While babywearing gives you the freedom to be hands-free to do more while carrying your baby, being hands free doesn’t necessarily mean you can do all the things you’d normally do without baby. It can be easy to forget that there’s a little, vulnerable person tied to you, especially when they’re quiet, content, and maybe even sleeping. But the fact remains that they are still a baby and certain grown-up activities should be done well away from baby. If you wouldn’t normally do an activity with a baby in your arms, it’s probably best avoided
1. Playing Chef
Sometimes cooking while babywearing could seem the only way to get you and your baby fed without having the little one to cry from your separation. However always be mindful of keeping the child well away from anything hot or sharp. This includes ovens, gas stoves (don’t let your wrap tails get caught!), knives, breakable glass, steam, boiling water, microwaves, and more. Avoid cooking while babywearing unless absolutely necessary.
2. Cleaning with Harsh Chemicals
If you use harsh chemicals while cleaning, its best to keep baby out of the room while the fumes disperse. This means no babywearing. However, it might be worth switching to products that are kind to little lungs and skin, so you can babywear and clean with confidence There are plenty of eco-friendly cleaning options out there like simply baking soda and vinegar!
3. Lawn Mowing
If you're lucky to have your partner help you out with this while you take care of the little one, nothing like it! However, for single parents who may be alone with their small child, getting the mowing done AND supervising a baby can be quite the challenge. Some of them may choose to babywear while mowing and/or whipper snipping. It’s best to stick with your instincts here. Your baby will need something to protect their eyes from possible rocks bouncing up, sun protection, and earmuffs to protect their hearing. Once again, if you can, babywearing while mowing the lawn is best avoided.
Although you can buy some fantastic water carriers, like mesh ring slings and meh dais, these are not actually intended for use while swimming. It would be recommended safe to stick with knee-deep water at the beach while babywearing, ensuring that we could easily get up if a wave knocked us over. Swimming and babywearing are not a good mix, because you need full focus on keeping both your heads above the water, which would be very difficult while your baby is in a fixed position, strapped to your body.
5. Bike Riding
If you want to ride a bike with your baby, the safest option is to purchase a baby seat attachment and infant helmet. Toddlers may also ride in a small trailer compartment towed behind your bike. Babywearing while bike riding is illegal in some places. If, however, you live in a culture where this is commonplace, please make your own decision. Its always safer to avoid it though.
6. Lifting Heavy Objects
When you’re already carrying a heavy baby (who you most likely carried inside of you for 9 months), it’s a good idea to avoid heavy lifting. If you’re moving furniture, get someone to mind the baby while you help. Not only is babywearing and heavy lifting dangerous (the potential for falling, dropping things on baby, etc.), but it would put a lot of pressure on postpartum pelvic floor and abdominal region.
7. Climbing Ladders/Unstable Surfaces
If there is any potential for losing your footing, don’t do it while babywearing. This includes ladders, unstable surfaces, rocks, hiking etc. Listen to your body. You know your abilities better than anyone. If you are likely to trip/fall/slip, don’t do it with your baby. Also take care on wet and slippery surfaces, best to avoid them while babywearing.
Never run, exercise, jump on a trampoline, or do any other activity that subjects baby to similar shaking or bouncing motion. “This motion can do damage to the baby’s neck, spine and/or brain,” explains the American Chiropractic Association. Running with your baby in a carrier can lead to something called “shaken baby syndrome”. Their little frames are just not ready for the jolting movements that come with an adult running.
9. Certain exercises
Exercising and babywearing is possible, thanks to some wonderful programs like Kangatraining. However, this program is designed AROUND babywearing and all exercises done are able to be completed if you had your baby in your arms too (basic steps, squats, lunges.. all doable without a carrier!).
Kangatraining is a safe exercise, designed specifically around babywearing!
Do not try babywearing while doing crab walks, tricep dips, weight lifting, or a plank! Those four examples cannot be completed while carrying a baby in your arms and therefore are not safe to do while babywearing either.
Never drive while babywearing. You cannot rely on baby wraps, ring slings or mei-tais to provide the protection that a car seat provides.
Above all, use your instincts. Just because an activity IS or ISN’T listed here, doesn’t mean it’s okay or not for you. Your situation (and your cultural heritage) may tell you otherwise, and that’s fine. Try to see this list of activities as examples of what you should probably avoid, and always listen to your mum-tuition.
Wish you safe babywearing!