Best Baby Carrier for Newborns
Many of Australia's babies carried in a baby carrier will be so from birth.
The Fertile Mind 2017 Babywearing in Australia survey found that 92% of expecting parents planned to use a baby carrier or sling.
68% of respondents said they would begin or had begun using their baby carrier from newborn age and 25% said from 1-3 months of age.
Very few respondents answered that they would begin to use a baby carrier from the time their baby was 6 months of age, suggesting that baby carrier use is primarily for very young infants.
Some respondents commented that their baby was premature, so there was consideration around weight limits being too high or needing hospital clearance to use a baby carrier or sling with their premature baby.
Stretchy wraps such as the Hug-a-Bub classic pocket wrap or the Hug-a-Bub lightweight wrap are considered by experts as ideal for newborns, and I’ll explain why in a moment.
First, here’s a relevant comment from the survey respondent:
“I wish I’d known about Hug-a-Bub style carriers when I had a newborn. Only discovered the miracle that is a happy worn baby at a few weeks old.”
And, that’s the key. A newborn baby is very dependent on their parent, and require constant monitoring and attention. Newborns are not keen on being set down, and every parent quickly realises that keeping their new baby content and snuggled close to them is the solution to a positive parenting journey.
However, newborn babies can’t just be plonked into any baby carrier.
Consideration for their safety is paramount, and the combination of a curled up body, a lively startle reflex, soft and pliable cartilage hips and a floppy head make for some challenges in getting the newborn carrier choice right.
Baby carriers that have a quite firm outer shell, a padded exoskeleton body if you will, are quite fixed in shape. Depending on their size and the size of the carrier, a newborn, in one of these types of front pack carriers, may have quite a bit of space around their body. This might appear to be nice for air flow, however it actually runs the risk of the baby curling up unsupported inside the roomy space.
A Hug-a-Bub wraps tightly over that baby’s entire body firmly, keeping their healthy natural convex back curve, but supporting the back to ensure there is no slumping down.
Why do you want your newborn baby to be firmly supported through their back and bottom? To keep a good breathing framework, and allow the airways to remain open. It prevents baby’s chin from slumping down onto baby’s chest, ensuring there is a nice clear airway.
Safe baby carrying for newborns also require that baby is carried high up on the wearer’s body. You may have seen the “Close enough to kiss” safety brochures and marketing, and “Kissable and Visible” campaign from the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (of which I am a long-time member).
This is so you can observe your baby’s vital signs. Newborn babies are wholly dependent on your careful attention to their needs and wellbeing. A great way to monitor your baby while getting on with your day is to have them within kissing reach up on your body.
A Hug-a-Bub in cool organic cotton does allow for this long-term usage with your infant. The breathable and chemical-free fabric can be worn for hours at a time with comfort and freedom. Many parents report that they will use a baby carrier for up to 5 hours at a time when their baby was a newborn, with usage scaled down as the baby aged.
Some comments from parents illustrate this:
“When my son was a baby (I wore him) almost all day, now he’s 2 not so much. I’m assuming the next one will be all day for a period.”
“When newborn, it was more like 3-5 hours, now older it’s less.”
“Initially all day, but now only when I go walking or school pick up”
“More than 5 hours when he was under 6 months”
“When out and about it could be all day.”
“My son is super clingy”
“If I’m travelling sometimes more than 5 hours per day.”
Certainly, 5 hours or more of use would constitute “wearing” your baby. And, if you’re going to wear your baby, something that approximates the comfort of a soothing cotton garment is going to be the most comfortable.
Hip healthy baby carrier for newborns is particularly important.
Those cartilage hips will gradually turn into bone, and you want to make sure that the hip forms a sturdy and reliable ball and socket joint.
The simplest way to ensure a good position for a newborn is to allow them to be carried in their natural shape when you bring them to your chest. They will bunch up into a frog-style shape with their legs bent up, knees as high as their belly button.
Using a baby carrier that allows or forces the legs to stretch out or dangle is not optimal for this important bone development stage for most infants, and may have ramifications down the track.
The way the Hug-a-Bub wraps around a newborn on the body allows baby to stay in their exact optimal shape, as the stretch cotton fabric shapes over and around the shape and maintains that position. That’s why babies can be happy as anything for hours at a time (allowing for nappy changes and feeds of course).
Smell, sight and touch play a part here, so ensure baby can see you, smell you and hear your heartbeat against their skin. They feel safe and calm when they physically feel you close. It’s a natural connection key to Hug-a-Bub’s long success.
Finally, a newborn carrier must be machine washable and able to be tumble dried. Washing your Hug-a-Bub will reinvigorate the semi-stretchiness, allowing you to enjoy the most popular baby carrier for newborns for longer.