Many parents find that wrap-style baby carriers offer a wonderful way to bond with their babies while getting things done. However, along with the bonding benefits and the versatility of these wraps, which grow with the child, wrap-style baby carriers also have a steep learning curve. Learning to wear a baby in front, hip, and back positions helps parents find the most comfortable and useful carrying styles for each stage of their child's growth.
The cradle style positions a baby in a reclined position, much as they would be in a parent's arms. The key is creating a pocket in the baby wrap by folding it in half lengthwise. It then crosses over one shoulder, around the back, and to the front again to secure the baby to the parent's chest. Keeping the baby sling tight is the key to a safe carry, and the baby should never be loose enough to swing away from the body if the parent bends over.
The front style for slightly older babies has them in an upright position, facing the parent. In the simplest possible carrying style, the baby sits in a pocket made in the woven wrap. The two sides of the baby wrap sling—called rails—pass over the parents' shoulders, cross the back in an "X", and come back to the front to tie securely under the child's rear. A more secure version has the sides of woven wrap sling go around the back of the parent under the arms, then cross upwards over the back, cross downwards again across the baby, pass under the baby's legs, and tie in the back.
Back and Hip
Back carries are comfortable for both baby and parent and extremely useful for doing chores. However, they take more practice and experience to wear correctly. A rebozo hip carry, in which the baby carrier holds the baby on one hip and ties at the opposite shoulder, can easily turn into a back carry simply by shifting the baby to the back. Other back carries involve placing the baby in the middle of the wrap, placing both the baby and wrap on the back, and then bringing the rails to the front over the shoulder. The rails then either cross or go straight down like a rucksack and then cross over the back again. Learning to keep the wrap tight as the rails are manipulated one by one takes practice.
Tips for Wearing Wrap-style Carriers
If a wrap-style carrier like the Moby wrap seems impossibly difficult or uncomfortable at first, it may just be a question of practice in correctly tightening the rails. Wearing the baby too low on the body—for example at the height of the abdomen—is uncomfortable and unsafe. Tricks like fanning out the rails over the shoulders when possible helps distribute the weight properly and prevents chafing or soreness.