You might have heard that babywearing facing forward is not ideal. While it’s true that there are more optimal positions, there are situations when facing forward can be useful if done correctly. For example for babies with certain neurodiverse conditions or for a curious older baby with a caregiver in a wheelchair, facing forward might as well be the best position. Besides, many parents feel that their baby needs to see the world and that’s why they wear their little ones facing forward. Babies usually become more interested in their environment around 4-5 months. They’d like to explore the world, but they can get easily overwhelmed and still need support with processing all the new information and stimuli they’re receiving.
When can you start babywearing facing forward?
There’s no sufficient head support possible in the facing forward position. That’s why your baby has to have full head and neck support before you start carrying her facing outwards. Otherwise, the baby’s head could get tipped forward, which might hinder breathing. The rule of thumb for a good enough head and trunk support is that your baby can sit with assistance. Meaning sitting without help or props while supporting her weight with her arms (like a tripod). This usually comes around 5-6 months. But there’s also another reason to wait until this age with carrying your little one facing forward. Small babies are more sensitive to overstimulation, which is a risk in the forward-facing position. In other babywearing positions, babies have more control. They can turn their head towards the parent if they’re getting overwhelmed, but this is not possible when facing outwards. Overstimulation can lead to fussiness and even sleep problems. Another thing to consider is the hip development of your little one. If there your baby had any hip related problems in the past, consult with your pediatrician before wearing her facing forward.
What to pay attention to when wearing your baby facing forward?
Make sure to pick a baby carrier (or carry variation with a wrap) that provides support for your baby’s legs. Not all baby carriers are suitable for ergonomic forward-facing carrying. As mentioned above, the risk of overstimulation is higher with this position. It’s best to start carrying your little one facing forward in a calm, familiar environment and for short periods. You know your baby and what she can handle best, just watch out for signs of overstimulation. Besides, make sure to flip your baby in when she becomes tired. Sleeping in the facing out position is dangerous because the baby’s head can drop forward, which can hinder breathing.