Babywearing a big baby?
May 30, 2013 2:30 AM   Subscribe

How can I carry my 7 week old who is too big for a sling but too small/young to be carried in a standard upright carrier?

I have a pouch sling, a Moby wrap and a Chicco carrier. Our pediatrician recommended "cradle carry" positions, because it seems we've been carrying him in an upright position too much (my hands below his butt, his head resting on my shoulder) and his spine was compressed, so he's now arching his back when he should be curving forward, or so the doc says. The kid loves the upright position and is less than thrilled with anything else. He doesn't have good neck/head control yet. He is quite long and doesn't like the fetal position.

I tried putting him in the sling, but he looks uncomfortable and all squished up (plus I can hear him breathing hard). The doc said the Chicco is out of the question because of the pressure it puts on the butt and spine. The doc didn't like the idea of the Moby, but I'm not sure he's seen one in action.

So, the questions:
- Which positions and carriers would be appropriate?
- Is the doc overreacting or is this serious?

All my Googling only gave me babywearing websites where wraps are hailed as the best thing ever, so I don't know if our doc isn't up to date with current trends or if wrap makers are investing heavily in PR.

Why yes, I'm a first-time parent, how did you guess?

Bonus baby question: how to avoid overnight pee/poop diaper leakage whenever I dress him in his cutest clothes dammit
posted by gakiko to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Moby moby moby! That said, maybe take the Moby in with the baby to your pediatrician, put him in it wrapped up nice & snug and see if the way you're doing it conforms with your pediatrician's expectations.

As for leakage, layers are your friend.
posted by tigerjade at 2:46 AM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

My wife used the Moby until our daughter was like 14 months old. Watch the videos and find a position that seems appropriate, and duplicate it. I promise that unless your kid is an, e.g., baby giant, he will fit fine. And also, what kind of pediatrician doesn't know what a Mobywrap is, never mind dismissing out of hand something he's never seen? Those things are popular as all get-out.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:11 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

We used wraps. They were great for that in-between time before the kids had enough head control to be upright. My favorite carry at that age was a front cross carry, but wih the baby sort of tucked into it a little sideways like a sling or cradle carry, so it supported her neck. It had better support than a sling, and held the baby a littl more upright. Also, it was easy to transition to more upright positions as the baby grew. My babies had excellent neck control quite young, and I think it was because they were wrapped from a few days old on up. (Assuming you use them correctly, Wraps are safe. Slings are safe. Bag slings are not safe. More on safe baby wearing.)
posted by instamatic at 3:16 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Boba Wrap is your friend. It's stretchy, unlike the Moby. You can carry your baby upright and have his spine curved properly at the same time - the baby's legs are folded up and the spine is curved. As an aside, arching the back, especially after feeding, can be a sign of infant reflux (I'm a broken record), please discuss it with your doctor if you think reflux could be the problem as mothers have been wearing their babies upright since the beginning of time.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:36 AM on May 30, 2013

My memories are a bit dated, but the Moby wrap wound up being the most useful for me -- I'm pretty sure I used it until my son was around 18 months or so. And he's no tiny kid.

Is there an attachment parenting group near you? I wound up going to a sling "clinic" hosted by our local group at the library which was really helpful - there's no substitute for some in-person help sometimes.
posted by pantarei70 at 4:24 AM on May 30, 2013

You can do the ergo with the infant insert
posted by zia at 4:30 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Does the pouch sling fit you correctly? If so, he should be snug and well supported but not squished. Seconding the suggestion to find an attachment parenting group who can help you get fitted. You may also look in local boutiques who sell these to see if they do fittings.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 4:30 AM on May 30, 2013

Is your doctor a chiropractor or spine specialist of some sort? Unless you baby has some unusual spasticity, I cannot see how the upright carry you describe could cause any problem.

Leaky diapers at night: try different brands or covers until you find one that works for your guy.

PS: Congratulations!
posted by SLC Mom at 5:08 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

seconding going to a baby wearing group. Here's what looks to be the LLL in your location: LLL.

That's the hard part about larger babies, so easy to hold/carry them in older kid positions. I used a basic sling but the kid was fine with the cradle positions. One thing I did was just hold the babies on the arm in the cradle/nursing position a lot when not in the sling, and slip the sling on around them (ring sling, never had a moby), supporting them in that position with my arm; the warmth and comfort of the snuggle seemed to help.

So how did this come up? Did the doctor see the baby in the sling and tell you the hold was inappropriate, or notice a problem without seeing the sling/s in action?

Leaky diapers; if cloth, use another absorbent insert. If paper, use an extra absorbent pad. Sometimes I had to adjust up or down a snap at night. but we used cute clothes or awake lounging, not sleeping.
posted by tilde at 5:19 AM on May 30, 2013

We've had great luck with the Ergo, they are available all over the place used in good condition, and if your baby is having more-than-normal issues with support, the support normally used for newborns can easily be adjusted to fit a larger kid, since the strap that determines the width of the "newborn insert" is adjustable. The insert itself is sort of like an extra seat. Maybe check out pictures of the ergo design (which isn't really sling-like) with your doctor?

Be wary about going to a babywearing group or LLL unless you are familiar with your local chapters. Many groups within both are take strident positions on a variety of child-rearing issues you may not agree with, and in many cases will be unwilling to help someone with a "babywearing" issue without adoption of an entire package of other life changes or a lot of attendant guilt. See if you know someone within any group you are looking to attend before going to a meeting where you may be singled out or "called on" issues unrelated to the relatively narrow issue you are requesting help with in a situation you might not feel comfortable leaving.

It also goes without saying that, in a choice between your doctor's advice, the advice of random people on mefi, and advice from a random mom's group, the doctor's is the advice you should take most seriously!
posted by Wylla at 5:52 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I (cis-fellow) had zero success with Moby.

Nthing the Ergo with infant insert (or the baby burrito as we call it!). In particular, we put baby in the burrito, then put it in the ergo sideways-ish, so the feet stuck out bottom left and head was near my right shoulder.

Congrats on the ginormous baby and good luck!
posted by gregglind at 6:09 AM on May 30, 2013

I generally had the best luck with a Mei Tei for carrying my babies. When they're really young, you fold up their legs (cross-legged or frog style) & they kind of nestle into the pouch. I liked our pouch, but didn't feel it gave me as much freedom to move around & do stuff while babywearing.

For leaking, try going up a size in diapers (if you're using disposables), even if the kid is technically within the weight limits for the size you currently use.
posted by belladonna at 6:21 AM on May 30, 2013

I used a Mei Tai for both my boys, earlier than that age. Like others have said, you just frog up their legs instead of them hanging out and they are comfy cozy. The Ergo has an infant insert too. I find your doctor's comment about holding them upright too often weird. Both my boys liked being upright and spent all their time like that. I almost never carried them in the "traditional" baby style....

For leaking, try a different brand, I found that going up a size often made leaking worse, but some brands leaked more than others (and it is very baby specific so what works for one doesn't work for another).
posted by katers890 at 7:13 AM on May 30, 2013

With literally *no* data to back up what he/she's said, that's kind of weird advice from a doctor and should be rejected.

That having been said, 'round these parts at least everyone uses a baby bjorn or the ergo baby with the infant insert. Our boys hated both unless they were asleep, so we just carried them and learned how to do everything one handed. I'm sure this is less safe than the concerns your doctor mentioned, but I can unsnap my pants, sit on a toilet, clean up, and resnap pants all without waking up the baby in my other arm.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:19 AM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

My baby is also long and about the same age as yours. I've had good luck with the ergo, both with the infant insert and just with the little cushion that comes at the bottom of the insert in the normal ergo to get his legs in proper position, but it might be too upright for your situation. I just yesterday used the Kangaroo Hold on my Moby and that also worked quite well for me and he was happy in it for several hours. However, my husband has yet to have any success with the moby wrap and I find it's not super trivial to use correctly which is why I generally prefer the ergo when it's not packed away in a box that I can't find.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:20 AM on May 30, 2013

When my daughter was small enough to carry, I used a very long and wide scarf/wrap/pashmina like item to carry her. It was great because I would use it as a blanket when in air conditioned places for her or a cover to the stroller. I would put her facing me, put the wrap around her, swing one side over my shoulder and one on the opposite side under the arm, bring the two ends around to the waist and tie. When she was a little bigger, I tied it under my arm and slid it to the back. If you can't find a large enough wrap to use as a carrier, you can try getting something at the fabric store. Don't use anything that is stretchy. It'll be a lot easier to have a secure tie if the fabric doesn't stretch.
posted by Yellow at 7:58 AM on May 30, 2013

I had this same problem with my baby, who was born 21.5" and is now past 26" at three months (yikes!).

First off, ours also hates to be cradled, and I've discussed it with my pediatrician. She never seemed to think it was a problem. I have never heard anything like what your doc said about being "upright too much" so it might be worth seeking a second opinion. Everything I've heard is that some kids just want to be propped up so they can look around or to relieve reflux; as long as they are properly supported this should be just fine.

So, he never loved the Moby and the cradle hold was a no-go. But because of his length, we were able to use the hug hold at about 6 weeks, and he liked that much better. You can froggy the legs up if he likes that, and you can still support his head with one of the side flaps if you just wriggle him into a slightly diagonal position. The kangaroo hold was also good, but I found that one to be a big drama to get on and only did it once.

Now we have a Baby Bjorn Miracle, which despite being an upright carrier can be used for newborns. It works very well for him and he seems to like it. The advice I got from the lady in the store was to put him in, then put my hands under his butt and kinda scoot him forward so his spine curves a little into that C-shape and it looks like he's sitting on a little seat rather than dangling.
posted by annekate at 8:02 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

My LO was 8lbs at birth and put on a pound every week, on average. He was always in the highest percentiles, so he was (is) big.

He wouldn't tolerate the ergo with the infant insert, and he wouldn't tolerate the moby. He was squished in the sling carrier as well. I gave up wearing him for a few weeks, and finally got him into the ergo without the infant insert right around 3mos. At that point he was happy as a clam and I wore him everywhere until he started crawling (which wasn't that long! He started crawling around 6-7mos).

I think if I had been more diligent about trying the moby every day or a few times a day he might have taken to it. Or, if I had found out more about side-wearing him in a sling wrap (a friend had a good experience wearing her LO that way) we would have tried that more. There are lots of youtube videos on different ways to wear both slings and the moby. Looking back, I think some of his fussiness was simply protesting this new thing. If I'd been a little more insistent about it, he might have settled down and taken to it.
posted by vignettist at 8:26 AM on May 30, 2013

My baby is huge too! When he was under three months, I wore him in a woven wrap (like a Moby, but not stretchy) in the hug hold. He didn't have any issues with his spine, but maybe you're wearing your baby a lot more? It actually seemed like his back was still rather curved though he was upright, but he was in the middle of my chest with his head below my chin instead of on my shoulder.

Then we switched to using an Ergo, which I LOVE. I've heard that you can put a smaller baby in an Ergo with just a rolled up receiving blanket under their butt. Ergos, Becos and Bobas are supposed to be much better for a young baby's developing back and hips than Chicco and Bjorn-type carriers.

I was never able to get the hang of using a sling, though I really wanted to. His head would always tip forward, with his chin on his chest, which is a big no-no.

Your son will likely stop pooping during the night within the next few months. For very heavy wetters, you can put a cloth diaper insert (just not one that has a microfiber exterior, you don't want that touching skin) in a disposable diaper for overnight.
posted by Safiya at 8:30 AM on May 30, 2013

any soft structured carrier should work. the ergo infant insert is SO hot, but would work depending on the weather where you are. I used the beco butterfly 2 (discontinued) with infant insert with my son, and now that he's big enough to ride sans-insert, I'm using the beco soleil, which there is also an infant insert available for (sold separately). all three of these inserts have a totally different design.

he still hasn't outgrown the poop leakage though!
posted by sabh at 9:18 AM on May 30, 2013

For the leakeage, have you tried going up in diaper size? My baby only ever had a few cases of leakeage that were solved going up one size even before the recommended weight was reached.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:19 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I couldn't get used to the Moby wrap, but we had great success with the action baby carrier when our son was that little. It did seem like he got really hot in there when we used it on blistering hot summer days.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 9:27 AM on May 30, 2013

For everyone mentioning heat, I would take a thin ice pack, wrap it in a light tea towel, and place it between my belly and the baby's belly. Wasn't perfect, but definitely kept us all ok through out the warm summer (2 boys, both HUGE, my youngest (still baby wearing on my back with the Ergo) is 14 months and in 24months clothes, and weighs more than most 2 year olds).
posted by katers890 at 9:56 AM on May 30, 2013

My youngest was a giant giant infant, and the Moby didn't work well for me the first few months. The Ergo was much better.

My advice is to take the baby and every carrier you have to a high-end baby gear store and start trying out holds for the owner/salesperson. (Probably call first.)
posted by gerstle at 2:20 PM on May 30, 2013

If you're willing to try cloth diapering, it totally cuts down on blowout diapers both day or night. I haven't had a single leak of poop since switching to fitted diapers and covers a month ago. And my baby is about 4 months old and she definitely still poops during the night, I had just about despaired and bought her an all-yellow wardrobe because the stains were such a bitch to get out. And of course I nth the Moby. My baby loved the Bjorn as soon as she had head control (she was also the type to love being held upright and outward facing and the Bjorn allows her to be in that position).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:29 PM on May 30, 2013

Another bearer of giant babies here, nthing the Ergo with the infant insert. Saved my back and kept Giant Baby #1 and #2 up where they wanted to be, with all the action.
posted by marmot at 9:53 AM on June 5, 2013

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