Christina Soletti on May 17, 2012

The Back Carry: Safe, Easy & Practical

Back wearing, also known as Back Carrying, seems to elicit both interest and a little bit of fear from baby wearing parents.  While Back Carrying is one of the most liberating types of carries–it enables you to be hands free and keep the baby safely from whatever you are doing–it seems to be one of the most daunting carries for parents.  Back Carrying allows the parent to perform many tasks that would otherwise be difficult with a baby on the front.

Of course, as with any carry, there are safety precautions, but when followed, the Back Carry can become an indispensible tool in the babywearer’s toolkit–grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, dishes, trips to the farmer’s market, for example–all become so much easier with the Back Carry!  This is also an ideal carry for the baby to play or really observe the world around her.

Historically, Back Carrying has been an essential part of life in many parts of the world.  In many cultures, it allowed mothers to work while still tending to baby. Parents adapted the carry using a variety of materials, depending on the climate, the task at hand, and what was available to them.  Thankfully today, carriers such as the soft structured carrier  (SSC) allow a simple and easy way for the parent to practice this carry.

With SSC’s it is recommended that the Back Carry is the third carry you attempt, and only once the baby is able to sit up on his or her own.  Because Back Carrying centers the baby on the parent’s hips, the weight is easier to bear.  A soft structured carrier is ideal for a Back Carry, as it supports the baby’s legs in a natural seated position.

A few tips for Back Carrying with a soft structured carrier (SSC), such as the ERGObaby:

-  To avoid injury when learning to place your baby in the carrier, do so over a bed or other cushioned surface or with the help of another person.

-  Back carries should only be used when your baby has a strong and consistent head and neck control, and hips and legs open naturally into a spread position.

-  Tighten shoulder straps to secure baby close to your body.  If baby is hanging away from body or you feel it necessary to compensate for baby’s weight, then tighten shoulder straps more.  But be sure not to over-tighten, baby should feel snug but still be able to move.

-  Baby should be centered in the carrier.  Some bouncing up and down, while pulling carefully on one leg and the opposite side of the carrier, can be helpful in adjusting baby’s position in carrier.

-  If carrier seems to ride lower on baby’s back, pull up on shoulder straps and bounce slightly to encourage baby’s weight to fall farther towards the waist belt.  This is very important:  baby should be sitting fully in the pouch.

Ultimately, carrying your child will allow for extended bonding while allowing the parent the ability to manage and accomplish daily tasks, as well as venture to out into the world. Carrying your little one on your back, rather than on the front, at the farmer’s market for example, can be quite liberating.  Imagine how much easier it will be to pick up that bag of oranges with your baby safely and securely on your back, while she is still able to take in all the sights and sounds around her!  While babywearing allows for both closeness and mobility for the parent, the Back Carry can open up an entire world for both baby and parent.

This story, written by Ergobaby, appeared in the May/June 2012 official newsletter of Babywearing International, of whom we are a proud sponsor.  You can see the full version of the newsletter here.

Christina Soletti

Christina is a mama, wife, conservationist, DIY’er, vintage fanatic, dog lover and the senior community manager for Ergobaby.

She is passionate about babies, babywearing, birth, yoga, natural living and healthy eats. When not online reading and writing about all of the above, she can be found spending time with her sweet toddler girl, either outdoors or reading her a book.

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  • Brandy Alley

    I’ve always liked the idea of back carrying but in actual practice I can’t imagine being able to get baby on without dropping him. It is very intimidating!

  • Ida Koller

    I have the “sport” Ergo, and my little one (16 months) finds it VERY restricting when she is on my back. In fact, she hates it. And somehow it also causes my hips to ache terribly. I have used the classic model (a borrowed one) before and that was WAY easier… do you have any tips as to a way this would be more comfortable for her and me without having to buy a whole new carrier? 

  • Jessica Cook

    @facebook-100000712793249:disqus  Lay the carrier on the bed put baby on it, with the shoulder straps loose. and then buckle the wait strap and lean back to pull up the shoulder straps pulling baby up slowly. I only do it that way, either from a bed or while sitting on the couch. There is also a utube video I saw once of something doing it from having the baby on the ground. super easy. :)

  • layla

    If I am by myself, I place the carrier an the bed, daughter in the “seat” and lean back to get her situated and it on correctly. If I have someone with me to help, I get the waste-belt on, get the arms half on, and my helper puts my daughter in the pouch.  We call it “riding mommy” or sometimes the pack-mule :)  Works great for hiking!

  • Donna

    I start off with the front carry, slip my arms out, swing my little one around to the back, put my arms back in and then tighten all the straps. I love the back carry, and can only manage it with an Ergo!

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  • Victoria Parson Smith

    I thought the instructions given in the DVD were quite good. I’ve been putting babies on my back for seven years with the ergo. You start them young, then they start helping you.