So I read a lot about high back carries, and how baby must be high on mothers back to be safe. In my early baby wearing days before I perfected this art I struggled to get my back carries to an acceptably high level, the one carry I could wrap my head around was the back wrap cross carry and it is one that will naturally sit a little lower. Both the passes come under your arms therefore it is much harder to achieve a really high back carry. I was feeling judged from within the baby wearing community, whenever I posted a photo it got the comments “that’s great but baby needs to be higher”. Technically they are right that in order to achieve the TICKS safe baby wearing guidelines you need to have baby high on your back so they are in view at all times. However my personal opinion is that when done with awareness a lower back carry can be perfectly safe
Yes for a young baby less than 4 months they are best to be carried on mama’s front where they are easily viable and mama can achieve the TICKS guidelines however if the mama is an experienced baby wearer it is okay to do a nice high single layer back carry, Such as a ruck with a young baby or newborn. When they are up nice and high you can feel them breathing and easily turn your head to monitor them. Why a single layer back carry you ask? Because with a young baby it is best to maintain the ‘C’ curve of the spine, if the carry has multiple passes crossing the back then this can put pressure on the spine of a young baby. See how the mama in the photo below can easily monitor her 6 week old in this position?
However…I believe lower back carries are safe. If you baby can sit independently then yes you can carry them lower on your back. Many mothers find as baby starts to get heavy they like to lower the center of gravity a little for their own comfort. Just remember to keep their head free of the material and the material of the wrap needs to be right up to the back of the neck for head support. For thousands of years women have been carrying babies in a simple piece of cloth in either a single rebozo or torso carry.
Here you can see the level my 6 month old sat at in a back wrap cross carry, yes he is lower but with awareness I am able to back carry him at a lower level quite safely, I use a small mirror to check on him.
Once my baby was sitting up on his own I even ventured into torso carries, this is an advanced carry but one I find very comfortable.
link to TICKS Guidelines for safe baby wearing can be found here http://www.pixiemama.com.au/baby-wearing-info
Back wrap cross carry photo was taken by http://www.belleverdiglionephotography.com.au/