Babywearing While Pregnant

And now for something completely different!

I don’t think I’ve even mentioned babywearing on this blog before, which is frankly shocking as it is something that I love deeply and is a huge part of my daily life.

My newest adventure in babywearing is babywearing while pregnant! I’m five months along now, and I’ve got a wonderful baby bump. This has added a whole new element to wearing my toddler. I can’t really wear Little Goober on the front anymore, and I can only do a hip carry for short periods of time. Luckily, I’ve been carrying him on my back regularly for quite a while now. However the bump can sometimes pose a problem.

I’ve seen a couple of people in my local babywearing group asking about pregnant wearing options, so here’s a quick run down on what I’ve been finding really useful.

*Note: this guide is geared at people who already babywear and know about using different types of baby carriers. The section on wraps assumes that you’re already passably familiar with using woven wraps for back carries. If you’re a complete newbie,  I’m sorry but this isn’t the best post for you. Don’t worry! I’m planning on adding some more babywearing posts, and if you’ve got questions feel free to contact me!

Some people find that they can use their Soft-Structured Carrier (SSC) or Meh Dai while pregnant by placing the waist belt either above or below their bump and otherwise using it as normal. I haven’t tried this myself, though. I’ve never been a huge fan of the SSC because I don’t like a chunky waist belt even when I’m not pregnant.

If you’d rather use a carrier, but want to skip the waist belt, then an onbuhimo is a great option. This is a really cool baby carrier style from Japan. It’s primarily used for high back carries with older babies who have good head support, but most onbuhimos can also be used to front carry. We love ours and it has all the security of an SSC without using a waist belt. I find it a great option for when Little Guy is particularly adamant about Not Going Up but we have to leave Right Now. A useful thing to be aware of with an onbuhimo: because there’s no waist belt, you are bearing all of your baby’s weight on your shoulders. This can take some getting used to if you haven’t done it before since it uses the muscles in your back and shoulders differently. Some people dislike onbuhimos because they find this weight distribution uncomfortable. I prefer to carry the weight with my shoulders rather than my lower back, so it works out well for me. 

Here’s a video tutorial for using an onbuhimo:
Onbuhimo Back Carry From Sitting by Sakura Bloom

I’m a huge wrap nerd! Woven wraps are my jam when it comes to babywearing and will always be my favourite. I’m already pretty accomplished at back carrying with a wrap, so it didn’t take a huge amount for me to modify things to make room for the bump. I’ve had a while to figure out what I like in a good back carry and it turns out that what I like is no waist belts and knotless finishes! This has put in a place where most of my favourite back carries are ones that also happen to be bump friendly!

Here is a run down of some good bump-friendly back carries. I made sure to include carries that can be done with a variety of different wrap sizes because I like being able to mix it up! Useful note: I am in between a size 5 and a size 6 for my base size. Some base size carries I can do with a size 5 and others I need a 6. Right now I count 6 as my base for determining which wrap to use for any given carry. So base +1 for me is a size 7, base -1 is a size 5 and so on. 

Ruck Tied Tibetan
This is probably the fastest and easiest bump-friendly back carry, especially if you’re fond of using a Ruck carry. It’s best done with a base size-ish wrap. (I usually use base size but can do it with some base-1 wraps, and it can work with base +1 too.) Unlike the classic Ruck, the Tibetan finish eliminates the waist tie and makes space for the bump. Plus it’s a knotless finish which I am always fond of! You can easily spread the passes over your chest to make things more comfortable. I didn’t because, as you can see, Little Goober was in an abysmal mood when we did this one.

Here’s a tutorial video from which shows three different ways to tie off a ruck. The second one is the Tibetan finish.
Rucksack Carry Three Finishes by Tandem Trouble

Norwegian Wiggleproof
I have always loved this carry as it’s the first back carry that I was able to figure out, and it totally got me into back carrying. It works well with a base size or base +1 wrap. The chest pass which gives some extra weight distribution and support without being uncomfortable on the belly. This is most helpful for me since I’m wearing a 28lb toddler! Making sure the chest pass is nice and high helps it sit comfortably over the bump. This carry also features a cross pass which is very helpful for babies prone to seat popping. In these pictures I’m using a ring finish instead of a knot, but you can do either. If you’re doing this with a longer base size wrap or a base +1 you can also finish with a Candy Cane Chest belt.

Here is a tutorial video! *Note: I actually do this carry slightly differently than the video. I do the pass that goes under baby’s leg and up over my shoulder before I do the chest pass. It doesn’t make much of a difference which way you do it. I like doing the cross pass first because Little Guy is an incorrigible seat popper.
Norwegian Wiggleproof Back Carry by Tandem Trouble

Double Hammock Tied Under Bum
The Double Hammock is one of the most common back carries, and a lot of people really love it. (I don’t use it much because I am very rarely able to use any carry that doesn’t have at least one cross pass because Little Guy is so determined to try to pop his seat.) If you want to stick with your trusty DH but want to avoid the classic finish of tying off at the waist then this is a great carry for you. Like with the Norwegian Wiggleproof, keeping the chest pass in the DH nice an high gives you space for your bump. This also a great carry to use a fun finish like the Saltwater or Freshwater Finish. Both these finishes let you use a base size wrap for this carry without having your tails dangling too far after you’ve tied off.

Here is a tutorial video for the basic tied under bum:
Double Hammock Tied Under Bum by Wrapping Rachel

This tutorial video shows how to do a Saltwater Finish and a Freshwater Finish with a Double Hammock.
Double Hammock Freshwater and Saltwater Finish by JGMacDonald

Pirate Carry (also known as Reinforced Rear Ruck/RRR)
This is a great carry that is finished and secure really quickly. I find this particularly useful with my wiggly toddler! Because this carry doesn’t have a chest pass of any kind, you will be carrying all of baby’s weight on your shoulders. This can take some getting used to, especially if you haven’t done many carries like this before. It will use the muscles in your back and shoulders differently. The Pirate Carry is best done with a base -2 wrap, or even a base -3 if you’re especially brave. It can also be done with a base -1 wrap, but you’ll have longer tails to deal with. I like doing it with base -1 or -2 and doing a Candy Cane Chest Belt to finish. In these pictures I’m using a size 3 (base -3) but my tails were a bit uneven so I used the longer tail to make a very messy chest belt for the second picture.

Here is a tutorial video for this carry. I like to do the second pass a little different than the video. Instead of passing it over both of baby’s legs, I pass it under the first leg, making a cross pass instead of a horizontal pass. I find this helps with keeping my little seat popper contained!
Reinforced Rear Ruck by Tandem Trouble

Shepherd’s Carry
I have always loved this carry even though I don’t end up using it super often. It’s built the same way as the Double Hammock, with hammock passes, which means that it might not always be the best choice if your baby is a big seat popper. But the chest pass helps distribute weight which makes it very comfortable, and keeping the chest pass nice and high makes space for bump. I also think it’s really pretty! I’ve finished with a knot in these pictures but this is also great with a ring finish.

This is a simple tutorial video for a Shepherd’s carry.
Shepherd’s Back Carry by Tandem Trouble

Double Hammock with Rings
Continuing on the Double Hammock variations, the DH with rings is… well… exactly what it says in the name. In this case the use of rings means that your chest pass is bunched which keeps it nice and high over your bump. This also means that you’re carrying baby’s weight more on your shoulders like you do with the Pirate Carry or when using an onbuhimo. I like this one because I am a sucker for a good ring finish and also really like finding ways to use my shorty wraps. In these pictures I’m using a size 5 (base -1) which is rather long for this carry, but Little Goober really wanted the purple wrap. Normally I use a size 4 for this, or even a 3 if I’m feeling brave.

Here is a tutorial for doing the Double Hammock with Rings, by me! Because I wasn’t finding any I liked.
Double Hammock with Rings by JGMacDonald


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