Just like anything new, learning how to use your baby carrier for the first time, or with a new wrapping method, will take some practice! We've put together some tips on how you can practice using your baby carrier before putting your real baby in there!
Take the time to familiarise yourself with your baby carrier - learn what each section/part is called and get to know which way is up! Be sure to read the instructions, safety guidelines and warning statements before using your baby carrier - the more prepared you are, the easier it will be to use your baby carrier in all situations. Find a nice comfy place to practice using your baby carrier - such your bedroom or loungeroom (not out in public for the first time). You can also practice using your baby carrier while sitting down or over your bed/couch.
Be sure to practice using your baby carrier BEFORE you put your baby in it! Your baby may grizzle and get upset the first time you put them in their baby carrier, which could make you flustered. This is very normal - anything new for your baby is a bit daunting. It's therefore very important that you feel confident and comfortable on how to use your baby carrier before you bring your baby into the equation.
You can use the following items as a "baby substitute" when practicing:
NOTHING: You actually don't need to put anything in the carrier when you practice, just wrap it snuggley around you as per the instructions.
CUSHION: Use a small square or rectangular cushion. If you can, unzip the cushion and insert a 1-3kg weight to give it a bit more substance - such as a sealed bag of rice or flour.
BALLOON: A blown up balloon is a great baby substitute! They can be a bit wiggley and fiddely like a real baby and you can see clearly how you can never really over-tighten your carrier.
TEDDY or DOLL: Unlike cushions, teddies and dolls tend to have arms, legs and heads, so these make it easier to practice getting baby legs and arms in the right spots in the baby carrier.
DEMO DOLL: There are special dolls that are designed to be babywearing demo dolls - they are weighted and have bendy arms and legs.
BIG KID: Sometimes, practicing with a toddler or big kid can be easier than practicing with a new baby. A toddler can hold on, they'll (hopefully) listen to instructions, and they can tell you how it feels.
USE A CARRIER: If you have a structured carrier and your new carrier can be fitted over the top of it (such as our Knitted Stretchy Wrap), wear the structured carrier first and then wrap over it - bubs won't go anywhere & you'll get good practice.
TEACH SOMEONE ELSE: Instructing someone else how to use acarrier (with a doll) is a good way to help you remember the steps inputting on your carrier. Verbalising how to do something to someone else is harder than it seems!
EXTRA HELPER: Once you are ready to wear your own baby in thecarrier, have someone else spot-check you and support you as you wrap. They can keep an eye on your baby while you concentrate on perfecting that wrapping.
After a feed
After a clean nappy
After a sleep