New parents grapple with many questions as they face the challenge of caring for their infant. One such question is how long can you carry a baby in a carrier. The answer depends on the type of carrier used and the age and size of your baby. Using a carrier is a convenient way to keep the baby close while also keeping up with things around the house, or when traveling, but many parents wonder which type of carrier is best.
Stretchy wraps are some of the most common carriers, often used in the early days of infancy. These wraps tie around the parents' shoulders and waists and support the baby against the chest. Parents often favor these wraps because it keeps the baby in a natural, cuddling position while freeing their hands for other tasks. New parents may wonder how long you can use a baby wrap. Typically these carriers are only recommended for infants up to around 15 pounds. Once your child reaches that size, it's time to consider other baby carriers.
Slings are a natural progression from the baby wraps as they offer more room for your growing infant to move and can support greater weight. Slings are adjustable so you can keep your baby as close to your chest as you'd like, loosening the ties as your child grows and wants more space to move. Slings can be used into toddler years, up to about three years old. However, this does depend on how quickly your child grows and how active your child becomes.
As your baby grows, you may find it easier and more comfortable to use a structured carrier. These padded carriers resemble backpacks and typically offer the option of carrying the baby either forward or backward facing. Soft structured carriers mimic some of the qualities of a wrap while providing more support for the baby's weight. While a few of these carriers can be used for newborns, most are designed for infants who are older and have better control of their heads and neck. Soft structured carriers can typically be used up to around the age of 2.
For older, more active toddlers, a backpack type carrier can be very useful. This allows your growing child to see the world around them better and to move more freely. These types of carriers can be especially helpful on family outings, where you want your child to be able to see well but easier to control. Backpack carriers can be used up to about age 4 or when your toddler becomes heavier than your back and shoulders can comfortably support.
As an alternative to backpacks, parents may opt for hip carriers, such as the Hamas hip seat. The baby carriers from the Hamas hip seat offer the convenience of the soft structured carriers with an added seat that rests on the parent' ship and supports the baby's weight. These seats can take the strain off parents' shoulders and back, while still keeping the baby close.
The best answer to the question of how long you can use a baby carrier is that it largely depends on the baby's weight and parents' comfort. With many options available, parents can find the carrier that works best for them and provides their baby with the comfort of continually being close. With the right carrier, you can plan to use these devices to transport and comfort your baby well into their toddler years.