It seems pretty clear that we’re all in this together for the long haul. The COVID-19 pandemic has required drastic physical distancing and lockdown measures all over the world, leading to a dramatic shift in how we collectively manage our time and space. We compiled a list of tips, tricks and safety points to help caregivers manage the new status quo.
Baby carriers as a practical tool:
If you must go out in public with your child, a baby carrier is an excellent tool for keeping babies and toddlers close to you and away from germs on surfaces. It is also an effective way to practice physical distancing for both you and your baby. With so many big kid carriers on the market now, this is a viable option for babies and larger toddlers alike.
There are myriad babywearing accessories available these days to protect parts of your carrier that babies tend to mouth and drool on. Strap covers, ring covers, carrier bibs and outdoor carrier covers (or a simple lightweight blanket) are easy to swap out and wash as needed, minimizing the need to wash the whole carrier more than necessary. If you are washing your carrier more frequently, the manufacturer should have specific instructions- and of course washing and care guidelines should be on the product tag.
A lot of people are suddenly juggling working from home, managing older children, school work and household duties without their usual support network. A baby carrier lets you free up your hands to tackle other duties as needed. Be mindful of your own physical wellbeing right now (bending at the knees, not the waist etc)- if you are wearing more than your normally would, your muscles might feel the extra exertion.
Babywearing for connection:
Feeling the effects of social isolation? Close contact with another person increases oxytocin. You might find that babywearing provides you and your baby with a well needed feel-good hormone boost (this also works for other caregivers or siblings in the home.) Current events have everyone’s anxiety levels running higher than usual, and children feed off caregiver emotions. Sink into a little extra snuggle time for a bit of a mood-reset.
Integrating babywearing snuggles for both babies and toddlers meets their need for touch and involvement- you might find that using a baby carrier actually gives you more hands free time because baby’s touch needs have been fulfilled for a bit. Babies are often happier to engage in floor time, exersaucers, bouncers or gentle play with siblings after a period of being worn. Using this time to your advantage can help minimize risk, for example, wearing baby during dinner prep might allow you to put them down somewhere safer when cooking, an activity that is generally not recommended while babywearing.
A number of government and health organizations around the world have started recommending that the general public wear masks to reduce viral transmission. We have seen an expected uptick in requests from caregivers asking about masks for babies and toddlers. Masks are NEVER recommended for babies under 2 years old, and in some cases not for under 3 years old. Babies simply do not have the strength to regulate C02 levels and risk suffocation and rebreathing carbon monoxide. Please make sure your baby’s face is always ‘Visible & Kissable,’ uncovered with an unobstructed airway- that means no masks, carrier fabric or blankets around the baby’s face, ever.
We’re all doing our best to lighten the load on the hospital system (no one needs a trip to the ER right now!) so remember the usual precautions when babywearing: no cooking or heat sources, be extra mindful of trip and fall hazards. If you wouldn’t do an activity with a baby in arms, don’t do it with a baby in a baby carrier. If you need protective equipment, it’s not an activity to be done while babywearing.
Need a little ‘hands on’ help? Most babywearing educators and retailers have moved their services online and are able to do a video call to help with carrier choices, positioning, fit checks and advice. If you need an educator recommendation, get in touch and we will be happy to point you in the right direction!
Mask Safety 101: Why You Shouldn’t Mask a Baby
Baby Carrying in the Time of COVID-19