Some babies love being carried in a carrier. Other babies might need a bit of convincing. Like anything you do with baby, your little one requires attention. It is not necessarily the carrier that they dislike, but rather the lack of entertainment. An advantage of front carriers is that eye contact is possible. Staring at mum or dad is a great way to make any baby happy. You can easily entertain your baby by pulling funny faces! Remember that your face is an “interesting object” for your baby, and will be one of your newborn’s favorite toys. The newborn baby’s visual sense is still developing, and he or she are able to best focus on things 20.3–30.5 cm (8–12 inches) from their face. With older babies you can point out simple things like the leaves on the trees, the aeroplane in the sky, the boat in the Marina or the metro going over the bridge. All babies love to be told how much you love them whilst being held tight in a baby carrier.
Tight & Comfy
Your first step in keeping baby happy is to make sure the carrier is tight so baby feels secure. You want your little one in an optimal M-position (read more over here), make sure the neck is supported and that nothing is pinching or causing discomfort. Baby's bottom should be above your belly button and the top of their head close enough to kiss. Now you can play the kissing game and let your little one feel loved and cared for!
Do not underestimate your own comfort. When your carrier is tight, it is part of your center of gravity and therefore more comfy for you too! Make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed in the carrier as baby will feed off your vibes. So if you are feeling nervous and anxious about your baby liking the carrier, they will mirror your nerves and anxiety and seem fussy. If this is the case take the focus off them and chat with a friend. That being said, when everyone has calmed down, babies love to be talked to and have their attention focused on you.
Toys & Noise
The easiest way to put your little one at ease is to take a comfort object or toy with when you are leaving the house. But be warned, don't take too much. The idea is to free your hands and not fill them with 100's of toys right? Having on the go entertainment is different when compared to sitting down and playing at home. Offer interesting things to look at, it also helps if they have a clip on them that you can clip to the baby carrier. Taking toys with strongly contrasting colors (black, red, white) will help keep a baby’s attention and stimulate his developing sense of vision. Brightly colored objects, contrasting patterns, and things that move are entertaining for a baby to look at. You can also hold an object in front of your baby’s face, and slowly move it back and forth. The baby’s gaze will likely follow the object happily.
If you have a newborn a bit of white noise goes a long way; gently shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh in their ear. When older, find a noisemaker. Most babies love to explore sounds. A baby is easily entertained by something that makes a sound. Think keys, plastic rattles, maracas, or homemade rattles that you make yourself out of a tupperware container filled with dried rice or beans
Sing and dance
Sing songs with your baby. Your voice will be the most soothing sound for your baby early on. If you don't want to sing, tell a story. Babies are comforted by the sound of familiar voice - use it! Babies and infants love repetition too, so making little musical sounds over and over will be very entertaining. Rocking your baby as you sing will make the activity more engaging for the baby. Dance around! Babies love the motion and may even fall asleep. You will be also stimulating their vestibular system (sense of motion) too.
Snacks and Chewing
Never underestimate the power of a baby snack. Fruit packs or drink options are a great way to keep your little one happy in a carrier. Food pouches are great - you can buy pre-made one-and-done pack or fill them yourself. Never leave the house without a drink. Teething babies LOVE to chew! So give them something to chew on like Hoolikids teether or a necklace. We also have some gorgeous necklaces from Babylu too.
No matter how you choose to entertain your baby, the connection that develops between you and baby is priceless. Play is always known to create bonds, and the play between a parent and their baby can create the strongest bonds. If you find baby falls asleep, let them be! It's OK for them to take their daytime naps in the carrier (just make sure they are facing you and not outwards so you can see their face). Grab a cuppa and treat yourself to a break too, you deserve it!