Baby Carrier Fitness Safety Considerations
When is it safe to start baby carrier exercise? What exercises should you stay away from when getting fit while baby wearing? What ages are appropriate for baby carrier workouts?
We all love toting our little ones around town in the baby carriers. It’s great for bonding. Doesn’t it seem like all our bundles of joy want to do is be close? Hear our familiar voice? Smell our familiar smell? Feel our familiar movements? So sweet! They were growing inside our bodies for 9 months. It’s easy to understand why baby-wearing is so great for both mom and baby.
You’ve probably done some light house cleaning with baby in a wrap, sling or carrier… But have you thought about doing light exercise while baby-wearing? While getting back in shape after having Brooks, I have had a lot of success while exercising with him in the baby carrier. We would do a coastal walk around Sydney where I live almost daily. And as I started feeling ready for light weighted activities, I continued using the carrier for exercise. Great combination! I’m excited to share the exercises with you!
I have just launched a new online fitness membership for women called, Strong Sexy Mammas. We were lucky enough to get some international coverage on the number one cable morning show in the world, Fox and Friends. Check it out!! Some of the workouts include babies into the exercises. Others do not. We cover strength, cardio, HIIT, stretching, pelvic floor lifts, etc. My motivating classes are meant to not only help you slim down, but boost your mood.
I am merging my online following and local fitness community in Sydney (from the group exercise classes I teach) to help moms get their groove back physically and emotionally after having kids. I teach ‘Mums and Bubs’ classes in Bondi Beach at BUF Girls and Speedo Fitness Club. I see how much fitness empowers my participants during this transitional stage in life. Becoming a mother is amazing, but also challenging and frustrating at times. It can be hard when we look in the mirror after giving birth and not recognizing the body we see. It is an incredible body. We birthed a tiny human for crying out loud! We should honor that body. Give it the time it needs to heal, and then begin an exercise regimen appropriate for our specific needs. I am an AFAA certified fitness instructor (with some additional ACE postnatal education), motivator, and fit girlfriend by your side, not a medical expert.
Under the Strong Sexy Mammas ‘Mamma Wellness Tips’ tab, I am using my journalism background to help you hear from an array of medical experts. I have a lot of interviews with women’s health professionals here that I hope you find helpful. Are you curious about safety considerations for involving baby in exercise? Read on to hear from my favorite baby carrier company, LÍLLÉBABY. You will also hear from a doctor.
ANNA: How does gentle exercising while baby wearing foster bonding between mammas and their little ones?
LÍLLÉBABY: Light exercise or yoga is a great way to keep moving even during the busy newborn months. Using a carrier and practicing skin to skin while working on breathing techniques and relaxation stretches of yoga is a wonderful way to get the oxytocin flowing! Babies in the 4th trimester (the period after birth) want to be held constantly and using a carrier can make this an easier transition to the world for the baby, as well as an easier transition for the new parent who still wants to maintain their pre-baby lifestyle.
ANNA: What ages can parents use carriers? Infants? Toddlers?
LÍLLÉBABY: The COMPLETE carrier has a weight range of 7-45lbs and our toddler/preschool CarryOn goes up to 60lbs. With 6 different wearing positions (for the COMPLETE), you can adjust how you wear your child as they get bigger.
ANNA: Is it safe to exercise using baby carriers? Anything we should stay away from? What do doctors say?
LÍLLÉBABY: We always recommend checking with your health care provider before beginning any sort of exercise post-partum (with or without your baby!) However, low impact workouts can be a great way to stay active and involve your little one! Steer clear of any activity that could jostle, bounce or potentially injure baby.
ANNA: What baby carrier safety tips do we need to know for infants?
LÍLLÉBABY: Always keep baby visible and kissable. We always tell parents to keep baby’s head up near the wearers collarbone so their airways is always visible. Infants younger than 6 months always need to face the caregiver. For the wearer, always always always bend at the knees and avoid bending at the waist. Also note that infants are not able to regulate their body temperature. Dress in light, breathable clothing and take breaks if you or baby get overheated.
ANNA: How about older babies?
LÍLLÉBABY: Babies older than 6 months can be face out or face in or out (as long as they are able to support their head/neck). If attempting to use the back or hip carry position, the baby must fit the wide seat of the carrier. This means, when the carrier is in the wide seat setting, the child’s legs are able to bend and swing freely at the knee.
ANNA: How about toddlers?
LÍLLÉBABY: Most older children prefer to be on the wearers back for size, comfort and ease of visibility for the wearers (i.e. no big kid heads in your face! ). When wearing a COMPLETE with an older child, clipping the neck support to the shoulder pads will extend the length of the panel of the carrier and provide more support/structure for the child.
ANNA: How long is it safe to keep little ones in the carriers? Does it depend on the activity? What if we are just walking?
LÍLLÉBABY: As long as the wearer and baby are both comfortable! There’s no set time limit. If you’re outdoors and it’s warm out, take breaks to allow wearer and baby to cool off, stay in shaded areas and stay well hydrated!
ANNA: Many modern mammas are more fitness conscious than previous generations. Do you think exercising while using baby carriers is a trend that will catch on?
LÍLLÉBABY: Absolutely! There are plenty of babywearing yoga, pilates, barre, and ballet classes. Additionally, dads have been getting in on the action with babywearing exercise and dance classes.
ANNA: Which of the Lille Baby carriers is best for exercise?
LÍLLÉBABY: Any carrier that feels comfortable for both baby and wearer! The COMPLETE is the most adjustable and supportive, but the wrap is also great for smaller infants and the CarryOn is wonderful for toddlers/preschoolers who may start out walking during a nature hike, but end up tired and want to be carried on the way back.
ANNA: Anything you would like to add?
LÍLLÉBABY: We try to use gender neutral terms for wearers rather than reverting to “moms” as the primary wearer. Using “parents” or “caregiver” or even “wearer” is an easy way to make sure the advice is inclusive to all people who choose to wear a baby.
Dr. Gamberg: “There are a few things to be mindful of when involving baby in new exercise. If you are going to use a baby carrier, you need to make sure that your baby’s airway is protected, and that they are not at risk of suffocation. You must check on them often.
A baby starts to have some head/neck control around 6-8 weeks, but much better control around 4-6 months. If you use them as a weight, they must have head control before holding them away from your body without head support. You must also be mindful when placing baby in a sling or carrier, and only place them forward facing once they have full head control.
As your baby grows and becomes heavier, you need to make sure you consider whether this is an appropriate weight for you during exercise. You do not want to hurt yourself and lift too heavy before you are ready.”