When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I had rarely seen people wearing their baby in a carrier. But after reading the pros and cons of babywearing (mostly positives!), I knew it was something I wanted to try.

At first, I had a hard time getting babywearing to work for me. My shoulders hurt from ring slings, I was intimidated by wraps, and I wasn’t sure what to do.

But I really wanted to be able to wear my baby because of the benefits. So after looking at the pros and cons of different baby carriers, I found the ones that worked best for me. Four children in, I absolutely love baby wearing (and toddler wearing).

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So if you want to know the benefits and drawbacks of babywearing, keep reading.

Babywearing pros and cons

While baby wearing is great for you and your little one, there are some things to keep in mind. Here’s a list of the pros and cons.

Pros of babywearing

The benefits of baby wearing are undeniable. Here’s just a few.

Looking for the best baby carrier for you and your little one? Check out this post.

RELATED: Best baby carriers

Support for the “fourth trimester”

When our babies are born, they still have a lot of maturation to do. Their temperature regulation is still not great. Even their breathing patterns and heart rate aren’t completely regulated yet.

But one of the best ways to help your baby with all of these issues is to have them close to you. And the easiest way to allow this closeness without your arms falling off from exhaustion? Having them cuddled up close to you (or another care taker) in a wrap.

Baby wearing encourages attachment

Honestly, how can you not feel attached to a little bundle of baby snuggled right up to your chest?

Man with yawning baby wrapped in baby carrier

But even beyond that, there are biochemical responses in both your body and your baby’s when you wear them. Each of you release oxytocin, the “love hormone” that promotes attachment and feelings of well-being, when you’re in close contact (like you are during baby wearing). This works for mom and dad both!

Babywearing reduces crying

There’s a phrase that I heard when my oldest was new: Babies who cry less cry less.

While that might sound frustrating if you have a baby that cries a lot, it actually makes sense.

RELATED: What to do when your new baby won’t stop crying

The idea is that the more responsive you are and the more quickly you meet the needs of your child, the more she begins to trust you and the less frequently they need to cry. Plus, the more often you successfully meet your baby’s needs, the more confident you’ll be in your parenting abilities. That means you’ll respond easily the next time. The cycle keeps building on itself.

And one of the best way to quickly meet your child’s needs?

Wear them! That way, you’re right there with them and can know that they wants something even before they get frustrated enough to cry.

Baby wearing helps build neck strength and control

Maybe I’m biased, but all four of my children had really good head and neck control at a few months old. I really think it’s largely due to being in a wrap so much. While they’re supported when being carried, they do get a chance to exercise their neck muscles more than they would just lying back in a stroller.

Infant in stretchy wrap being held by mother

Truth be told, I got less vigilant with each baby about tummy time, partially because they always hated it. But as often as my babies were carried, I feel like this more than made up for it.

Babies are socialized better in a baby carrier

Think about what happens when your baby is in a stroller. They only see everyone’s knees, unable to see the world around him. Even if they’re facing outwards (instead of toward the parent), they still don’t see much. People might bend down to interact with them, but otherwise, they’re in a very limited world.

With that said, you don’t have much control over if people get in your baby’s face in a stroller. Well meaning strangers with a cough often touch your baby without permission when you are strolling them around.

Things are different when you wear your baby. They are nearer to your height, and they can observe you talking to friends. But at the same time, nosy Aunt Sally is much less likely to get in their space, because your little one is nestled close to you.

And if your little one is tired or just ready to be left alone, all they have to do is turn their head and snuggle in to your chest. But now it’s their choice as to whether they want to interact with the world.

Baby wearing boosts milk supply

Remember how we talked about oxytocin being released during baby wearing? Well, oxytocin promotes milk production.

Plus, you’re likely to feed more frequently since the physical closeness between you and your baby helps you be more attuned to her needs. Not to mention, your boobs are right there. That’s why baby wearing is so helpful during cluster feeding.

RELATED: Is your baby cluster feeding all night? How to survive

And yes, with a little repositioning, it is totally possible to breastfeed your baby while they’re in a carrier (especially if you’re wearing a nursing tank that’s easy to snap up and down).

RELATED: Best nursing tanks and camis

Baby wearing is convenient

While you shouldn’t feel obligated to do all the things when you have a new baby, it’s nice to be able to get some stuff done when you want to. That’s another reason baby wearing is so great. You can vacuum, dust, or even just go for a walk around the neighborhood with a baby strapped to you.

And when you have more than one kid, baby wearing is an absolute must. It’s a great way to practice “benign neglect” (a term I stole from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding) with your baby so you can pay more attention to your older child while keeping your baby feeling safe and content.

Woman working at laptop while baby is sleeping on her in soft carrier

If you want, you can even get some work done while baby wearing (but probably not with your toddler around). I’ve written several articles for this site with my little one snuggled up to me.

One of my favorite places to wrap my baby is at the grocery store. Especially when my baby is too small to sit up in the seat on a shopping cart, it’s so much nicer to have my baby cuddled up with me while I’m wandering the aisles. And if you’re like me and have too many children to fit in the cart, you can wear one, put one in the cart, and let the third one walk (or be a renegade and let him stand on the back of the cart).

And a baby carrier is often way easier to deal with than a stroller. Have you ever tried to wheel a stroller through a crowded park? Now imagine if you could just walk through with your baby strapped to you – so much easier!

Cons of babywearing

While there are so many great benefits of baby wearing, there are a few downsides (or potential downsides).

(But first: Not a con? Spoiling your baby. You can’t spoil a baby. Don’t let dear Aunt Sally make you feel like you’re doing something wrong by holding your child in a carrier instead of leaving them to cry.)

Using carriers can be painful for the baby wearer

If you’re not used to wearing your baby (especially when you’re still recovering from birth), you may end up with a sore back, shoulders, or neck form wearing your little one. You may even get a headache from the neck and shoulder strain.

For me personally, ring slings always gave me a headache. That’s because the weight wasn’t distributed evenly across my shoulders. That’s why I’ve moved to stretchy wraps, soft structured carriers and mei tais.

Generally, the better quality the carrier, the less neck and shoulder strain you’ll have.

You could make abdominal separation worse

In addition, if you have diastasis recti (abdominal separation), baby wearing can make it worse if you don’t position the waist belt on the carrier correctly or if you’re not using your core to support yourself. Make sure you aren’t adding intra-abdominal pressure with your baby carrier.

RELATED: Living with diastasis recti

Safe baby wearing

Most of the downsides of babywearing aren’t truly cons, but they’re potential risks if you don’t have don’t know safe baby wearing techniques. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

If you don’t know how to use a carrier correctly, they can put a baby at risk. So make sure you know baby carrier safety.

Check the recommended weight

Woman looking at phone while wearing newborn

First, your baby needs to be large enough to be in a carrier before you start (Check the tag from your manufacturer, but 7-9 pounds tends to be the recommendation).

Check that your baby’s airway is clear

When your baby is in a carrier, make sure that their chin is NOT tucked to their chest. This blocks the airway and can be extremely dangerous. This is something to be especially careful of in a ring sling.

Another tip: While some carriers aren’t designed for back carrying at all, it’s never a good idea to put your infant on your back until he’s at least six months. It’s just better to have an eye on your younger baby.

Avoid hip dysplasia from poorly made carriers

This is one of the biggest reasons that I recommend a quality carrier, instead of the cheapest one you find in a big-box store. This is a mistake we made with our first child. Check out the pic:

Man wearing baby in soft structured carrier that doesn't support baby's hips

Don’t be distracted by the weird face my husband is making (typical). Instead, notice my daughter’s legs. See how they’re just hanging down?

That’s bad. In fact, it can contribute to hip dysplasia.

Now contrast with this picture of my son in his mei tai:

Toddler in mei tai in back carry. His hips are supported and his legs are in the correct W position

You see how his knees are actually above his little bottom? His legs and bottom are in a W shape.

This position supports your baby’s hip development much better. So no matter what type of carrier you get, be careful that the seat is wide enough to support your baby’s hips.

Keep baby facing towards you

I know, there’s all the adorable pictures of babies facing outwards, checking out the world. But the problem is, this carry goes against your child’s natural spine curvature. Think about it: How would you like sitting with your back arched for hours on end?

You’re really better off just keeping your baby facing in towards you.

Conclusions on babywearing pros and cons

Baby wearing has become increasingly popular in recent years as parents look for ways to bond with their child while still getting things done. And while there are some cons to baby wearing, the pros far outweigh them.

If you’re thinking about giving it a try, be sure to read my post about the best types of baby carriers. Baby wearing is a great way to bond with your child while still getting things done. I hope this information helps you make a decision about whether or not it’s right for you.