While front snuggles are wonderful, there may come a time when getting your newborn/young baby on your back would be really handy. As babies start to become more and more interested in their world, they often want more of a view than a tummy to tummy carry generally provides.
Enter the high back carry! Newborns and young babies should always be worn high on your back so that you can easily monitor their breathing and position. Being high also means they can peak over your shoulder and enjoy a view of the world. Plus there are few things sweeter than feeling little baby “kisses” on the back of your neck 🙂
To do a high back carry, you can use either a woven wrap (but not a stretch, Moby-type wrap as they can not be tightened enough for a secure carry) or a mei tai. Buckle carriers should not be used for back carries until baby can sit well unassisted; since they sit lower on the back, a smaller baby could more easily slump into an unsafe position.
Today we’ll be discussing the rucksack back carry using a woven wrap.
The “ruck” is one of the simplest carries, but it can be a tad tricky to do safely and comfortably. To get a safe secure ruck every time, remember these pointers:
- A thin wrap is generally easy to wrap with when wrapping a small baby. Narrower wraps are also a bit easier as there’s less width to lose baby in. My favorites for wee ones are Ellaroos and older Vatanais (which are narrower than the new ones).
- When learning to ruck (or when learning any new back carry), use a spotter or practice over the bed. If you keep one hand on baby at all times, it’s unlikely baby will fall, but having a spotter will make it easier for you to focus on where the wrap should go. Wrapping in front of a mirror can also be helpful when learning a new back carry.
- The top rail is what secures the carry and makes it comfortable. As you wrap, always keep tension on the top rail (the edge of the wrap closest to baby’s head).
- For a young baby, the top rail should rest at the base of the head (don’t allow baby’s head to fall into the wrap). This will provide support for baby’s head and give a nice comfy carry.
- Once you get baby into position and secure the top rail, pull the width of the wrap down towards baby’s bum.
- It’s hard to make a good pocket/seat for a small baby since there’s not much space between their knees and bum. Ideally, baby’s knees should be higher than her bum (as with any carry). Push the extra width of the wrap between you and baby (under her bum). Then, keeping tension on the wrap (especially the top rail), stand up so that baby’s bum falls into the pocket and the slack gets pulled out of the wrap.
- I prefer to twist my ruck straps to keep them from slipping. Others find “sandwiching” or folding them over to be more comfortable.
- When you bring the wrap over and under baby’s legs, make sure to catch the bottom rail under the tails as you pass them through. This locks the pocket into place. You can also push up a bit on baby’s leg at this point to get those knees above the bum.
- I prefer to simply tie in front but you can also finish the carry with a Tibetan tie off – pull the tails back through the ruck straps and tie across your chest.
- Remember, practice makes perfect!!
Here’s my video showing the basic ruck with a newborn. Stay tuned for other variations and ways to wrap in the coming weeks!