Baby-wearing is all the rage at the moment with many benefits for both parent and child. A few of these include improved bonding, reduced chance of flat-heat syndrome and hands-free holding. Using a carrier or sling can even reduce the incidence of postnatal depression.

However, baby-wearing can so easily go wrong if you’re not quite doing it right…

Wearing the baby badly…

We are thrilled with our baby carrier – the Infantino cuddle up hoodie carrier, which I review in more detail here. As our’s is only suitable once the baby is at least 5.5kg, we have only used it a handful of times. Thank goodness for this! It turns out we had inadvertently been using it wrong and were potentially putting our baby in grave danger. Georgie, my wonderful sling-wearing BFF and all-round parenting pro, noticed something in a photo I’d posted on Instagram.

As you can see in this photo, Isaac is positioned quite far down on his dad’s chest. We wrongly assumed this was just how to wear the carrier, even though it seemed odd that his face was pressed so much into Dan’s chest. Something certainly seemed off to us as we kept checking he was breathing. Only his nostrils were out in the air and his positioning seemed a little awkward.

We are generally very conscientious parents. We are the kind to spend the extra money on a mattress with lumbar support and a car seat with side impact protection! However, we were pretty oblivious to the fact that our baby could suffocate in our arms.

I am so thankful that my friend noticed this, even though I was horrified when I took another look at the photo and saw what she meant. I removed the otherwise very happy photos from my Instagram and Facebook as I wouldn’t want other new parents to copy our poor baby-wearing technique!

It turns out that wearing carriers and slings badly is incredibly common. We had a Google of baby wearing and were shocked at the many people making the same mistakes as us, including celebrities!

How to baby-wear safely

Georgie pointed me to the ‘TICKS guidlines’ and suggested I blog about them to help educate other new parents on the topic.

The acronym stands for:

  • TIGHT – baby should be held tight against your body so you both feel comfortable and baby cannot slump
  • IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES – you should be able to see the baby’s face simply by glancing down
  • CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS – by tilting your head forward slightly you should be able to kiss baby’s forehead
  • KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST – so breathing is not restricted ensure their chin is at least a finger width off their chest
  • SUPPORTED BACK – make sure the baby’s back is supported in its natural position and their chest and tummy are against your chest

As you can see from our first photo, we failed on at least 3 of these points (now corrected, as seen in the second/featured photo)!

Although we regret using the baby carrier incorrectly, we are fortunate enough that Isaac is absolutely fine and we have been able to immediately rectify our mistake. Tragically some parents (and babies) are not so lucky. Please take the above advice and be careful when baby-wearing. When done correctly it really is one of the loveliest experiences you’ll have with your young baby.

Recommended baby carrier: