Lots of people come to the Sling Library with their own carriers, to ask for help in getting more comfortable, & over time we see the same issues cropping up, so here’s some info that might help.
Fixed Position Straps
This style of carrier has a plastic square at the back, that the straps pass through (think BabyBjorn Original/Mini, Chicco EasyFit & more). One of the most important things to remember with this style of carrier is that, despite the name, the straps on these carriers are NOT fixed. You can move the plastic square up & down on the straps to make the carrier more comfortable. Lots of people find that by moving the crossed section lower, it spreads the weight more effectively & makes the carrier more comfortable. Having the crossed section high on your back, can cause the weight to be placed mainly on your shoulders & upper back, which can become uncomfortable over time, & as baby gets heavier. Play with the height of this little plastic square, moving it up & down until you find your “sweet spot”. Lots of people find that the sweet spot is between, or just below, the shoulder blades – see what you think.
You may also find you need to lift your baby. You want the carrier to hold your baby exactly where you would hold them, but allow you to be handsfree! When you put your carrier on, if your baby is lower than you would naturally hold them, their weight will pull away from you, which will pull on your shoulders & may cause pain in your neck, shoulders & lower back. If you lift your baby to a more natural position & tighten the straps to hold them there, you should find you are more comfortable.
Look at the pictures above. The top two pictures show the crossed section high on the back, with the baby sitting uncomfortably low. The bottom two show the crossed section much lower, with the baby lifted up & straps tightened.
These carriers tend to be optimised for babies around 0-3 months, after which people may begin to look for a carrier that is a little more supportive. If that’s you, do get in touch or come along to a workshop or consultation.
One of the most common issues that people come to the sling library with is a Stretchy Wrap that doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. The problem often originates from the instructions given by the manufacturer. If you are aiming to carry a newborn, think about where you would carry them – it’s usually high up on your chest. If your first horizontal layer of the wrap marks where you want to carry your baby, then it needs to go high up on your chest. Lots of instructions say to start by placing the wrap at your waist. This can lead to a slack wrap & the baby being held too low on your body. You may feel that the baby’s weight pulls away from you & causes pain in your back or shoulders, or that you are not confident to let go of the baby & feel like you need to hold on.
Look at the differences in the pictures below. The top two pictures show a low starting point for the wrap, with the baby ending up too low & too loose. The pictures underneath that show how high the wrap can really go, to hold a newborn high & snug on your chest.
If you need more help with a stretchy wrap, try this video from our YouTube channel. Stretchy wraps can be fantastic for up to 3-6 months of age. If you’re considering moving on from a stretchy wrap & you’d like to try some different options, you may wish to join our Bigger Baby Workshop, Intro to Woven Wraps, Carrying Clinic or book a 1 to 1 Consultation.
Chest Clip/Rucksack Straps
Lots of carriers have rucksack style, or straight straps, with a chest clip that does up behind the wearer. If you’re anything like me, you may not have the flexibility to get the clip done up behind you, unless it’s quite close to your neck, which can be uncomfortable. Wearing the clip lower on your back can be more comfortable. These clips can usually slide up & down the straps, do this until you find your sweet spot.
Once you’ve found a comfortable place for your chest strap, try this as an alternative way to put this style of carrier on:
1 – Do the chest clip up, in front of you, where it’s easy to see
2 – Lengthen both shoulder straps,
3 – Smooth the carrier up over baby’s bottom & back,
4-Lift the chest clip over your head,
5-Put your arms up through the straps, like putting them into a jumper & then tighten them.
To take the carrier off again, reach the strap behind you, in a similar way to reaching a bra strap, or loosen the straps & take it off by reversing the steps above.
Hopefully, that helps. If you’d like to come to a workshop or one to one session, either with a carrier you already have, or to try a few of the Library’s options, you can find & book sessions here. You can see our available slings & carriers here.