A lot of clients are unsure of when they can start using a sling or carrier with their new baby and like a lot of things when it comes to carrying... it depends! The short answer is, as soon as you want to. For the long answer... read on.
Vaginal vs C-Section Delivery
Contrary to popular belief, the way in which your baby arrives doesn't dictate when you can start using a sling or carrier with your baby. Recovery times for every individual are different and only you know if your body feels ready.
For some people that's within the first hour of giving birth, for others it's two months or more. However, if you're already carrying your baby in your arms as you move around the home - then use a sling or carrier instead as it'll give you your hands back. After my first c-section, I found it easier to wear my baby in a sling or carrier when manoeuvring around rather than trying to carry him in my arms.
I do recommend booking a consultation during the first two weeks following your baby's birth - especially if you have a partner who is on parental leave.
Babies born between 37-42 weeks OR weighing over 3.5kg/7lbs
If your baby was born "full term" or weighed over 3.5kg/7lbs when born then you can use any type of sling or carrier you like!
Many buckle carriers also advertise that they're safe from birth, however depending on how they adjust some are more successful at this than others! Integra Size 1, Mamaruga ZenSling and Ergobaby Embrace are our favourite buckle carriers for newborns.
Ring slings, woven wraps and meh dai carriers are also fantastic for newborns however they take a bit more practice. We recommend hiring before you buy with these ones.
Babies born before 37 weeks OR weighing under 3.5kg/7lbs
If your baby was born "pre-term" or weighed under 3.5kg/7lbs when born then we recommend having a consultation with a carrying professional so we can teach you how best to support your baby as they continue to develop.
Skin to skin (Kangaroo care) is always recommend for early babies to help them develop and grow strong and healthy. Many slings can support you during this time and also be used once they are older. Stretchy wraps and Close Caboos can be used from 4lbs/1.8kg with guidance from a carrying consultant, as well as ring slings and woven wraps.
You can purchase special kangaroo care tops which are great until your baby is 3.5kg/7lbs. These are sized to the user so you will need to buy the right size ones for your body. Meh dai and buckle carriers are not recommended however, their panel size simply won't be able to adjust small enough to support your baby and protect their airways.
Twins and Multiples
For singleton carries, the same as above applies however you also have the option of tandem carrying your babies too. There are special slings and carriers designed for tandem carrying, but you can also use "normal" ones!
Stretchy wraps and Close Caboos can be used for singleton and tandem carrying without the need for retying. Woven wraps are also great for singleton and tandem carries in a variety of positions including both on front, both on the hip and one on the front and one on the back.
The WeeGo Twin carrier is a buckle carrier that can be used from 5.5lbs/2.5kg up to about 6 months old for front carrying only. The MiniMonkey is a buckle carrier that can be used from 5.5lbs/2.5kg up to 12 months for front and hip carrying. The TwinGo can be used from 7lbs/3.5kg with inserts as two separate buckle carriers, then when one baby can sit unaided (around 6 months) they can go on your back and you can use the TwinGo as a tandem carrier with one on the front and one on the back up to age 2-3 clothing.