Top 3 reasons why your baby carrier might be causing back pain

When it comes to baby carriers – fit is everything. How well your carrier fit you personally and how well it is fitted each time you use it. Parents often come to me with a carrier they’ve bought and is causing them pain and assume I will tell them they need to buy something new. But often they really don’t need to. A few tweaks to how it is fitted and how they are using it can be a total game changer. Suddenly that carrier they hated is now is now super comfy and their back feels supported and comfortable.

So here are my top 3 reasons your carrier might be causing you pain, and HOW to fix them! Watch the video of my instragram live showing all 3 or scroll down if you prefer to read!

#1 – The waistband isn’t high enough.

Getting the waist band right is the absolute foundation of any carry. Often the reason parents are struggling is simply that the waistband is positioned too low, or that it is not tight enough and the result is baby’s weight is causing the waist band to tip which consequently causes your pelvis to tip and your back to arch. The fix is to simply raise the waist band up and tighten it up!

You can see more about waist band positioning here:

Or read my full blog on this here.

#2 – The shoulder straps are too loose

This can be counter intituive because usually if something is rubbing or hurting we often think it must be too tight, so our instincts are to loosen up. But actually when it comes to baby carriers it is the reverse; when they are too loose baby pulls away from you and this downward drag causes that rubbing or pain or heaviness on your shoulders. The trick to it feeling lighter is to tighten those straps up until there is no slack. Or until it is tight enough that if you lean foward, baby doesn’t draw away from you.

Often parents are worried to tighten up because they fear squashing the baby, but actually babies enjoy that closeness. They enjoy the security that comes with have the straps snug because it feels more secure and more cozy for them.

#3 – How you tighten the shoulder straps

This is often the biggest culprit behind discomfort in carriers – HOW you tighten the straps. The fact is, that for most carriers this is not obvious. Just simply yanking on the strap to tighten it often doesn’t work. The combination of baby’s weight pulling downward int he sling and the friction across your back will prevent the strap from tightening effectively.

Instead it is key to

  1. Support baby’s weight as you tighten, so that you aren’t fighting gravity
  2. Move any looseness around you back, wiggling your shoulder as you go before you try to tighten the strap.
  3. Once the looseness is directly by the buckle, then and only then, tighten it!

You can see this in action fro a carrier with ruck sack straps here;

and for a carrier with Cross straps here;

So there you have it, my top 3 reasons your carrier might be causing you pain. Let me know if any of this helps. Or if you’d like me to fit check your carrier and suggest potential tweaks specific for you personally please do get in touch to book an online consultation (or in person if you are local to me). Or check out your local sling library.

-Madeleine

Carriers shown in this article are the Ergobaby Omni Breeze, Ergobaby Omni 360 and the Beco Gemini.