Baby Got Back – Tips and techniques to help get baby onto your back for babywearing
It’s an exciting milestone to reach in your babywearing time. Your babe is finally ready for some back carries! So let’s get that baby on back. 🙂
Our stance on back carries as Babywearing International is to wait until the wearer has sufficient practice in front carries and the babies are able to sit up completely unassisted. We recommend this because at this stage it insures that the child has enough core strength to prevent unwanted sagging down into the carrier. We want to always monitor when we are back carrying to make sure that the child isn’t slumped down into the carrier and their airway is always open. Just like with front carries we want to make sure the carrier is fully supporting their body in a nice seated squat position.
Back carries with younger babies can be done safely in woven wraps and some mei tais, but it is considered a highly skilled carry and caregivers need to use their best judgement. Back carries with newborns can be tricky to even well experienced wearers. Also given feeding frequency and the need to constantly monitor positioning, front carries are usually the best option for a newborn.
When first practicing back carries, make sure you are working in a comfortable environment. Practicing near a couch or the edge of a bed and making sure baby’s needs are cared for before attempting the carry are good rules of thumb. A happy, well fed baby with a clean diaper always makes trying a new carrier a little bit easier. 🙂 If you still feel unsure, ask someone to spot you. Coming to one of our monthly meetings is always a great resource for getting help.
There are several ways to get a baby onto your back. The three most well known ways are the Santa Toss, Superman and Hip Scoot.
*you want to make sure you are grabbing as close to their body as possible and not down on their arms to prevent strain on their shoulders/elbows*
There are also different variations and personal preferences when it comes to getting baby on back, but each way you want to make sure that you are supporting baby.
With soft structured carriers (SSC) you can also try the “Walk like an Egyptian” method:
Once baby is on your back you will want to make sure you get a good secure seat and carry.
For mei tais and soft structured carriers getting a good seat involves making sure that the child is deep in the carrier. You also want to make sure the top of the panel comes up to provide ideal body support. This video helps give some tips to make sure you get a deep seat:
Sometimes people feel unsure if the carrier they are using is big enough for back carries but it could just be an issue with making sure they are all the way down into the carrier.
With woven wraps you will want to make sure you are creating a good supportive seat as well as a secure carry. This video helps give tips on how to make a deep seat and tighten the wrap to make the carry secure as well as supportive:
Now that you’ve gotten baby up and rocked the back carry for a bit (maybe even did some multitasking other than taking a bunch of selfies #totallyguilty), now it’s time to get baby down. Always making sure to support baby still with the carrier, you can hip scoot them back around to front. You can also carefully ease them back onto a chair or bed.
Backwards Hip Scoot:
As with all new carries, practice makes perfect. Before you know it you’ll be able to get baby up onto your back with ease!