing products we sell at Belly Beyond and make comparisons based on the following categories:

Lifestyle & Intended Use

How would you describe your lifestyle? Is it a "Go-go-go" lifestyle, a "Yoga Pants" lifestyle, or a "Cosy Nester" lifestyle?

Whatever way you roll, there's a carrier, wrap, ring sling, or hybrid made for you. 

Support, Comfort & Climate

In this section, we highlight features like padded straps, lumbar support, temperature control panels, and designs that support an even weight distribution.

We also have fabric charts for all of our brands and their products so you can shop with that in mind if the materials are important to you. 

Customisation, Fit & Longevity

These features could include:

  • How it can fit to you, the wearer, in terms of size.
  • How the fit can be adjusted easily between different wearers.
  • How it can be worn different ways, for example with the straps criss-crossed for optimal even weight distribution.
  • How many kgs the maximum weight is and how long the recommended age range is.
  • How wide the seat panel can go and how adjustments can be made to support a growing baby. 

Easy Practical Use & Care

Our chart covers how wraps, ring slings, and carriers compare in the following categories:

  • Easy to learn how to use
  • Ease of putting on and taking off
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Ease of breastfeeding
  • Ease of packing with you

Whether for you it's all about your lifestyle, comfort features, customisation, or ease of use, there may be something in our list of key factors that you have not considered yet, which you realise will be important to you.

To help you shop according to your needs and preferences, we have put together specially curated collections for each aspect, so you can browse what’s most relevant to you.

FULL ARTICLE (5 minute read)

PART 5 – Babywearing Comparison Charts

Moby, Ergobaby, LILLEbaby, BabyBjorn

In Part 6 of our Babywearing Series, we share four comprehensive comparison guides for each of our leading wrap and carrier brands. These guides cover every product we sell and provide details of their major features, including:

  • Key features
  • Price point scale
  • Fabric
  • Carry positions
  • For Baby: Recommended age and weight for baby; seat panel width setting options; head support; sun/sleeping hood; 
  • For Parent: Weight distribution; ease of use; comfort – shoulder straps, back and waist; sizing
  • General: Temperature control panel; storage pockets, additional features; breastfeeding; care instructions

VIEW GUIDES (4 minute read)

PART 6 – Safety Guidelines Every Babywearing Parent Needs to Know

Parents are constantly monitoring the safety of their baby, and taking up babywearing is no different. It's incredibly safe when done correctly, and when the safety checks we cover in this guide are learnt, it will soon become second nature to ensure they are always maintained.

To help parents who are new to babywearing, we have created this diagram to demonstrate how seven key safety checks can be remembered both visually by thinking down the baby’s body and verbally with their catchy phrases.

7 Safety Checks When Wearing Your Baby

Belly Beyond's 7 Safety Checks for Babywearing

1. CLOSE enough to KISS – Baby’s head should be just below your chin, in reach of a kiss when bending your head slightly forward. As baby grows, this remains the point of reference – not your hips. Therefore, when carrying your newborn, note that your wrap/carrier should sit much higher on your body than it would if holding a toddler. 

2. HEAD is HELD up – In infancy, before baby can hold their head up, make sure the wrap fabric or carrier always gives support up to the nape of baby’s neck as they lean their head against your upper chest. For older babies and toddlers, make sure their neck/head is supported as they sleep on you.

3. AIRWAYS are ACCESSIBLE – Always keep baby visible so you can ensure that their mouth and nose are clear of the wrap/carrier fabric, your clothes or body, or their own chest. Check that baby’s chin is off their chest by fitting two fingers under their chin. (If baby slumps down, this restricts their airways.)

Rounded back support for baby's back with the Omni Breeze.

4. FIT is FIRM – The wrap/carrier should be snugly fitted around your baby to keep them well-supported in an upright position and firmly nestled against your body. The wrap/carrier should not be fitted so tight that the spine is forced straight and not so loose that baby slumps down.

5. SPINE is SUPPORTED – The natural shape of baby’s spine should be supported by the wrap/carrier, causing baby’s tummy and chest to press comfortably against your chest. (The spine develops from a C-shape in infancy to a soft S-shape as baby starts to develop their neck muscles.)

M-position - babywearing - Belly Beyond Blog

6. KNEE-to-KNEE support – Baby’s seat should enable them to sit in the M-Shape position* with their bottom lower than their knees, and their thighs straddling your torso and supported by the wrap/carrier from knee-to-knee. (*With the exception of newborns in the frog-leg position.)

7. PELVIS BASE tilts the way they FACE – The most ergonomic position for baby’s hips can be achieved with the base of their hips tilting towards the direction they face, whether that’s your front, your side, your back, or a world-facing view. Do a gentle pelvic scoop to encourage your baby's hips to tilt towards you if they are front inward-facing, or tilt them away from you if they are outward-facing.

    Also included in the Safety Guidelines article are the following key topics:

    • The T.I.C.K.S Guidelines
    • Other Safety Considerations:
      Hands-free: A well-fitted baby wrap/carrier should allow you to be hands-free, with baby fully secure. However, carefully support baby and yourself when bending.
      - Temperature: Make sure your baby isn't overheating.
      - Weight and age: Check that your baby is within the recommended weight and age restrictions for your babywearing device or carrying position.
      - Carrier condition: Ensure that your carrier/wrap is a quality product and is maintained in good condition.
      - Safe practising: Get confident with using your baby wrap or carrier before putting baby inside and have a spotter on hand for when you have your first go.
      - Hip dysplasia: Follow guidelines to protect your child from developing hip dysplasia and buy approved products.
    • A List of Don'ts for the Wearer
    • Additional Tips

    FULL ARTICLE (6 minute read)

    PART 7 – 8 Safety Tips for the Popular Front Outward-Facing Position

    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! 

    Mum, Dad and baby out and about in the Ergobaby Omni Breeze, in the front outward-facing position

    Mum, Dad and baby out and about in the Ergobaby Omni Breeze, in the outward-facing position

    This article covers, in more detail, the following eight safety tips for this popular position:

    1. The front outward-facing position can only be used when baby can hold their head up unassisted.

    2. When you first begin to use this position, it is also recommended that you only do so for shorter periods of time (10 or so minutes), after which you should alternate to another position. 

    3. Over time, you can gradually increase your baby's time outward-facing to 30 minutes.

    4. Be mindful of the fact that your baby cannot sleep in the outward-facing position.

    5. Pay extra attention to your baby's cues when they are in the outward-facing position. 

    6. Choose a carrier that supports your baby to sit in a deep-seated M-position when outward-facing.

    7. It is recommended that you stop using the outward-facing position when baby is between 10–11 months old.

    8. Learn the signs of an over-stimulated baby

    FULL ARTICLE (3 minute read)

     

    Wrapping Up! 

    You've made it to the end – well done you! You're now an expert on babywearing and are probably a lot closer to knowing which of our many amazing carrier options is the right choice for you. 

    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. 

    Mum and Baby in the Ergobaby Omni Breeze, with Nana's support. Babywearing Series. Belly Beyond. 

    Happy babywearing!