Is babywearing safe during pregnancy?
Is it possible to carry a bigger baby or toddler when you’re expecting a baby?
Yes, it can absolutely be done safely and comfortably – if you want to!
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.
1. 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.
Your bump will still be nicely tucked away and you’ll likely be able (at least in theory) to continue using your baby carrier when pregnant, even on your front. To maximize 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.
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, to increase the comfort of your baby carrier when pregnant.
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.
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.
OUR TOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CARRIERS TO USE DURING PREGNANCY
Our top recommendations for toddler-proof, pregnancy-friendly buckled carriers without super-bulky waistbands are the Integra Size 2 Toddler Carrier, Lenny Lamb Wrap Tai and the Lenny Lamb Upgrade These are all great for front or back carries, though all have a waistband which may become a little uncomfortable towards the end of pregnancy.
Onbuhimo carriers are back carriers which fastens with buckles but have NO waistband at all! It’s absolutely ideal for pregnancy, especially if you’re only carrying for short periods (as much f the weight is on your shoulders) and for quick up-and-downs with a toddler.
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!)