With pregnancy comes nausea, exhaustion, and obviously a growing bump. Many women ask if it’s possible to carry their older child in a baby carrier or sling whilst pregnant. The answer, in short, is yes. But there are a few important points to keep in mind for safety and comfort.
Firstly, if you have a high-risk pregnancy or an existing health condition, your doctor might advise against babywearing. If you’re not allowed to be up and about or lifting things, chances are babywearing might be unsafe in your situation so check with your care provider first. Otherwise, if you’re experiencing a low-risk & normal pregnancy, and you’re comfortable, you can go right ahead!
If you’ve been carrying your older child for a certain period of time, your body would have developed muscles and resistance to the weight of your child. So continuing carrying as your pregnancy develops isn’t too much of a shock on the body as it will continue gaining strength.
Babywearing while pregnant is fairly simple. Do what feels most comfortable to you, listen to your body, and never restrict your growing baby’s movements in the womb. All doable with hip carries, back carries, and placing your waist belt above or below your bump.
As you go through the trimesters though you will find you have certain obstacles along the way. So let’s have a look at what challenges you might come up against and what style of baby carrier is right for you:
Babywearing during the first trimester
Symptoms in trimester one can include nausea, tiredness, sensitivity, weak bladders and more. If you’re just feeling too off and exhausted, don’t feel guilty about having a break from babywearing and asking your partner or someone else to carry your toddler and give them the cuddles they desire.
In the first trimester you won’t have a bump yet, so how you carry your baby won’t change too much. You can still front carry but you’ll probably find your tummy might be sensitive and you don’t want too much pressure on it.
Some women also find their bladder is quite weak in trimester one, so a hip carry or a back carry might be preferred so there isn’t direct pressure again on the front of your body.
Try: A hip carry in a ring sling, or back carries in a wrap, meh dai, or buckle carrier.
Babywearing in the second trimester
Ahh, the glorious second trimester! Goodbye nausea and hello increased energy! You’ll probably find in this trimester that you do a whole lot more babywearing.
As your bump starts to grow, hip carries will still work great, especially for quick trips with your toddler where you don’t want to do up buckles and adjust overly. Ring slings are super comfortable and some women also find they are perfect if they are wanting to hide their belly or not draw attention to it yet.
For extended outings with babywearing, you’ll find a back carry will likely work best. If using a structured carrier, place the waist belt above or below your bump. It’s all personal preference. I found having it above my bump made me feel sick with the pressure so I loved it underneath. But others find having it too low doesn’t feel comfortable for them. So just try both and see what feels better for you.
As the relaxin hormone increasingly circles throughout your body, be careful with your balance and not overworking yourself. Consciously zip up your core muscles while carrying and if needing to bend, strictly bend at the knees only.
Even though trimester two can have you feeling better, don’t push yourself. A big day with heaps of babywearing can really set you back, so take it as slow and as easy as you can. Each time you’re babywearing, you’re officially tandem-wearing so be careful with yourself.
Try: A back carry in a wrap, meh dai, or buckle carrier with the belt above or below your bump, or continue using a ring sling off-centre or fully on your hip.
Babywearing during the third trimester
Okay, things start getting a bit tricky again here! Bigger bump, more exhaustion, and just feeling a little uncomfortable all over!
Hip carries might start to throw your balance off now so back carries will be best in the third trimester. Keep using a woven wrap, a meh dai, or a buckle carrier with the belt above or below your bump. However, now you might also like to try an Onbuhimo style of carrier which has NO waist belt.
Yes, Onbuhimos are perfect for pregnant women as you can have the front of your body completely free. They are a Japanese style of backpack carrier whereby you perch your toddler up high on your back as if they were up for a piggyback. They are a fantastic, quick and easy-to-use carrier for those short trips here and there.
A symptom you might experience now in trimester three is the lack of lung space as your baby grows inside you and takes up more room. This might start to affect your babywearing so focus on proper deep breathing while carrying your toddler and always remember to listen to your body and not overexert yourself.
If you find yourself struggling to breathe or that it’s just too exhausting to carry your toddler this far into your pregnancy, then just stop and opt for an alternative.
Try: An Onbuhimo or a back carry in a wrap, meh dai, or buckle carrier with the belt above or below your bump.
Some women will be able to use a carrier up until they give birth, others will stop sooner, some might not use one at all. Just do what is best for your body and your baby.
Once you find out you’re expecting your next baby, babywearing with your older child might take on a different light. Soon your attention will be divided and your current ‘baby’ won’t be your baby anymore. So enjoy the special snuggles with them while you have them before your next bubba comes along and requires a lot of your time and attention.
Brooke Maree is a Babywearing Educator & mother of two based in Brisbane. She is passionate about parents finding joy and confidence in their roles by using a baby carrier or sling to make their lives easier. An expert in her field, she provides educational blogs, video tutorials, a monthly podcast, private consultations and workshops. Find out more about her services at Brooke Maree.
For more information visit Buddha Babies.
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