Soft, sweet, sleepy, squishy. There’s just nothing like a newborn, and the best place to cuddle them is right there on your chest!
Once your sweet little one hits 8 pounds, he or she can be worn in a ring sling or woven wrap. These lovely carriers are perfect for your wee babe – they are just fabric, rings, and cuddles. Or, if you prefer an ergonomic carrier, the use of an infant insert can make them an accessible option from birth. Soft Structured Carriers are easy to use, comfortable, fit multiple caregivers and offer a quick alternative for when you’re out on the go!
When wearing a newborn, it is important to remember some key things about safety.
First of all, in the first four months, it is important to remain vigilant about baby’s placement, especially when he or she is being worn. Since babies have a very delicate airway, keeping him or her upright and in a high tummy-to-tummy position on the caregiver is very important. This helps to mimic the way you would hold a new baby in your arms while giving baby enough space for you to put 1-2 adult fingers between his chin and chest to allow your little one to breathe easily. If baby’s chin is pressed down toward his chest, or his nose and mouth are resting near your body, your little one’s vulnerable airway can become restricted.
You should also ensure that baby’s face is not covered from view at any time by any means, including blankets, carrier accessories, nursing covers, or hats. While you do want to make sure that baby’s head and neck are completely supported, there should not be any pressure on the back of baby’s head which could force the chin downward and affect the airway. Instead, if you’d like, allow your little one to rest his or her cheek gently on your chest – it can be a comfort to hear your heart. Be aware of your child’s breathing, check on your baby often, and reposition as needed for safety and comfort.
From a physiological standpoint, babywearing can be very helpful for your little one as he or she grows. When first born, babies have a C-shaped curve to the spine. As your little one develops strength in his neck and is able to begin to lift his head, the curve in the cervical spine begins to develop. Using a properly-sized carrier correctly can help to support this spine development. Make sure you’re your little one is placed in a position which supports the neck and back and ergonomically distributes weight through the hips and legs in order to relieve pressure from the baby’s spine as it develops.
The perfect carrier for a newborn for many caregivers is a ring sling. Baby Tula Ring Slings can be an ideal option because they are a single length of woven fabric securely attached using multiple lines of stitching to a set of reinforced sling rings. The sewn/rings portion of the sling, known as the shoulder, rests gently high on the caregiver’s shoulder, while the remainder of the carrier passes down over the caregiver’s back, under the opposite arm, and creates a looped hammock pouch in the front which will support baby. Ring slings are easy to use, comfortable, easily adjustable, and very quick to put baby into and take them out of, which can be especially useful for small newborns that need frequent feedings and diaper changes. They are also a single layer of supportive but soft woven fabric, which is breathable and comfortable year round, regardless of the weather.
A video can be very helpful when learning how to use a ring sling, because it helps to demonstrate position, safety concerns (such as supporting your child while putting them into the carrier, airway concerns, etc.) and also offers common tips for usage of the sling. Our instructions page will also be a great resource for you as you get started. Ring slings are wonderful newborn carriers, and can also be used into toddlerhood, and are an excellent choice for those who like to carry their bigger babies on their hip.
Another great option for a new baby is a woven wrap. Baby Tula Woven Wraps are lengths of fabric that have been woven specifically for the use of holding little ones. They range in length from about 2 meters long to over 5 meters long and are used by wrapping them around the caregiver’s torso and baby in a specific manner, and knotting carefully with a secure double knot. Woven wraps can be used through toddlerhood as well, and are best known for being versatile, comfortable, and ergonomic.
A simple carry that works well for a newborn is the front wrap cross carry, shown on our instructional video and instructions. This carry is helpful for keeping baby nice and high and upright on your chest, close to your heartbeat, and for spreading the passes across your body for comfortable, secure support. Woven wraps come in different blends such as Tencel/cotton, our delightfully breathable, soft, and eco-friendly blend, which is comfy for you and your little one and sustainable as well!
If you choose to use an ergonomic carrier, make sure that you select the Standard Size with the Infant Insert accessory, which is intended to be used with any baby who is less than 15 pounds, as well as until he or she is big enough for his or her knees to hang freely down in the M-position with no pressure on the insides of baby’s knee or calf. The Infant Insert features a pillow to boost baby’s height, a back and neck support which helps both modify the size of the carrier to suit a smaller baby as well as providing structure to support their strengthening body, and a harness which helps maintain the appropriate positioning for your little one. The Tula Carrier, demonstrated in our video, should not be used without the insert until your baby meets the criteria on the instructions page of our website.
Regardless of which carrier is your favorite for a new baby, having your little one on your chest or in a carrier has so many positive benefits, from helping babies to grow and develop better, as is shown in kangaroo care research, to supporting their sense of balance and security, to enhancing nursing relationships, to lowering stress, to bonding and brain development! Plus, it helps make caring for yourself and other children easier!
Carrying your little one on your chest allows you to reap all of these benefits and many more, and just feels great, so cuddle up and take in those newborn days!