Back Carry Basics

IMAG0620So you’ve been wearing your baby for a while now, are very comfortable with front carries and feel that you’re ready to move baby onto your back. Where do you begin?

First, unless you are an experienced baby wearer and experienced wrapper, back carries are typically only recommended once your child is 6 months or older and is able to sit independently. Since you have less visual connection with a child on your back, you want him to have the muscle tone that allows him to sit up straight without slouching. You must also only use carriers that are safe for back carries, such as woven wraps, buckle carriers, and mei tais. Stretchy wraps and water wraps/slings are not safe for back carries and should not be used. Stretchy wraps, such as a Moby, do not offer the support necessary and could allow baby to lean or fall. Water products are typically designed for front carry, water use only.

If your child and carrier meet those criteria, you can now begin to practice back carries. Always start by practicing with a spotter, someone to help you should you need it, and practice over a soft surface, such as your bed. You want to first get comfortable moving baby to your back in a safe environment before attempting to do so out and about. Practicing with experienced help, such as at a BWI meeting local to you is a great start, if possible. Another good idea is to practice moving a doll onto your back and into your carrier before trying with your baby.

There are a number of ways to get baby onto your back, and how you do it will part be up to preference and part due to the type of carrier you are using. Below I’ll link to a few good instructional videos that may help you with your particular carrier, but of course, this isn’t an all-inclusive list.

  • SSC – Soft Structured Carrier – Many moms prefer the hip scoot method of transferring baby, as it has more of a secure feel to it. Personally, I was always a fan of the superman toss before my daughter was old enough to just climb on up. If neither of those feel quite secure enough for you, try this method that involves always having the chest clip buckled for additional security.
  • Mei Tai – The hip scoot works just as well for a mei tai, or you can start out with baby on your front.
  • Woven Wrap – There are many ways to get your baby onto your back when using a woven wrap. You may prefer the hip scoot (again!), or the santa toss, or another version of superman. This video shows a number of examples.

You may notice that I did not include ring slings. While there are ways to use a ring sling for a back carry, they are only recommended for advanced wearers. Back carries with a ring sling are not for beginners.

Back carries can take a lot of practice to get comfortable with. As I mentioned, if you can meet with a babywearing educator at a BWI meeting or other babywearing meeting near you, that’s your best first step toward learning to back carry. Soon you’ll be on your way to a whole new world of babywearing!

Hip Scoot 

Superman Toss

Full Buckle Back Transfer

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and daughter. She is quite sure she doesn’t get it right all of the time.

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