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How to Back Wrap Your Newborn in a Woven Wrap – Rucksack Style

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!


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Published in Babywearing


  1. Meredith, I love this! I need to try it out with baby Charlotte!

    • Meredith


      Just let me know if you want to borrow a wrap!

  2. Cute man! I can’t wait to try this with my Goldie (almost 5 weeks). I’ve been wearing her around on my front in a stretchy wrap. But, today, I found a huge long piece of woven fabric in the cupboard and have been searching for good ways to tie! This one is nice because it looks like it would be cooler as only one layer of fabric is wrapped around their little body. It will be summer here in Australia soon, so that will be great! Can’t wait to get a sweaty sleepy earprint on my neck!

  3. I’m fairly new to wrapping but have watched many of your videos. Is it just me or is the baby’s leg turning purple in this video? I wonder because I want to start back carrying my 4 month old, but I’m not sure about having the wrap so tight under his legs…won’t that cut off the circulation? Thanks.

    • Meredith


      They aren’t turning purple – I think it’s just my bad lighting 😉 If baby’s legs did turn purple, that would be a sign that you’ve not tied the wrap correctly. When done the right way, baby is held snuggly to your body – the width of the wrap (and the top rail in particular) keep baby snug. Baby’s weight should be on her bum, not on her legs (if baby is in the sit squat position that’s easy to see – Eleanor was still pretty small in this video so it’s harder to tell that she’s in a sit squat position). The cross passes across the legs are snug but not to the point of cutting off baby’s circulation. It’s also worth mentioning that very often newborns get splotchy skin or red marks – that’s not necessarily a problem since even wearing socks will cause the same type of mark – they just have sensitive skin. Now if baby’s feet were dark purple…that would be a sign of a problem.

      If you want to try ruck and are worried about the mechanics, you might try a kangaroo carry on your front first. It is a similar carry in terms of how baby sits in it so that might help you see what is holding baby tight.

  4. Rachel


    This is great! I’ve always worn newborns on the front. How convenient!


  5. Abigail


    I started watching this video with my first over a year ago. Now that I have newborn number 2 I’ve re-watched this numerous times. You make it look so easy! However I found your video for newborn back carry with Mei Tai, and we like those a lot better around here so we’ll try that next. Though I still can’t figure out how to get my newborn with the wrap onto my back without help, you’re videos are by far the best I’ve seen. You explain and show each step so well! Can’t wait til I finally master this carry…I will get it by myself, even if it takes me 10 kids! (ok, so my hubby only agreed to 3, but I will get it!)

  6. Lena


    Great video! Is the Ellaroo color you use in the video a LaRae or something else? Thanks!

    • Meredith


      It’s LaRae!

  7. Norma Pere.

    Norma Pere.

    I keep watching your video over and over again! It’s so much harder with my baby. He’s 4 months old now. He’s hypertonic due to a brain injury at birth, so he’s usually very tense, especially his legs. I usually carry him in the front but I want this carry to work for us to bad. He’s so high needs and I would love to get stuff done around the house with him on my back. Do you have any ideas? His legs don’t go in that ‘m’ shape like normal babies, unless he’s asleep. So I work with what I can.

    • Meredith


      Ruck probably isn’t your best option since it’s not great for babies who leg straighten. A secure high back carry or jordan’s back carry would probably be a better option.

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