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!
Which carriers can you use?
Soft structured carrier
The most common carriers that are used by parents are soft structured carriers (buckle carriers). Back carrying with those carriers is generally easy to learn. One of the easiest and safest way is “Walk like an Egyptian” which is demonstrated by Wrap you in Love.
When using a soft structured carrier for back carrying it is important to wait until your baby has strong neck and torso muscles. A good sign to look out for is when your baby can get into a sitting position by himself. This tells you that their muscles are now strong enough so they can easily support their head while being carried on the back.
Woven wraps are the best carriers to use if you would like to start back carrying early on. It does take a while to learn how to properly carry your baby on your back and you should have plenty of experience carrying your baby on your front before attempting a back carry in a woven wrap.
A woven wrap can be used from more or less newborn age because the fabric fits nicely around your babies’ body and supports your babies’ back and head perfectly. You will need to make sure that you carry your baby high up on your back, so that you can feel his breath on your neck. Here is a great tutorial from Wrap you in Love.
Consider getting professional help to learn this advanced skill. When practising start by using a weighted doll, have someone present who can spot or practise over a soft surface.
Meh dai’s are a great mix between the softness of a woven wrap and having some structure like a buckle carrier. They are also good for back carrying and you can generally start back carrying your baby a little earlier than in a buckle carrier. This is because the woven fabric will support your baby much better than a buckle carrier. Wrap you in Love shows how to back carry with a Meh dai.
Onbuhimo’s are buckle carriers without a waistband. These carriers are made for back carrying and are therefore perfect. The only disadvantage is that your child needs to be able to sit up unsupported (as with a regular buckle carrier) before you can use an onbuhimo carrier. Another quick video on how to back carry with an onbuhimo from Wrap you in Love.
Ring Sling and Stretchy Wrap
Ring slings and stretchy wraps should not be used for back carries. Both carriers are not ideal and won’t give your baby the necessary support that it will need.
When can you start back carrying?
As I have mentioned above, it simply comes down to which carrier you choose to use for carrying your child on your back.
When using a woven wrap, you can start shortly after birth. With a meh dai you can start carrying your baby when it is about 4 months old. And when using a soft structured carrier or onbuhimo you should wait until your baby can sit up unsupported.
What should you look out for?
There are a few simply things you should look out for when carrying your baby on your back:
- Practise with a doll, have someone else to spot or over a soft surface
- Find a safe way to get your child on your back (e.g. walk like an Egyptian or hip scoot)
- Place your baby high up on your back
- Check on your baby regularly either with a mirror or with your phone camera
I would love to know…
Which carrier do you like to use for carrying your child on your back?
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