How soon after birth can I use a sling?
As soon as you feel able! I’ve known parents to carry right from the first day if they’ve felt well enough to do so. The important thing is to listen to your body – you’ve just given birth! So take it easy on your body and give yourself time to heal but if you feel strong enough to give it a go. Go for it!
Just ensure the baby is worn “high and tight” so there is no pressure on your recovering pelvic floor. What you are looking for is to have the baby high enough on your chest so that their ear is over your heart and/or the top of their head is close enough to kiss. And then tight enough that if you leant forward the baby wouldn’t draw away from you significantly. This tightness a) helps them feel more secure and prevents them slumping within the sling and b) it helps ensure the weight is evenly distributed for you. When a sling is too loose, the baby feels heavier and this extra pull often manifests as pressure on your core and pelvic floor – both of which have just had a heavy workout during birth and we want to ensure aren’t carrying the load… so being confident in getting that tightness just right is key! This is definitely something that if your not sure about it is well worth seeking out a babywearing consultant or a sling library drop in session and just checking because nailing that tightness makes an absolute world of difference.
What if I had a cesarean birth?
The exact same rules apply – as long as the carrier is high and tight and not putting any pressure on your scar or core there is no reason not to carry. It’s not like exercise you don’t have to wait for 6 or 12 weeks or any arbitrary point. It’s quite simply when you feel ready and while I’ve definitely known parents who’ve felt ready a week or so after a section, I’ve known others whose recovery has taken longer and its been more like 5 or 6 weeks or more.
The one thing I would avoid is any carrier with a very heavy waist band at this point, but carriers such as the Caboo, stretchy wrap, Izmi baby carrier or Ergo Embrace are absolutely perfect for those early days when you are still healing.