Baby on Board! Babywearing While Pregnant, part 1

Sabrina Bump

Baby on Board is a 3-part series about babywearing while pregnant. This first part will address babywearing in the first and early second trimester, up until about 15/16 weeks. It will feature yours truly, currently 17 weeks pregnant with #2, as well as several other currently and previously pregnant Tucson BWI members.

Before we begin, a caveat. I am not a medical professional and this is not to be taken as, or over, medical advice. If you have any questions regarding the safety of babywearing on your particular body while pregnant, I strongly encourage you to ask your doctor, midwife, or chiropractor. More to the point, if your care provider cautions you against babywearing (front, side, back, or all) please listen to them.

Bear in mind that babywearing while pregnant follows the same guidelines as babywearing while not pregnant: Listen to your body, respect the feedback (aches and pains), and don’t be afraid to modify for your specific needs (which may change daily).

There are a few physiological changes that pregnant women need to be aware of, as they will affect how you babywear.

  1. Relaxin – that wonderful hormone that prepares the body for labor and delivery loosens the joints and other soft tissues. May be great for getting into some yoga poses, but it also means that your soft tissue is much more prone to injury. Things that didn’t hurt before, may start to hurt now. If that is the case, it’s your body telling you “please don’t do that,” and time to take a break or try a modification. Pay extra attention to your back, hips, and knees. For moms who back wear, the motions of the hip scoot or superman toss may be too much. Consider alternative ways to getting a baby on your back.
  2. The added weight of the pregnancy – For those pregnant and wearing a toddler (or beyond), it’s important to remember that your body is carrying the 20+ lbs of the older child as well as any additional weight from the pregnancy. This can put a lot of stress on your body and you may find you need to modify carries, carriers, or duration of babywearing. Just be aware of what your body can do.

Now on to the fun stuff: Babywearing in the first and early second trimester.

This is the phase when you might be praying to the porcelain god, so exhausted you can barely peel yourself off the couch, and rocking the baby bloat instead of the bigger baby “bump”. Fellow Tucson BWI member Meg writes, “I hardly wore at all the first few weeks I was pregnant. Between feeling nauseous, exhausted and hot and clammy all the time, I could hardly stand it. I am 15 weeks now and i would say around 10 weeks-ish I was more up for wearing.”

photo

The limits of my babywearing from week 6 to about week 10.

But once you start feeling better, or if you are one of those lucky people who doesn’t get morning sickness,  it’s also the time when babywearing is least limited, at least by the baby bump. For the most part, babywears can continue to wear carriers front, side, and back as they would were they not pregnant. (Though, my nauseous self could not fathom the thought of standing, much less babywearing.)  At this point in a pregnancy, the uterus is under or just above the pubic bone, a spot generally not impeded by babywearing. If it feels good, do it!

That being said, there are some modifications that may make things more comfortable, especially if the famed first-trimester bloat makes your midsection uncomfortable.
Hip Carries!Meg RS 1

Hip carries in a ring sling, woven wrap or pouch sling eliminate any sort of waist band on the abdomen. You may need to position your kiddo so they are off your stomach, but this is generally pretty easy to do by shifting them further to the side. Hip carries that don’t wrap around the waist, such as robozo carries, HCC and Robin’s hip carry, may be more comfortable than hip carries that also tie around the waist. (I’ll note that in my case, hip carries were the first ones I had to drop. Between the 26# toddler and the loose ligaments, it puts too much pressure on my back and hips.)
Meg (about 16 weeks) writes, “I also still comfy in a RS for quick trips. Her leg just kind goes above my bump. We haven’t been wrapping much, mostly because neither of us have the patience right now. She tolerates being up if it’s quick and I can get her comfy without a lot of fuss.”

Meg RS2

Although hidden in part by the tail, you can see that the toddler is positioned just off the baby bump.

Back Carries! Because there are several options, I’ll break this down into carrier type:

Back carries in a SSC or MT – Consider playing around with the positioning of the waist band. I find I like a higher back carry with the waist band on my natural waist. Others prefer to wear low and snug. Try each out and see what works – but keep in mind you’ll have to readjust the shoulder straps and sternum/chest clip when you reposition the waist on your body.

photo 1

13.5 weeks, you can see the waist band fastened high at my natural waist.

Back carries in a woven wrap. Here, the possibilities are endless. Short back carries or back carries w/ no waist pass are great. Some examples are: Ruck tied at Side, RRRR, Jordan’s Half Back Carry, Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder. Candy cane chest belts and tying Tibetan will become your friend. (note, I found my breasts were too tender to handle some of the chest belts).

photo 2

Double Hammock with a Candy Cane chest belt: plenty of room for the bump at 16 weeks, and support for the toddler on back.

IMG_5211

Double Rebozo Shoulder-to-Shoulder, tied under bum (14 weeks).

Meg WCMT

Meg in a wrap conversion mei tai, tied Tibetan to keep the waist band off of the bump.

On the other hand, waist and chest passes often provide much needed support for heavier toddlers. In many cases, a carry can be modified to tie above the belly. For example, Double Hammock (tied above bump or under bum), Ruck tied above the bump, Shepherd’s Carry, Christina’s Ruckless.

Sabrina DHTUB

Double Hammock, tied under bum.

Sabrina Ruck

Ruck, tied in front.

Front carries! As long as they are comfortable, front carries are fine at this phase in pregnancy. At 13 weeks I could easily wear my 26# 2 year old on the front in a Tula, and in the FWCC. At 15 weeks, I prefer to have him on my back.

Sabrina shares, “Love this one can’t see bump but was comfy for a few minutes”.

Sabrina FWCC

Half Front Wrap Cross Carry.

What are your favorite babywearing tips for the first trimester? Share them in the comments below! And stay tuned for Part 2: The second trimester.

Peace, love and babywearing,

Kelly

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