If you’ve just had your baby or you’re due to in the near future, then it makes sense to start thinking about how you are going to carry your baby when you're out and about. Alongside prams, baby carriers are immensely practical and popular with the baby front carrier being one of the most widely used methods of carrying your baby. With no complicated trying to be done like some slings, they offer a simple and safe way of carrying them that keep them safe, contented, secure, as well as properly supported.
What Are Front Carriers?
Compared to slings, which are generally a piece of material tied in such a way to create a way of carrying your child, a front carrier is a more structured product that lets your baby sit in a safe and secure position on the front of your body. Front carriers may be made of a stretchy fabric to keep your baby in position or they may have adjustable straps, which also allow you to use it when your baby gets a little bit bigger.
They are a popular and safe way of carrying your baby and many mothers, fathers and other people who care for babies use them across the UK and beyond.
The Advantages of Front Carriers
As one of the most popular methods of carrying babies, there are a great many advantages to purchasing a front carrier for use either at home or further afield.
Great for Health and Fitness
When you are a new mother, it can be tough to find the time to exercise and shift some of the weight that you may have put on during pregnancy. Getting out and about in the great outdoors with your baby strapped into your front carrier is a great way of spending time with your baby and burning some calories walking with the extra weight of your baby. Because they offer a more 'structured' carry than a sling, they are generally more comfortable to use over longer distances – although really, this just comes down to personal preference.
Practical for Busy Places Where Space is Limited
Over time, shops and other places have become a lot more ‘baby friendly’ and most usually have room to manoeuvre a pram. However, not all of them do, which means a front baby carrier can be immensely useful if you’re going somewhere where space is at a premium and it would be impractical to take a pram.
Babies and Toddlers Appreciate the Security
Compared to some forms of baby slings which are less 'structured', front carriers can give babies and especially toddles that little bit more security than a more traditional sling can give. Especially as toddlers can be a little bit more ‘restless’ than newborns.
Front Carriers Help You Bond with Your Baby
Compared to back carriers, in which your baby effectively sits on your back, front carriers promote a closeness between parent and child because they are constantly in view of each other. Bonding in these early months is crucial, and front carriers can help to achieve this.
Front Carriers Help Other Members of the Family Bond with Baby
As well as helping mum and dad to bond with the baby by wearing them close, front carriers can also be used by grandma, grandad and anyone else who cares for the baby. Being close helps baby get used to their voice, heartbeat, movement, and facial expressions. Cuddling up so close promotes a close bond that will hopefully last a lifetime.
The Disadvantages of Front Carriers
Despite their many advantages, there are a few disadvantages to consider when it comes to front carriers.
They Take Practice
Whilst most front carriers are really easy to use (especially when you buy them from a recognised and reputable manufacturer), some people can find them difficult to use at first. They’re not especially difficult to put together, but it can take some practice to put your baby in and take them out with ease. Generally though, once you’ve practiced it a few times it becomes second nature, so the best thing to do it just perservere!
They’re Not as Flexible as More Traditional Baby Slings
Front carriers only allow you to carry your baby in one position, which is on the front of your body. Some people, however, prefer a bit more flexibility with the option to move the baby to a different position. More traditional slings offer this option, allowing you can carry your baby on your front, on your back, and on your hip, however, with front carriers, you are limited to the one position.
They May Not Have as Much Longevity as Other Carriers
Front carriers may not be suitable for when your baby gets a little bit older, as they may want that little bit more freedom of movement that the other types of carriers offer. The optimum time of use for front carriers is between the ages of one month and eight months, which is really quite a short time period.
If you buy your front carrier from a reputable and reliable manufacturer then you can rest assured that you have a carrier that is perfectly safe to use and one that your baby will love to use. However, you should be aware that there are always risks with baby carriers. With front carriers, the main risk is that if you should be so unfortunate as to fall, you could potentially fall onto your baby. For this reason, you should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to the letter and ideally, keep your hands free. This should enable you to catch yourself should you fall.
Front Carriers Aren’t Always Practical if You Have More Than One Baby
If you have more than one baby, front carriers aren’t always that practical, even though there are some available for twins. Firstly, it can be difficult getting two babies sat comfortably in the front carrier and as they get older (and heavier), the weight can place a strain on your shoulders, neck and back. A back carrier is generally more suitable for carrying older, heavier babies.
How to Use a Front Carrier Safely
- You should only use a front carrier with your baby that is manufactured by a known, reputable manufacturer. This way, you can be assured it has been through and passed all the relevant safety checks.
- You should always follow the manufacturer's instructions when setting it up and using it.
- Never use your front carrier outside of the baby's age and weight limits. These recommendations are there for reason and failure to do so could put your baby’s safety at risk.
- Always keep checking on your baby and make sure that they are comfortable and contented.
- Don’t use a front baby carrier for long periods of time.
- Try as much as you can to keep your hands free at all times when using a baby front carrier in case you trip and fall. With your hands free, you can catch yourself and keep your baby safe.
Where to Buy a Front Carrier
Front carriers should only be bought from reputable retailers, such as the ones listed below: