During your first pregnancy, you don’t often have to think about babywearing, as something other than a future possibility. In each subsequent pregnancy, however, you have may still have a child who needs or wants to be worn, and we have some tips for you.
1. Check with your doctor and listen to your body.
If you’re having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, there’s no reason you can’t still wear an older child, just as you would continue any other normal activity. However, if you have any risk factors, you should check with your doctor or midwife. Additionally, if wearing is giving you any pain or contractions, stop doing it, or try something else.
2. Try a hip carry.
Hip carries with woven wraps or ring slings can be great for avoiding the bump. Older children can snuggle in but there is no weight distributed near your belly, except maybe a leg, which can kind of comfortably cup the belly. If sibling rivalry starts early and inside baby and outside baby start to duke it out though, you may want to switch to a back carry.
3. For back carries in a woven wrap, tie above the bump or try a belly pass.
With wrapping, most carries are still available as an option, though if you don’t like anything near your belly, a candy cane chest belt, knotless finish, or a cross-body chest belt would be a great variation. Some carries that will work are Ruck and Double Hammock variations. Ring finishes are another great option. If you’ve got a longer wrap, try using up some extra length by creating a belly pass, so you can get some relief in the belly area. A good option for this is a Secure High Back Carry with a spread belly pass.
4. Try a mei tai, or a buckle onbuhimo.
These Asian inspired carriers are great during pregnancy. The mei tai can be tied above a pregnant belly, while a buckle onbuhimo is a shoulders-only carrier that avoids your bump altogether.
5. With a soft structured carrier, try buckling under your belly.
A thickly padded waistband may be the last thing you want to wear when you’re bulging around the middle, but some pregnant people still find them comfortable. The key is to play around with placement. If wearing above your bump is comfortable, you can try that, but many people find that bucking a soft structured carrier below their belly works best. It may even provide some added support to the stretched out ligaments at the bottom of your belly!
6. Speaking of support…
Even if you don’t already have a little one, you may want to practice using a wrap or ring sling before baby comes, or you may want to break it in. Wrapping your belly, which has long been done in many cultures around the world, can help you learn how to tighten strand by strand, and soften your carrier. It can also help relieve pressure being put on your stretching ligaments, and may help achieve optimal fetal positioning, which may lead to a smoother birth. There are lots of ways you can learn to wrap your belly, and one of our chapters has done a blog post on it here.
7. Wearing with severe morning sickness
While many people get morning sickness, rarely a person will suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, which can be severe enough to hospitalize. Our own Master Babywearing Educator from BWI of Cleveland, Katie Abell, suffers from this and has shared some tips for wearing while being sick:
- If any pressure on your abdomen makes the nausea worse, definitely do a back carry that has no waist belt or that ties off around the waist.
- Choose carriers that can be washed easily or spot cleaned and will hold up to inevitable splashes.
- Keep cool. For some, overheating can be a trigger to the nausea. Choose carriers with lighter fabric or mesh, or choose single layer back carries.
- If you need to vomit suddenly and there isn’t a safe place to put your older baby down, or your other child is a runner, a back or hip carry will keep baby out of the way while you contain your vomit.
- Give yourself grace. If you are losing too much weight, you may not want (or your doctor may tell you not) to use up precious calories on wearing your outside babies. As much as you may want to, it’s not always possible to wear and that’s okay!
I said this earlier, but I will say it again. Consult with your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns about wearing. Listen to your body. If wearing is causing discomfort, don’t do it, or try a different carrier or carry that will feel more comfortable. If you’re comfortable, your older child will enjoy getting in those snuggles and you won’t regret it either!