How Old Should Your Baby Be To Face Forward In Her Baby Carrier?
How Old Should Your Baby Be To Face Forward In Her Baby Carrier? — Ergobaby Blog
Baby carriers are a lifesaver for many parents. But as a first-time parent, you probably have a lot of questions about baby carriers, like when can I start putting my baby in a baby carrier and at what age or weight can my baby sit forward facing in a baby carrier?
With my first child, I had lots of babywearing questions. But with a little research, and learning while babywearing with my son, I found the answers and am here to answer your questions about front baby carriers.
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When is it safe to put my baby in a baby carrier?
You can start using a baby carrier from day one. Most are meant to hold babies when they’re a newborn up to 2-3 years old. Babies who are younger than 4-6 months should only be carried in the inward facing position in your newborn carrier with proper head, neck, hip and bottom support.
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When can my baby face forward in a carrier?
Unlike car seats where age and weight are the two factors used to determine when babies can face forward, baby carrying positions are based on age and development. You’ll know your baby is ready to face forward as soon as she’s out of that bobblehead phase. Once her neck muscles are strong enough to steadily support her head, typically between 4-6 months old, then you can safely face her forward in your baby carrier.
How will I know if my baby likes facing forward in her carrier?
About the same time your baby develops good head control, her development is changing. Around 6 months, she will go from being so interested in your face, to wanting to look around and see everything that’s happening around her. This makes it the perfect time to move her from inward to outward facing because she can hold her head up and see the interesting outside world.
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But even when your baby is strong enough and shows interest in her environment, you still need to pay attention to her cues. Especially at first, babies can become overstimulated or even get scared from a sensory-overloaded environment. So while your baby will enjoy having more freedom to move her arms and legs in a forward-facing position, and turn her head from side to side to see all the lights and movement, pay attention to fussiness, crying and even silence to make sure your baby is doing OK in this position. I’ve found that sometimes you have to switch between the inward and forward-facing positions at first, which is totally normal.
Is forward facing babywearing unsafe for my baby?
You may have heard that forward facing babywearing can be harmful to your baby. This is only true if you don’t follow the age and developmental standards and pay attention to your baby’s cues.
Here’s what you need to know:
Will forward facing hurt my baby’s neck? When babies are forward facing in a carrier there is less head control, which is why it’s safest to wait until your baby can hold her head up without any wobbling. For most babies that is between 4-6 months old, but each baby is different. Also, don’t let your baby sleep when she is forward facing as her head could fall forward and restrict her airways.
Is forward facing harmful to my baby’s hips? It’s only harmful if your baby carrier doesn’t properly support your baby’s hips, bottom, and legs. When seated in the carrier, your baby’s lower half should be in what’s called the “M” or frog-leg position.
Is forward facing too overstimulating for my baby? Most babies who are old enough and have hit their developmental milestones love facing forward. But every baby is different, and those who were born premature or have a more sensitive temperament may easily get fussy facing forward. While it’s harder to see your baby’s face in this position, just listen and watch for clues to know if your baby is enjoying facing outward or not. You may have to start her facing forward somewhere that she’s comfortable with that’s not really noisy or busy or ease her into facing forward with short time increments and then build up to longer outings in different places.
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Last thing to note! When it comes to comfort and support, our carriers also take the caregiver into consideration. While outward facing will be exciting for everyone to try, it can put stress on a caregivers back if used for long periods of time. We recommend only using that carry position for small amounts of time. Happy carrying!
When can babies face forward in a carrier?
Using a baby carrier can be a lifesaver when it comes to getting things done with your little one in tow. With the right baby carrier in your baby gear arsenal, you can easily run errands without worrying about what your little one might touch or get into and help them enjoy a much-needed nap, even when you’re out and about.
However, when your little one gets past the infant stage, you may find yourself asking, “When can babies face forward in a carrier?”
If you’re thinking of making the transition to a forward carry position, read on to discover when it’s safe to make the change and how to best go about it for the safest position.
When can babies start forward facing in a carrier?
If your little one is starting to turn their head and push away from you when you wear them in your carrier, you’ve probably asked yourself, “When can babies be front facing in their carriers?”
In most cases, babies can begin facing outward in their carrier when they’re six months old. By six months of age, most babies are nearly double their birth size. Their hips and ligaments have strengthened, allowing them to comfortably enjoy facing out and reducing their risk of developing hip dysplasia.
All LÍLLÉbaby baby and infant carriers are certified Hip-Healthy Products by the InternationalHip Dysplasia Institute.
In addition to being 6 months of age, they should also have demonstrated from milestones in their muscle control and development.
What are the milestones babies have to meet before facing forward in a carrier?
To ensure that your little one can safely make the change from inward facing to facing outward in their carrier, there are a few milestones they should meet first.
Most importantly, your baby should be able to hold their head up independently before you transition them to a forward facing carrying position. Every baby is different, so you may wish to speak to your pediatrician before deciding to change your baby’s carrying position.
You should similarly ensure that your baby is ready to switch from an inward to an outward facing carrying position not just physically, but emotionally. If your baby gets easily excited by sights, sounds, or interactions with other people in general, they may not be ready to face outward in their carrier, even if they’re a toddler.
Fortunately, over time your little one will adapt to being comfortable in a forward facing carrying position—it just takes some time and practice on both your part and theirs.
How can you best transition young children from inward facing to forward facing in a carrier?
If you own a LÍLLÉbaby Complete 6-in-1 carrier, watch this quick and helpful tutorial video on how to adjust the carrier seat and settings for outward carrying.
As is true of almost any activity you engage in with your little one, practice makes perfect. While your baby may be initially resistant to changing carrier positions, carrying them in a forward facing position for a few minutes at a time can help get them acclimated.
You may want to try this at home before taking them out of the house. This is because it’s easy for little ones to get overstimulated when they first transition to a new carrying position.
Especially when they suddenly have so many new things to see and hear.
It’s also essential that your baby doesn’t fall asleep while being carried in a front-facing position, as this can be a safety hazard. If your little one falls asleep, switch them back to an in-facing position.
What outward facing carriers work best for babies?
The best outward facing carrier for your baby is the one that keeps you both comfortable, no matter where your adventures take you. However, the transition from inward facing to outward facing may be made easier by using the same carrier for both positions.
Fortunately, there are a number of soft, comfortable LÍLLÉbaby carriers that transition from inward facing to outward facing carrying positions, including the LÍLLÉbaby Complete 6-in-1, LÍLLÉbaby SeatMe All Seasons, and LÍLLÉbaby Pursuit. Better yet, these carriers can be used until your little one is a toddler, making it easy to safely explore the world around you with them in tow, even when they’re well past infancy.
When can children start using forward facing seats in a car?
If you’re considering putting your child or children in a forward facing carrier, you may also be wondering when you can safely switch them from a rear facing position to front facing convertible seats or a booster with a seat belt when riding in your car.
While some car seat manufacturers recommend that you transition your child from riding in a rear facing seat to a front facing one when they hit 50 pounds, each car seat manufacturer has its own specific height and weight limits, and they vary from model to model.
Since car seat safety is so crucial, it’s best to have a certified child passenger technician help you reposition your seat when it’s time to switch your child from a rear facing seat to a forward facing one. A child passenger safety technician can also ensure that the fit of your child’s car seat straps—as well as the seat’s position are in accordance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommendations for safety.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should rear face in the car for as long as they safely can, based on the height and weight limits of their specific car seat.
Ensuring your child’s safety when you’re out of the house is a big job—but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Consulting the recommendations of your pediatrician and those of the manufacturer of your carrier or car seat can help you do what’s best for your little one’s safety and comfort while letting them explore the world around them, aiding their development with every trip outside.
Additional Resources and Information:
- The Top 10 Benefits of Babywearing
- The Ticks of Babywearing
- 6 Essential Babywearing Tips
- Babywearing Tutorials
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World facing baby carrying
minimum up to hip level, if not higher. This is only possible when the fabric of the carrier (sling or backpack) completely covers the baby’s butt up to the back of his knees, or if the carrier has leg straps. When the child is facing forward without proper support, his legs dangle, but this is not the main problem. The main difficulty is that the spine and hips in this position are also not supported. The child simply has nothing to sit on.
This is confirmed by medical research from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, as well as data on the dangers and benefits of placing children in various types of carriers. The carrier, which supports the baby’s legs, contributes to the proper development of his hip joints. The forward facing position does not support the child’s hips. This is why children who have already been diagnosed with hip dysplasia should not be carried forward facing.
Choosing an ergonomic carrier that supports your baby’s legs is important for the normal development of their hips.
2. Makes it difficult to carry a baby and is bad for your back health
Much harder to wear something that curves away from your body than something that fits snugly against you. A person with such an uncomfortable load often has to arch his back in order to maintain his own balance. The baby’s body is naturally adapted for us to carry him facing us. If you carry weights with an arched back, this will lead to lower back pain.
3. Causes baby to arch back and increase pressure on baby’s still-forming spine
. Baby who is carried face forward without leg support is in an unstable position. He is forced to arch his back for balance (shown as a red line in the figure).
Arching your back and stretching (as after sleeping, for example) is not dangerous in itself. The problem occurs when additional pressure is applied to the arched spine . By placing the baby in a carrier facing forward, we endanger his naturally curved spine, causing the baby to arch his back. As a result, the child has nothing to lean on, in addition, the baby has weak abdominal muscles and retracted shoulders, and his pelvis deviates back. In this position, the baby has to literally carry the weight of his own body, and also, as it were, “take over” every step of the person carrying him. All this weight falls on the unformed children’s spine.
4. Puts undue pressure on baby’s groin and can also rub on baby’s inner thighs. This position added stability to the baby, but still it is not suitable for spending all day in it.
Friction is not such a harmless problem. In fact, the baby is in a position where he hangs on his most delicate part of the body, which is very painful, especially for little boys.
5. May cause overexcitation of the child
If you carry children facing their parents, they will still explore the world around them, only at their own pace, because it is very easy to overload the baby with impressions.
6. Does not support baby’s head and neck
Some positions may make it difficult for baby to breathe. The newborn has weak neck muscles, so his chin falls forward on his chest. In no case should you carry the baby in a position that interferes with his normal breathing.
7. Difficulty in thermoregulation
The position of the baby, when he is pressed to the mother’s breast, allows you to keep warm better than when the baby is carried face forward. It is no coincidence that the world has recognized the effectiveness of caring for premature babies using the Kangaroo Method, since this method provides optimal thermoregulation of the newborn. In addition, the child has more fat cells in the back than in the front.
8. Interference with children’s signals
It is quite difficult to understand what the baby needs at the moment, in the absence of eye contact with him. It is difficult to check if everything is in order with breathing, to notice that the child has burped, is hungry, wants to go to the toilet, and not only in this case. According to scientific studies, transporting a baby in a stroller facing away from the parent also prevents full contact and makes it difficult for the parent to recognize children’s signals.
This mother supports the baby’s legs because he has nothing to sit on. The child is suspended by the groin on two pieces of cloth. If his shoulders had not rested on the matter, the baby would have fallen forward. This design is not reliable.
9. Does not take into account the child’s center of gravity
A parent carrying a child facing forward often instinctively puts forward index fingers, trying to support and fix the baby or lift his legs forward. The child is simply forced to arch his back under the weight of his own body, since he has nothing to sit on and nothing to grab in front of him.
Carrying your baby forward is not the best option. Of course, this cannot be called an irresponsible attitude towards a child, but you cannot call such a position safe either. Hugging a child or carrying him so that he can hug you (for example, when you carry him on your back) is more familiar and natural for the baby.
Prone position: WHY you shouldn’t do it
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Many spears were broken around the prone position. Because many children aged 2.5 — 6 months, who have been «showed» this position on their hands at least once, begin to clearly prefer this position to others. Proponents of wearing facing away from themselves argue that the child learns the world around him in this way, which means that it should be worn that way. Opponents argue that the child experiences psychological overload, finds himself in an emotional vacuum (does not see the mother’s face and her reaction to the world around her), and in general, the connection with the mother is so violated, because she “turns” the child away from herself. Both arguments are strong enough to drive a young mother into a stupor: but how is it necessary? Limit the child in the knowledge of the world or risk overloading his psyche? Choose what the child requires or do as the lingo consultant advises?
A child around three months of age begins to see things around him more clearly. It’s so exciting and interesting that even when in a bad mood, he calms down, as soon as he turns his face to the big world, to these amazing things that suddenly became visible. Parents use this position more and more often, the child begins to demand it. When he grows up, he will also demand cartoons, but as for cartoons, parents know for sure that it’s harmful to watch them for a long time, but they don’t have such an idea about facing forward. However, the parallel is more than obvious. Doctors and psychologists from different countries draw the attention of parents to this. Psychologist Anna Lapshina, Russia: «Many parents believe that carrying a small child in a position facing away is interesting and safe for him. However, this is not entirely true. The fact is that when a child is constantly facing the world, an unlimited a stream of impressions. … Prolonged wearing in a position facing the world is akin to a child’s unlimited access to a computer or TV.» Dr. Evelin Kirkilionis, Germany: «The child will directly encounter a huge mass of impressions. Our babies have yet to learn to distinguish the important from the insignificant details, to ignore unnecessary information. An infant who is carried in this way does not have the opportunity to filter impressions, hide from them; he is doomed to overexcitation, which will lead to sleep problems. It only seems that the baby needs and is pleased to have such an overview. But the flow of information cannot run out at the very moment when the baby gets tired of it, and the child himself in this position does not have the opportunity to hide» .
However, the reaction to increased mental stress is not always obvious, because different children endure it differently. Therefore, it is not at all necessary that a child who is carried a lot in his arms facing forward will roll up evening concerts or sleep worse. But it is noticeable that when the child is facing away from the adult, the center of gravity of the adult is greatly shifted. Therefore, the heavier the child, the more the adult’s shoulders will be and the upper back will be rounded, and the lower back will sag. Over time, the parent develops a habitual “question mark” type posture. Moms who wore a lot face forward can be seen right away. In addition, the shift in the center of gravity is also an additional load on the hip joints and feet of the parent.
Now about the child. When we wear facing towards us, the baby’s back is rounded. This allows the intervertebral discs of the baby to work at full strength and absorb your steps.
We adults have four curves of the spine, our spine is shaped like an S, and these curves are what cushion the steps in adults. And in children, the spine is more like the letter C, the bends are formed gradually, and therefore it is best to cushion the intervertebral discs in a rounded position. Straighten the spine — the intervertebral discs will flatten, their ability to absorb shock will decrease sharply. In the forward facing position, the spine is straightened and even arched back, i.e. intervertebral discs are additionally compressed.
Oh, and legs. The knees should not be lower than the hip joint, and in the prone position, they are usually worn so that the legs hang down. The knees should be higher than the priests, only then the load is transferred from the sacrum of the child, which should not be loaded until independent sitting, on the hips supported by hands or a sling, and the body of the parent, since in a position with raised knees the child lies on the parent with the upper body.
Therefore, we recommend retraining the child to the facing position. If he is indignant, it is necessary to replace the position facing him with alternative postures.
Parent’s opinion (from an online discussion): «A child at 3-4-5 months old becomes bored of sitting facing the parent, and turning his head in this position is not very convenient. And he begins to fidget, break out and get nervous. And if he sits from himself, he begins to dig into the surrounding reality and enjoy life. Well, it turns out that at 3-4-5 months, parental work begins. It is inconvenient to turn the head, but it is useful for the development of the muscular corset. Vegetables are tasteless, but good for peristalsis. Learning the rules of good manners is not interesting, but it is useful for social adaptation. Sometimes you have to choose between useful and convenient, tasty, interesting. Parents put the child on the tummy, even if he protests. Because it is useful, including for the development of the muscles of the back and neck. Turning your head is no less useful for the development of these muscles. There are positions that allow the child to look around, but not overload the parent’s back and not wean from the position facing the parent.
1. On the shoulder. The best alternative to the forward facing position for a child who is not holding his head yet. the child is pressed to the mother by the tummy and at the same time looks around.
2. On the thigh, from the age when he holds his head. Also the best alternative.
3. High cradle. The child’s head lies under your collarbone, and not in the bend of the elbow, hold the thigh with one hand, the forearm and shoulder support the back and buttocks. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo in my arms in a high cradle, there is only a normal one, in a high cradle, the head is just under your collarbone, and not like here, and the child immediately becomes more compact.
In the sling with rings, here is the instructions for the high bassinet. The same can be done in a scarf. But read the note, this pose is not for extended wear!
4. Position-interruption: change the angle for a short time or intercept from position to position.
That is, instead of one position on your hands, you can give the child three and alternate them when he starts to get nervous and fidget in one of them, which, believe me, is much more useful for the child and for the adult. If you still occasionally wear your face away from you after all these positions, then accustom yourself to do it as shown in the photo below, only at home and no more than half an hour a day.
P.S. I would like to draw the attention of parents who choose a kangaroo carrier for a child because of the ability to carry it facing away from you, that one of the largest manufacturers of such carriers, Cybex, recently posted the following information on its website:
« Child under the age of At 6 months old, he really needs visual contact with his mother or father, and when turned to the outside world, he is deprived of this opportunity and begins to worry.