Whether you’re a mom or dad, there’s no denying that baby-wearing is one of the most ideal ways to bond with your little one. After all, there’s no better way to feel closeness and comfort than when you buckle your baby in a stretchy wrap or carrier close to you. Furthermore, it’s a practical way to carry your baby while keeping your hands free. However, one of the most commonly asked questions is, ‘how long can you carry a baby in a carrier?’
The short answer is that there’s no defined maximum duration for a baby in a carrier. Moreover, it will likely change with the development and growth of your little one. While the rule of thumb is that your baby shouldn’t spend more than two hours consecutively in a carrier or baby wrap, the truth is that it will depend on a few factors. They include your baby’s strength, baby’s age, baby’s weight, and the type of carrier you’re using.
Having your baby strapped to your body fosters a close bond and soothes a fussy baby. Additionally, while you have your child safely with you, your hands are free to handle other tasks that require your attention.
With that being said, let’s delve into the various types of baby carriers available and how each impacts the duration that your baby should be in it.
When Should You Carry Your Baby in a Carrier?
Theoretically, a baby can be carried in a carrier from birth. Slings and wraps come in handy from any age, which is why in a multitude of cultures, the use of a sling or wrap as soon as a baby is born is the norm.
Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping in mind that your baby is quite fragile in the early months and weeks. Therefore, special care is necessary to ensure your little one fits in their carrier safely and properly.
When carrying a newborn baby, it’s crucial to ensure the baby’s head and neck muscles are properly supported, and the carrier is age-appropriate. A boatload of structured carriers keep the baby close to you and carefully tucked in for compliance with newborn baby-wearing.
How Long Can You Carry a Baby in a Carrier?
Although wraps are the simplest type of baby carrier, they provide excellent comfort and support for the baby and the wearer. In a nutshell, a baby wrap is a long piece of fabric made from knitting, cotton, or linen that you wrap around you and your little one. Most commercial wraps include step-by-step instructions on how to use them.
In today’s digital era, you also have the option to become a pro in wrapping courtesy of online platforms such as YouTube. Wraps are perfect for infants and can be wrapped in fashionably while providing optimum support for the baby’s head.
Newborns to 5 Months
Young babies will remain elated in a wrap for hours on end. It creates a small cradle for them in which they take comfort. Since newborns wake up for breastfeeding every two hours, they’ll be frequently taken out of the wrap as they continue growing and developing.
Once they begin sleeping longer, they can remain in the wrap until they become restless. At any pace or soon as your baby becomes uncomfortable in the wrap, you’ll know.
5 Months to 18 Months
Babies in this age range can hold their heads steadily and begin to take an interest in their surroundings. While you might assume that means they won’t remain in a wrap for long, some babies become accustomed to the wrap and happily spend hours on end in it.
Mothers of 18-month old babies usually notice that their little ones habitually fall asleep when tucked in their wraps.
As a rule of thumb, a baby can remain in the wrap for as long as you’re both comfortable and happy. Some mothers wear their little ones for several hours a day due to the practicality it ushers in. It’s a hassle-free way of watching over your baby.
18 Months to 36 Months
New parents know that toddlers have bursts of energy. They are constantly on the move, which means the last thing they need is to be confined in a wrap for hours. Furthermore, a three-year-old weighs 26lbs to 40lbs, which is too heavy to carry for hours while doing other tasks.
While you can carry older babies in a wrap, it’s not the most comfortable option for that age. Furthermore, children of this age should be active rather than held immobile in a baby carrier for hours. You can wear your toddler in a wrap for the duration they are thrilled to be in it.
However, keep in mind that a child between 18 months and 3 years should explore their environment under your watchful eye. Additionally, wraps are ideal for doing chores around the home while your baby naps. If your child does need a break, consider using a stroller instead.
How Long Can You Carry a Baby in a Sling?
A baby sling consists of a long piece of soft fabric with two rings on one end. To safely put your baby in it, you’ll need to thread one end through the first ring before you thread it back through the second one. Sling carriers are worn over one of your shoulders, after which you carry your baby in the pouch formed on the opposite hip.
Baby slings are most popularly used when summer rolls around as the shoulder straps hang over one side of your body, leaving your other shoulder uncovered. They can be used from the get-go until your child turns three.
Although ring slings are perfect for babies and are easy to adjust, they might not be suitable for extended periods of time given that they go over only one shoulder rather than both. Resultantly, the baby is usually in an angled carrying position rather than upright.
One of the most ideal features of the baby ring sling, such as the Mebien, is its versatility and user-friendliness, as you can put it on without help.
Factors to Consider to Carry Your Baby Safely in a Carrier
Here are a few things to keep in mind when carrying your baby in a carrier for hours.
Protect Your Baby’s Airway
If your baby’s face is buried in the carrier fabric or your clothes, they might be unable to breathe, leading to a risk of suffocation. To prevent this, check that you’re carrying your little one correctly.
Additionally, ensure that your baby isn’t slumped over in any way, particularly in a forward-facing position.
During summer, most new moms are usually outdoors with their babies in carriers. Therefore, they need quickly notice peeking temperatures as that may lead to overheating.
When out and about in hot weather, try not to carry the baby for hours and take frequent breaks. Remove your baby from the carrier for some fresh air and remain in cool shady areas.
Choose a Carrier That Enhances Hip Health
When carrying your little one for hours on end, make sure they are secured in a healthy hip position to prevent hip dysplasia or hip dislocation. Along with keeping their head and neck safe, ensuring that your baby’s hips and baby’s legs are comfortable is very important.
It’s okay for your baby to be in a carrier for a few hours. It’s unlikely that they’ll remain tucked in the carrier for an extended period as they’ll become restless as a way of letting you know they need to be set free. You and your baby will be okay provided that you remain alert to your baby’s signals.