Common questions

Can I go hiking with my baby?

My husband and I love to go hiking, or as we say in New Zealand “tramping”! Half a year before I became pregnant, we did one big 3-day hike once each month. We had also booked us into the Great Walk on Stewart Island over Christmas, which is a fairly easy hike. But by that time, I was 8 weeks pregnant, felt total rubbish and only managed to finish the hike because my husband ended up carrying all our gear by himself!

Once our daughter was born, my husband was very keen to go out hiking again – me, not so much, mainly because it felt so complicated most of the time. But together as a family we started going hiking again when our daughter was 7 months old.

From my own personal experience, I have put together a bit of information about babywearing when you go hiking.

Why does my baby not like the carrier?

Have you recently bought a new carrier and now you realise that your baby cries every time you try to put her in the carrier? Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that your baby hates being carried and will never like being in a carrier. There can be different reasons why your baby cries when she is in the carrier. I will explain those reasons today and give you some handy tips and tricks on how to settle your baby in the carrier.

Can I use my narrow-based carrier?

When I was pregnant, I was given some different carriers by very well-meaning friends. At the time I did not know anything about babywearing and put the carriers to the side for later use. One of them was a narrow-based carrier.

I did learn more about babywearing at my antenatal class and decided that a stretchy wrap would work better for me than the carrier I was given. Only years later I learned at the babywearing training I attended that narrow-based carriers are not only uncomfortable for babies and caregivers alike but also place your baby’s developing hips in a not-ideal position.

When can I start back carrying my baby?

Carrying your baby on your back: for some it is the easiest way to carry their child, for some it is the next step in their babywearing journey and for some it might not be necessary at all.

I personally was more than happy when I mastered the skill of carrying my daughter on my back when she was about 8 months old. This meant that I could cook dinner more easily – with the bonus that she would often fall asleep on my back. Nowadays, my big four-year-old girl only ever gets carried on my back.

My husband however, continued carrying our daughter on his front. He loved the cuddles that he would get this way with her. He only started carrying her on his back when she was about 3 years old and we only had an onbuhimo available during our travels.

Besides personal preference when you would like to start carrying your baby on your back, I often get the question when it is safe to start carrying a baby in a back carry. Let’s have a look at different carriers and safety aspects!

3 common worries about babywearing

This week I have started visiting mum and baby groups in my local area again. It feels so good to be out in the community again and being able to talk to new parents about safe babywearing. Seeing the happy faces when I can confirm that the fit of a carrier is perfect. Hearing the grateful “thank yous” when I give little hints and show small tweaks to get a better fit.

In most groups, there will be a few parents with common worries about babywearing. And because I do get those questions asked a lot, I decided to type up my answers and put them in this little blog post for all of you.

Babywearing and tummy time

I did a lot of reading when I was pregnant and during those first few months of my daughter’s life. About different parenting styles, how to support my child’s development, and about tummy time. I’m guessing that most of you have heard that tummy time is very much encouraged for babies.

But here is the thing: most babies under 4 months don’t actually like to be on their tummies. And who can blame them? It is hard work for their muscles to hold their head up.

So, why is there this recommendation for tummy time? And could babywearing be an alternative?

Let’s dive in and find answers to those questions!

Does babywearing make babies clingy?

The short answer for me to this question certainly is a big and fat NO!

But then, I don’t believe in anything that makes babies “clingy”. In fact, I don’t like the word in itself. For me, it has a negative feel to it. As if your baby wanting to be close to you is a bad thing and should be discouraged because how on earth will your baby ever become independent?

Well, my own little girl loved to be close to me from day 1 (and hasn’t changed one little bit in the last 3 1/2 years). In the early days she only fell asleep while being held or carried and only stayed asleep in this position too. She still needs me now with 3 ½ years to cuddle her to sleep. And while this can be exhausting at times, I know that soon enough she won’t need me anymore and I will miss those sleepy cuddles.

Me and my husband have carried her most of the time when she was little, but when she started crawling and walking, she became more and more independent. I was sad, when she didn’t want to be carried anymore. Luckily, our current travels in Canada and Germany have allowed me to carry my not so little girl again. Reminding me of those early days of her life – just adding another 12kg to the initial 3kg.