Back carrying is a brilliant way to extend your babywearing time. It can mean that your babywearing journey can last well into toddler hood, but it can feel daunting to learn especially using a woven wrap. We love helping people to learn back carrying and feel that the best place to do this is at a workshop or during a 1:1 consultation so we can devote lots of focus to learning safely and confidently.
We are often asked during sling meets about back carrying so, here are the top back carrying FAQ’s
- Why should I move onto back carrying?
Back carrying is a really great option (when baby is big enough - see next FAQ) when your baby is more interested in the world and would like a prime view. Moving from parent facing to back carrying allows your baby to have a great view of the world while still being well supported in a deep seated position and offers baby a place to rest their little head (your back) when they get tired or if they feel over-whelmed. It’s fantastic to be able to move onto back carrying when baby is getting bigger, especially handy if you’re struggling to see over baby when front carrying.
Our rule is when baby can sit unaided, at approx. 6 months old. (Sitting unaided meaning that they can be left with no support.) We say this for a couple of reasons; firstly, so that when you are putting baby onto your back they have enough muscle control and strength to hold themselves upright as you pass them onto your back. Secondly, when they are on your back it is super important that they can maintain an upright position rather than slumping down into the sling. As well as baby being ready, you need to feel ready too. I remember when I first started thinking about back carrying with Samuel I didn’t want to do it because I would miss seeing his little face! You don’t have to back carry just because they hit 6 months. When you are both ready any time after that is perfect.
3. What is the easiest way to do it?
Practise practise practise is the easiest answer to that. The first time can feel daunting no matter which sling you are using. A buckle carrier is a nice way to start back carrying as baby can begin already in the carrier starting on your front. Wrapping is awesome when back carrying but just takes a bit longer to learn. The other point to make is that it is easiest to practise back carrying when your baby is in a relaxed mood. It’s really hard to concentrate on what you’re trying to do if baby is not wanting to carried at that moment. Also, if baby starts getting fractious while you are practising, it’s ok to stop. You could even break it down and practise different parts of back carrying for a few moments each day before moving onto the next aspect, giving you and baby the chance to get used to it and get it right.
Try this: -
- Getting baby onto your back with no carrier or sling, repeat this until you are happy. My favourite method is the hip scoot or the superman toss.
- Then try getting baby onto your back with the sling or carrier too.
- Now try making your seat, practise this lots until you are happy with this.
- Now try the rest of the carry.
4. What’s a seat?
This is one of the aspects of back carrying (especially wrapping) which I found the hardest to get right. In both a buckle carrier and a wrap you want to create a nice deep seat for baby to sit in, with the fabric of the wrap or carrier spread from the back of one knee to the other. To achieve this with a buckle carrier you need to get the panel pulled up nice and high. To achieve it with a wrap you need to physically make a seat with the bottom rail of the wrap. Pulling the fabric down and then placing it underneath baby’s bottom. (not tucking, tucking doesn’t do enough to make a deep enough seat).
5. How do I stop my baby popping their seat?
This applies to back wrapping, often to begin with a simple ruck is the is the first back wrap learnt. But it very much relies on getting a good seat. My advice to stop this happening is to try a back carry which has a wiggle proof pass. My favourite at the moment is a back wrap cross carry. This simply stops baby from popping out of the bottom of the wrap as there is a (two in this carry) a pass of fabric that goes over their body and then under the bottom and legs to create a cross.
6. How do I get to my baby?
Hmmm, tricky one – how to put a hat on baby who has thrown it off in a back carry? In the winter I used a warm hat which had a Velcro or popper fastener so Samuel couldn’t escape his hat. Otherwise I just asked someone for help. Bethany was very helpful! I really love the sling mirrors you can get, especially when they are made using the same fabric as a favourite wrap. Clip it onto your sling and then you can see baby.
7. How do I learn more?
Back wrapping and carrying is well worth the time and effort to learn. Carrying a heavy child on your back can be much easier than on your front especially if you’re heading off for a long walk. As I’ve been carrying Samuel since he was born, my back has grown stronger with his growing weight gradually. It meant that this summer, while 33 ish weeks pregnant I could happily carry him in a woven on my back while out for walks when he got tired. But it took me a while to learn to back wrap and certainly to be able to do it with confidence in public. Because there is lots to learn with back wrapping we don’t teach it at sling meets as there isn’t enough space or time to do it justice. You’ll often see experienced back wrappers and peer supporters do amazing back carries though with their little ones at sling meets. We offer workshops specifically for back wrapping and 1:1 consultations are also an ideal time to learn the basics of back wrapping. Give us a shout if you'd like to book onto a workshop or a 1:1 consultation!