Babywearing During Pregnancy

Is it possible to use a sling or carrier when you’re pregnant?  When you’re expecting your next baby but your toddler still needs to be carried it’s great to know that, yes, it can absolutely be done!

For safe and comfortable babywearing while pregnant you may need to tweak how you use your existing sling or carrier, try a new position or a new sling. 

It’s also very important to listen to your changing body as your baby bump grows, and only do what feels ok for you. Some people don’t enjoy carrying in the early months but are happier to do so later in their pregnancy. Others are happy to babywear in the early stages, but stop once their bump gets bigger. Plenty of mums prefer not to carry their baby or toddler when they’re pregnant, and that’s fine too.

If you want to give it a go, here are our tips for babywearing when pregnant.

ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

Some mums are able to babywear throughout a pregnancy, but for most there will be times where you don’t have the energy or it isn’t comfortable.  Just do what you can, when you can.  Any closeness to your toddler will be lovely and convenient for you both, but it’s not worth hurting yourself if your body simply isn’t up to it.  Treat yourself with kindness and don’t try to do too much.

MAKE A PLAN FOR CARRYING WHILE PREGNANT

If you’re planning on babywearing when pregnant make sure you’re prepared in advance. 

You’ll almost certainly get to a point where front carrying is no longer possible so now is the time to learn back carrying, if you haven’t already.  If there’s a chance you might try tandem carrying once your new baby arrives, a toddler back carry is an essential skill to master. (Here’s our full guide to tandem babywearing).

Check out and try some suitable carrier options.  At the bottom of this post are our favourite toddler and pregnancy carriers.  Be open-minded – some of the best pregnancy slings are tie-on or less commonly seen options.

FIRST TRIMESTER

Your bump will still be nicely tucked away and you’ll likely be able (at least in theory) to continue using a carrier as normal.  To maximise comfort ensure that your carrier is a suitable size for your toddler; you may need to size up at this stage for a more supportive and long-lasting carrier.

On the flip side you may be very tired or feeling weak from sickness.  If you have less energy you might struggle to carry a heavy toddler at this stage.  Carry for shorter periods and get your toddler in a pushchair or on a scooter if needed.

SECOND TRIMESTER

By now you’ll likely start getting your energy back.  Your bump is getting more noticeable, but usually not so big that it’s too uncomfortable to carry.  Make sure that your carrier or sling is able to adjust to fit around your growing bump to avoid pressure on or around your belly.  Try fastening your carrier waistband either low down around your hips, or higher up around your ribs/under bust. 

You’ll definitely need to be back carrying by the end of this stage, so now is the time to get practising.  A hip carry (a ring sling may come in handy here) is also a good option – toddlers love being able to chat to you, and it’s lightweight, compact and easy for them to pop in and out of.

THIRD TRIMESTER

You’ll be back carrying by now and you’ll start to feel the extra weight.  Your bump will be increasingly in the way and your body will be noticing the strain. 

Ensure that your carrier is not fastened in a way that puts pressure on your bump and instead carry with the weight low on your hips (if possible) or high up around your chest and upper back.

BE EXTRA CAREFUL.  Your body is producing relaxin, a hormone that helps prepare for birth by relaxing your ligaments and muscles.  You may be more prone to injury and pain – especially in your pelvis and back – whether you’re carrying or not. 

At every stage of your pregnancy take things slowly; remember that you’ll feel very different from day-to-day.  Regularly check in on how you feel and take babywearing breaks when you need. The last thing you need is to injure yourself by trying to do too much. And if you’re in any pain or discomfort stop babywearing and do not try to push through. 

BEST SLINGS AND CARRIERS FOR BABYWEARING WHEN PREGNANT

Buckle Carriers

Our top recommendations for toddler-proof, pregnancy-friendly buckle carriers without super-bulky waistbands are the Integra Size 2 Toddler Carrier, Izmi Toddler Carrier and the Manduca XT.  These are all great for front or back carries, though all have a waistband which may become a little uncomfortable later in pregnancy. They all offer a handy hip carry option, too.

You could also consider an Onbuhimo-style carrier, like this buckled Onbuhimo from Didymos; a back carrier which fastens with buckles but has no waistband at all! It’s absolutely ideal for use during pregnancy and for quick up-and-downs with a toddler. (A Podaegi is another good option – another Asian style carrier with no waistband – but these are hard to find in the UK. )

Here’s a clever hack to turn your Connecta Baby Carrier or Integra baby carrier into an Onbuhimo-esque waistband-free carrying option (Disclaimer: Please note this is outside of manufacturers guidelines!)

Tie-On Carriers and Wraps

We love love LOVE woven wraps, which can be tied without a waistband for great support and no pressure on your bump.  Search for tying techniques that finish at the shoulder or with a chest belt.  Don’t get intimidated by exotic names; pregnancy-safe ways to finish a woven wrap tie include ‘Tied Tibetan’, ‘Candy Cane’ or ‘Knotless’ so get googling or ask us for advice!

If wraps really terrify you, it’s possible to adapt a toddler-suitable Meh Dai to use without a waistband, like the fabulous Neobulle Evolubulle.  Or try a Podaegi which is a waistband-free back carrier that fastens with ties around the chest (though these can be hard to come by in the UK).

For hip carries – usually for short periods only during pregnancy – ring slings are another great option for waistband-free carrying, like these stunning and great value slings from Little Frog.

There really are so many options! If you’d like more help, give the Wear My Baby team a call on 0345 222 9004 or contact us at info@wearmybaby.co.uk. We also offer video and in-person consultations, from just £10.

Photo credits: Wrap A Hug, Congleton Sling Library, The Sling Consultancy, Coorie In With Love.

Emily Williamson
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