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Using your Baby Carrier as a Tool for Kangaroo Care

Using a baby carrier during kangaroo care can be so convenient and easy!  You can give your baby the skin to skin time that is so beneficial for them and have your hands free to make a sandwich, eat lunch, or care for another child.  This post will discuss the benefits of kangaroo care, how to use your carrier as a tool for kangaroo care, and types of baby carriers that work especially well for kangaroo care.

If you’ve read my Kangaroo Care Basics post, then you know that holding your baby skin to skin is incredibly beneficial to both you and baby!  You should do as much kangaroo care with your baby as you are able!

This image by Photography by Grimm shows a mom holding a brand new (one hour old) newborn in kangaroo care, reclined on a couch.

Some of the benefits of kangaroo care include:  

– Facilitating bonding between the infant and caregivers
– Promoting healthy sleep with more time spent in quiet sleep which is key to brain development
– Preventing infection, especially when paired with breastfeeding
– When paired with breastfeeding, reduces infant weight loss after birth, increases milk supply, and improves infant weight gain
– Lowering infant and maternal stress and perception of pain
– Improves infant digestion
– Increasing oxytocin production, which increases attachment and affectionate behaviors from the caregiver and reduces stress and anxiety in the caregiver
– Enhanced learning and brain development for the baby
– Reduced infant crying for the entire first year

Your Carrier as a Tool for Kangaroo Care

A wonderful and easy way to add more kangaroo care time to your day is to use your baby carrier as a tool for skin to skin time!  This is pretty simple:

1.  Strip your baby down to a diaper.
2.  Remove your top (including bra).
3.  Prepare your baby carrier (pre-tie your wrap, put on your sling, etc)
4.  Put baby into your carrier.
5.  Adjust your carrier so it’s snug and comfortable for you both.
6.  If you want, zip an oversized sweater or button down shirt on over you both (keeping baby’s face uncovered, of course).

Benefits of Using your Carrier to Provide Kangaroo Care: 

Using a baby carrier to help you support your baby during kangaroo care can be so convenient and easy!

The image shows a mom holding her newborn baby for kangaroo care in a woven wrap. The mom is sitting on the couch holding a mug.

My Favorite Time of Day for Kangaroo Care

My favorite way to use kangaroo care while babywearing  was to wrap baby skin to skin as soon as I woke up in the morning.  I would zip an oversized fleece jacket over us both (because our house is old and is often chilly in the mornings – and my most recent baby was born in January).  Then I would get up, make breakfast and pour myself some coffee.

Usually by the time I had fixed breakfast for the kids and poured myself some coffee, the baby would be taking his first nap.  Then I could rest on the couch for a bit (with him still skin to skin in the carrier) and drink my coffee in peace or read stories to the older kids.

Without using my carrier at this time of day,  caring for the baby was more difficult. I had to dress him warmly enough for our chilly old house and worry that he was cold.  I had to hold him in arms while making breakfast or put him in the bouncy chair.  Then I had to watch him carefully to be sure one of the older kids didn’t try to feed him their breakfast (yes, this has happened more than once) or completely cover him in toys (also happened more than once).

Fourth Kid Problems 😉

I also found that when I did kangaroo care early in the day, my baby was calmer and happier for the rest of the day.  We could get two hours of kangaroo care in first thing in the morning quite easily!

Special Products:

You can buy special Kangaroo Care shirts if you’d like.  These are sized to fit the wearer and can be really wonderful.  However, you do not need a special product to do kangaroo care with your baby.  You can simply hold your baby skin to skin or you can hold your baby in a baby carrier skin to skin.

Baby Carriers that Work Particularly Well for Kangaroo Care

Any baby carrier that fits your baby well will work well for Kangaroo Care.  If you have a baby carrier that fits your baby, then you are set!  I think a few carrier types tend to work really well for kangaroo care, so I will share my favorites here.

Stretchy Wraps

Stretchy wraps are wonderful for Kangaroo Care (as long as your baby is big enough to go in the carrier – read the directions that come with your carrier to be sure).  What I like about stretchy wraps is that there are three layers of fabric and one of the layers nicely covers your entire side.  This leaves the wearer feeling a bit less exposed.  In fact when worn a stretchy wrap looks a lot like a shirt.

Pictured:  A stretchy wrap – You can see how the wrap itself is almost like wearing a shirt.  It’s quite covering, which is why it’s my favorite tool for Kangaroo care.  If you were to answer the door like this (especially with a light shirt or jacket over top), no one would even know you were topless.  😛

Front Wrap Cross Carry or Pocket Wrap Cross Carry in a Stretchy Wrap are both wonderful carries for kangaroo care.

Woven Wraps

Woven wraps are wonderful for the same reason as stretchy wraps.  Depending on the carry that you choose, the wrap is nicely covering and leaves the wearer feeling almost like they are wearing a shirt.  Woven wraps also work really well for babies born prematurely or with a low birth weight.  A woven wrap can be tightened to perfectly support a tiny newborn.

Pictured:  A woven wrap used for kangaroo care on the day my third baby was born! <3  Friends had brought a delicious meal over on the day she was born and  I was able to snuggle my sweet new baby hands free in my woven wrap while enjoying dinner with my family.

This picture shows a one day old newborn doing kangaroo care with her mother in a woven wrap in Front Wrap Cross Carry.

Hybrid Carriers 

Hybrid wrap carriers like a Baby K’tan or the XOXO Buckle Wrap are also snuggly and cozy for Kangaroo Care.

Pictured:  A K’Tan Carrier – You can see that the hybrid carrier isn’t quite as covering as a stretchy wrap or woven wrap, but still hold baby snugly and securely on your chest.

This image shows a K’tan Carrier with a one month old (12 pound) newborn.

Kangaroo care is absolutely wonderful!  Even if it weren’t for all of the benefits, it would still be worth it just because it’s a snuggly and wonderful way to enjoy your new baby!  Add a baby carrier, and it’s hands free too!

Further Reading: 

Kangaroo Care Basics
Including Older Siblings in Kangaroo Care
Positioning your Newborn
How to Use a Stretchy Wrap
How to Use a K’Tan Carrier
How to Use a Woven Wrap (for Beginners)

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