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Help! Do I need to change my baby carrier?

back carrying toddler in a baby carrier or sling
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Help! Do I need to change my baby carrier?

back carrying toddler in a baby carrier or sling
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Here at It’s A Sling Thing- part of CalmFamily, we speak to hundreds of families every month. A common question we hear is ‘Do I need a different sling or baby carrier?’ The families we work with have children of a whole range of ages, but certain trends are apparent. Many families who reach out for support finding a sling have children at similar ages, and they fall into 4 main categories.

newborn sling baby carrier Lifft Stretchy Wrap

What carrier? First Stage: Newborn baby (under 3 months)

A new baby is always a big transition. The number of baby carriers and slings on the market now can be overwhelming for many new parents, so they reach out for advice. Families are looking for a simple and safe solution to calming their newborn baby. Newborns require more attention to safety as they are unable to maintain their own airway, so they need different slings to older babies. You can read about our recommendations for newborns here.

Ergobaby OMNI 360 baby carrier in forward facing position

What carrier? Second Stage: the Nosy Baby (4-6 months)

Babies change quickly in the first few months. Many families get in touch when their baby is around 4-6 months old. Around this age their baby has grown significantly and is starting to feel heavier. The baby has more control over their body and is starting to push away, and turn around. Around this age is also when babies get more and more interested in the world around them. The combination of these factors is what leads many parents at this age to stop using whatever carrier they have been using, and hopefully reach out for support to try something else.

Facing outwards?

4-6 months is also the age at which many families start to consider using a baby carrier which offers a position facing away from the parent. You can read more about facing out here. It’ s worth bearing in mind that babies don’t only learn about their world by looking at it. Babies use a process called triangulation to work out whether they are safe. They look at the world, and then to their caregiver, observing whether they’re calm or giving off stress cues This helps them decide which new experiences they can relax and enjoy, and which might need them to be on high alert! Babies may enjoy looking out for short periods, but they rely on that close feedback from their parent too.

You may want to consider different carrying options at this stage, depending on what you have been using so far. If you had a stretchy wrap for newborn bonding, but now carry your heavier baby for long periods another option may offer more support. However, you may only need to try a different carrying position to give your baby a wider view of the world. Hip carries can be a fantastic option at this point. What baby carrier fits your baby relates more to height and leg length than weight. We suggest parents try before buying at this stage to ensure they fit. Hiring gives you the chance to try different options to find out which one really fits you, your child and your lifestyle. Hiring can save you precious pennies too. We see so many parents who bought or were given the ‘best sling’ only to find it isn’t right for them.

So, what baby carrier might suit a bigger baby?

Any adjustable carrier that is suitable from newborn, especially the

From this age more carrier become suitable. We find many parents love the

Other standard sized or ‘baby’ carriers are suitable once your baby is comfortably in 6-9 month clothes.

Back carry young toddler in baby carrier sling on a walk

What carrier? Third Stage: Starting to walk (12-18 months)

Many babies are walking by the time they are 18 months old. They may be being carried less, or for shorter periods. Babies are now often taller, with more proportionately slender torso and longer legs. Many parents find that the carrier they have used for a year is suddenly less comfortable. An added complication when looking for slings is parents often refer to children this age as toddlers. They are toddling after all! However, with slings and carriers ‘toddler’ sized is a fair bit larger and suitable for children in clothes size 2+.

Baby carriers for an awkward age

The 12-18 month age bracket can be tricky when it comes to picking a buckled baby carrier. Until your little one sizes up into 2-3 years trouser the pool of suitable options can get smaller for a little while. As with other stages, changes to carrying position or technique may make your current carrier comfortable for longer. We provide support for parents to get the most out of their current carrier wherever possible! However, some families do find that they need a different carrier for this age. If you need something more suitable for a child who is getting up and down a lot, or a child who is tall but with short legs, or a child who is short but with long legs then a different carrier might be the right choice.

Baby carriers you could try

Around age 2 is when many children will fit into toddler carriers – so whilst many people may be ready to change slightly earlier a toddler carrier might not be the right investment until slightly later!

preschooler in an onbuhimo

What carrier? Fourth Stage: Preschool and beyond (3 years +)

The final age we receive a lot of enquiries about have bigger children; preschoolers or school aged kids. They are generally walking, running, playing and enjoying the world, however they still get tired. At this age a pushchair is often inconvenient to haul around for infrequent use. A carrier may be a much more convenient option as it takes up much less space! Many families who contact us looking to carry older children are contemplating a specific event such as a holiday. They often don’t want to buy a sling if they won’t use it often. This is when our rental service, including many preschool and big kid carriers, comes into its own!

Larger children do require more support to carry comfortably for long periods. For short ups and downs you can get away with almost anything, but families who want to be able to carry older babies for long periods are often looking for large supportive carriers which will give them the freedom to go on long adventures! You can find our recommendations for this age group here.

Help me pick a baby carrier!

Meanwhile, find out more about slings, carriers and carrying in the carrying section of our Knowledge hub

If you’d like any help at any point on your sling journey, why not get in touch by email, or call us on 01133 206 545 to book a FREE 15 minute phone consultation or a longer phone or video consultation. We can help you find the right sling for your situation.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Carrying, Carrying basics, Sling choice & fit
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