Forward Facing in the AmaWrap and other baby carriers
I am asked quite regularly whether parents are able to use their sling as a forward facing baby carrier “so that they can see more of the world” (especially since we do not provide instructions to do so).
The quick answer is yes, of course you can have your baby facing out, the method is exactly the same as facing in! However, before you do so, please read our reasons for not advertising this fact, then make up your own mind as to whether you would like your child to be facing out or not.
Reasons not to wear your baby facing outwards in a wrap
1. Its not as supportive
When your baby is facing you, the wrap is supporting not only the babies bum but also his thighs up to the knees – its like sitting in a very deep sofa, or a deck chair. When facing outwards, the wrap can only hold the baby by the bum, which means the legs dangle down. Not only is this more uncomfortable (imagine sitting on a bar stool without having anything to place your feet on so they’re dangling), but it could also aggravate any existing hip problems like hip dysplacia.
2. Over stimulation
Even when baby has the strength to be able to control his neck, should you want to put him in forward facing, please don’t do so for more than a few minutes. Babies reach their threshold for overstimulation very easily, and after this they will simply want to rest their head on your chest to take a breather, and most likely, a nap.
3. No head support
In a forward facing baby carrier, the baby will have no head support when sleeping. This means that he will sleep with his chin to his chest, which is not the safest way to sleep, or the most comfortable. When facing inwards not only will baby be able to rest his head on your chest but there are also a couple of different ways to provide additional support to the head while baby is sleeping. (See how to tie sling for more details)
4. Baby’s spine
In the first few months, a baby’s spine is a C shape. This is why he will curl up with his knees to the chest – this is how he has spent the last few months. The wrap complements this curve and allows the baby to sit in his natural position, curled up against you. If instead the baby’s back is leaning against yours as it would in a forward facing baby carrier, it puts unnecessary pressure on his spine, and he will naturally try and lean back against you to feel more supported.
5. Centre of Gravity
When baby is facing you, their centre of gravity meets yours and you will feel perfectly grounded. However if you are forward facing, you will constantly feel like the baby and you are both pulling forward, which will mean that you end up leaning back, which is no good for your neck, shoulders, or back.
6. Responding to baby’s cues
When baby is in a forward facing baby carrier you are unable to read his face, and therefore not as able to respond to his cues (spit up, rooting etc) until he has had to resort to crying.
Saying this, there are babies who simply hate facing in and prefer to face out. Should this be the case, try a hip carry, which is still more comfortable!