When can I carry after…?

Some of the most common queries I read are:

  • When can I carry after a c-sec?
  • When can I carry after giving birth?
  • When can I back carry?
  • When can I carry my baby?

There are others, but largely they fit into these categories. What they all have in common is they are all start “when can I”.

I have seen various responses to all of these questions over the years. Some of these have been worded better than others and some have just made no sense. Each time I read them (and more often or not reply), I think “I’ll blog about that”. Well, ta da. The key to all of these questions is you. There is no right or wrong for any of them. It is to do with you; your comfort, your confidence and your ability.

I have talked in detail about carrying after a caesarean in a separate blog so will focus primarily on the others here. However, in summary, as long as your feel comfortable to carry and there is no medical reason or complication, you can carry as soon as you want. This maybe the same day, day 7 or even 7 months, it’s your body, your baby and your choice.

When can I carry after giving birth?

Although the most common query I see here is regarding a caesarean birth, having a “normal” birth doesn’t mean that you can always carry immediately either. For many women, after a uncomplicated birth they may be quite comfortable to carry their new baby straight away. For others though, pre-birth, birth or post-birth complications or interventions can make using a sling the last thing you want to do. You do not need to wait till your 8 week check, after all a new baby wants carrying then, not in 4,5,6,7 or 8 weeks time.I have been in both camps. Following the birth of my eldest, I haemorrhaged and felt very unwell. It took me until 3 weeks after his birth (basically his actual due date), to feel comfortable holding him in arms let alone use the carrier we had. Isaac on the other hand was carried 8 hours post birth and he would he been worn earlier if he hadn’t arrived in the middle of the night. Both of these deliveries were technically “normal” vaginal deliveries but both could not have been more different or left me feeling more different. It was my knowledge of carrying by the time I gave birth to Isaac that gave me the confidence to carry him from the start. This does not mean that the “delay” I had in carrying Henry was the wrong thing, far from it, it was the right thing for me at the time. I listened to my body and went with it.

Listen to your body. Try it, if it is uncomfortable on day 1 try again in a few days. Be prepared that when ever you do start to carry that your body will need time to adjust. You are beginning a new form of exercise and as such your body needs to get used to it. Taking care not to over do it. There can be a feeling that we must get back to “normal” as quickly as possible after giving birth but remember you have just grown a new human being, your body has just gone through some major changes and there are lots of hormone changes that need to settle. It is perfectly ok to say something isn’t right for me today and to rest and allow yourself time to recover.

When can I carry my baby?

Newborn babies primary comfort zone is in the arms of their caregiver. Our chest and arms mean they are safe and this is why babies want and need to be held. It may seem odd but I am often asked if a parent is “allowed” to carry their baby. This can come in the form of questions regarding the age or size of the baby. It is understandable that new parents can be nervous about doing something wrong or hurting their precious bundle.

Fundamentally though, their is no minimum (or maximum) age or really minimum weight. For extremely premature or low birth weight babies, not all carriers will be suitable but that is where carrying consultants come in. We know what is suitable and what can be used and will work with you to find a solution. We may not be able to address your and their needs in a 10 minute Sling Library slot but we can use our expertise to support you. This may initially just be by providing the options that are available or more information on carrying, or it could be finding you a sling and teaching you to use it safely and confidently.

When can I back carry?

This one is controversial! There are some schools, primarily based on the continent, who will not teach back carrying to babies that cannot sit unaided, or who will not teach multilayer carries or show buckle carriers etc. This blanket “No” approach does not fit with me and most UK consultants. We want parents to feel empowered to do what is right for them and their family. The key once again is you. Do you have the skills needed (or willingness to learn them) to get your baby on and off your back safely? Are you confident you can monitor them? Is the environment in which you want to learn/try a safe and supportive one? If yes, then carrying them on your back can make life easier for you in some instances but it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong by continuing to front carry. There is no best before date on back carrying.

I hope this blog will give you a little confidence to try something new. Carrying your little one can be an amazing experience. It can allow you to feel empowered and maybe even a little bit like Super Mum. But do it when you feel ready. Don’t feel disheartened if it doesn’t work straight away or think that because you haven’t carried them before that you have done something wrong or that you can’t start now. As Mums, we simply do what is best for our babies at that moment in time and what is best can change minute by minute, week to week.



Reblogging this because this is the running group it talks about is the one that have got me back into running.


A while ago I wrote a post called ‘What’s My Motivation?’ where I talked about joining a running group. Much to everyone’s surprise (not least my own…), I’m still going along each week. It’s a fantastic group and I thought you might like to know a little more about it. I’m really pleased that the brilliant Kate Macpherson, who leads Durham Mums on the Run, has written a guest post for Each Small Footstep. Enjoy!

DMOTR LOGO Laura invited me to write a guest blog about Durham Mums on the Run ages ago and although it’s been on my ‘to-do’ list, I’ve never managed to sit down and actually write it. However, this week is our third birthday, which has made me pause and think about how we started and what we’ve achieved in the past three years.

Our Twitter account says that we are a ‘running community for women who love…

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Meet our new consultants

Two weeks ago, I wrote to say how I had revisited two days of the Slingababy consultancy training and how it had completely ‘blown my mind’. Of the 6 women completing the course for the first time, 2 were peer supporters with NESL. Madeleine and Suzie had both completed the Born to Carry Peer Support course with me but wanted to develop their skills, both for their own professional development and the benefit of NESL. Many users of the library will have met one or both of these two wonderful women. They are dedicated to the library and firm friends. So this post is about them and gives you the opportunity to learn a little more about them. They are both insured to offer consultations as well as supporting at the sling library.

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Christmas at the sling library

christmas-2961385_1280.jpgThe nights have firmly drawn in and everywhere there are little hints that Christmas is only a month away. Personally, I am ignoring that fact as I have only purchased 5 gifts. However, the arrival of the festive season also brings our annual Christmas closure.

Our last session of 2017 will be Wednesday 20th December in North Shields. From January, our North Shields session will be running just once a month as Madeleine will be taking over running of our Killingworth session.

December Sling Library Sessions

Friday 1st December – Ace Playce, Killingworth 1.30-3pm (with Madeleine).

Wednesday 6th December – Birth and Baby, North Shields (this session won’t run from January) 9.30am-12pm.

Thursday 7th December – Tesco Consett, Genesis Retail Park, Consett 1.15-2.45pm.

Friday 8th December – Miss Tina’s Washington 1.30-2.45pm

Saturday 9th December – Saturday Slings at Home 2-4pm

Wednesday 20th December – Birth and Baby, North Shields 9.30am – 12pm.

There will be no session on Saturday 23rd December – sorry folks but I’ll be in mad panic mode for the big day.

We will reopen for Sling Library Drop in sessions in Consett on 4th January 2018. Postal hire will be unavailable between 23rd December and 2nd January.

Slings hired on Saturday 25th November for  £10 will benefit from 3 extra weeks sling hire. That’s almost a month for FREE! Those hired from Birth and Baby on 6th December will also gain 2 weeks extra hire to take them to when this session restarts in New Year.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Rachel and all at NESL



Mind blown – a weekend of revision and new learning.

Several of the team here at NESL HQ have today figuratively had our minds blown. Since Friday, Suzie and Madeleine (along with 4 other ladies) have been completing their Slingababy Consultancy training (more details of that to come direct from them in next few days). For them this meant a trip to Birtley and the Thought Foundation Building, rather than a road trip to Rugby. The 4 days of this course when I completed it in 2014 completely changed how I function and work as a consultant, I hope they are having similar revelations. From the expressions I have witnessed from both, I think it is safe they have!

One of the reasons I am such a strong advocate for training with Slingababy is that once you have completed the course you can reattend as many times as you wish. With a course arranged just 20 minutes from my home, it meant I had the opportunity to reattend for the first time. Due to work commitments, this means I have been only able to attend days 2 and 3 but those two days have been amazing. Despite already completing this course, I cannot believe how much I taken onboard over the past two days. My brain is in overdrive as it processes the information it’s received and makes connections between my past learning and experience, and what I have learned this weekend.

Here is just a sneak peak at what we have been up to. As of Tuesday, Madeleine and Suzie will both be available for 1:1 appointments and they have some plans up their sleeves too.