All across the world, people have used baby carriers for centuries — and they are now becoming mainstream again in the U.S. This is because carriers are much more convenient than any other means of transporting your baby: you’re able to keep your hands free to continue with other activities and go virtually anywhere with your child.
Carriers come in a variety of different styles, but they fall into three main categories: the inward facing infant carrier, the outward-facing infant carrier, and the baby carrier for your back. There are several benefits to using a baby carrier in general, but many of these are enhanced when you use an inward facing carrier.
1. You’ll Interact More with Your Baby
When your baby is facing you, the two of you can easily make eye contact. This allows you to see your baby’s facial expressions and interact with her.
2. It Provides Head Support
Other types of baby carriers tend to be unsuitable for newborns because they lack head support. With an inward facing carrier, your baby’s head is fully supported, making this a safe option to transport your baby.
3. Avoid Flat Head Syndrome
Whereas keeping your baby lying on her back will also support her head, this puts her at risk of flat head syndrome (or plagiocephaly) if she stays lying for too long. To correct a severe case of the condition, your baby may need to wear a helmet. Using a baby carrier is a great way to support baby's head in a way that mimics holding them in arms and without applying pressure to any one part of the head.
4. Your Baby May Cry Less Often
Less crying is a huge benefit for you. It means lower levels of stress, reduced anxiety, and a stronger immune system — in other words, less risk of you (and, subsequently, your baby) becoming sick. Your baby may also sleep more hours at night without disturbing you, allowing you to return to a more normal sleep schedule.
5. Help with Breastfeeding
It’s not unusual for newborns to struggle for a while with breastfeeding. When moms use an inward facing carrier, they keep their babies close to their chests, which can encourage their babies to feed more often. This is also helpful if your pediatrician has told you that your baby needs to gain weight.
6. Stabilize Heart Rate and Body Temperature
Holding your baby close to you puts your bodies in sync. This can help your baby to have a more stable heart rate and can control her body temperature, keeping it similar to yours.
7. Prevent Hip Dysplasia
When babies’ hips fail to form correctly in the first few months of their lives, they can suffer from hip dysplasia. This is sometimes caused by tight swaddling. Putting your baby in an inward facing carrier, though, can be beneficial for hip development, particularly if the carrier has a wide, ergonomic base.
8. Reduce Colic
Another health problem you may be able to prevent with a inward facing carrier is colic. This is something you want to avoid at all costs — both because it causes discomfort for your infant and because your family will need to deal with constant crying that nothing seems to solve. It is unknown why wearing a baby reduces colic, although it could be due to keeping the infant in an upright position combined with the comforting touch of a parent.
When Can a Baby Go Forward-Facing?
You can replace your inward facing carrier with a forward-facing one when your baby is able to support her head — when she is around four to six months old. This is a particularly great option for this age range, as older infants often like to see what’s going on around them, but it allows you to continue carrying your baby.
Forward-Facing Baby Carrier Age Limit
Once your baby is around 12 months old, you’re likely to find that forward-facing carriers are no longer convenient or comfortable for the two of you. However, this will depend on your child’s personality — some babies may want to face out sooner to start looking around. A flexible carrier is ideal, as it will allow you to introduce your baby to outward facing for short intervals to prevent her from becoming overwhelmed and to allow her to also inward face to reconnect with you.
You can find the best forward facing and infant facing carrier at Baby Tula. Our Explore carrier is suitable for babies of all ages — from newborn to toddler — and comes in a variety of prints and fabric blends. It’s also the best infant backpack carrier and the best forward-facing carrier: you can use it for all the main carry styles. Check out our online store to find the best design for your family.