The interests of the physiological position in the wrap
Wearing Baby in a correct physiological position gives him security and helps him feel confident and active in supporting his body and clinging to the wrapper.
Being supported and rocked make Baby’s muscles relax when he’s worn and sleep is made easier. The upright position facilitates digestion, reducing acid reflux and colic.
Babies have a fundamental need of being supported and wrapped by the adult. This physical and emotional security will soothe the child when he’s worn properly, can feel the outlines of his body and doesn’t have to fight gravity to feel supported (spreading his arms and legs, sending his head backwards…).
In this position, Baby’s limbs are close together, thus allowing him to easily bring his hands to his mouth just as he did in utero but which is not so easy now because of gravity.
With his knees high up and his spine in a curve, Baby’s head is nicely supported. This avoids tensions in his neck and back, which is not mature enough to support his head.
What is the physiological position ?
This posture maintains Baby’s spine in a curve and centers his body, his limbs close together, knees and elbows bent – this position gives him a basic sense of security.
A correct posture for a newborn is what logically follows his life in utero. During his first 18 months, muscle tone and development will allow him to gradually straighten his back and stand.
Baby’s a few days old – relaxed, limbs close together :
This position also allows Baby to feel the outlines of his body, which is essential to his psychomotor development and will avoid incomfortable situations when he lacks support: arms and legs spread, head falling backwards, hands flopping around…
Baby’s a few days old – body straightened, looking for support, confused :
Keeping Baby wrapped in a respectful, stimulating of psychomotor development posture is an important aspect of babywearing. More info on the interests of a good position when wrapping.
A quick description of the physiological position :
- Limbs are bent and close together near Baby’s center of gravity
- Knees are lined up with the navel
- Pelvis is tilted forward
- Spine is in a curve
- Head is lined with spine
- Head doesn’t fall forward nor backward, and doesn’t loll sideways
- Ankles aren’t turned away from the tibias and femurs
- Before Baby reaches 3-4 months, his knees open only as wide as his pelvis
- After 3-4 months (when Baby can grab his feet on his own) the space between the knees can be wider, Baby can straddle the wrapper.
Baby younger than 3-4 months, waking moment :
Baby after 4 months, awake, hip carry :
An example of bad positioning, Baby’s hanging in the wrap, dangles. This is what you shouldn’t do :
What is the best carry for a newborn?
Don’t know which carry to use? Check out these selected videos for the best positions during Baby’s first 4 months.
We recommend the following carries for several reasons:
- the legs and arms are brought together
- Baby is firmly maintained under his bottom
- the spinal curve is preserved
- the head is lined with the spine: it doesn’t flop in any direction
- the natural froglegged position isn’t bothered by fabric between the legs
The Vertical/Seated Cradle Carry (change shoulders regularly):
The Front Carry, Double Hammock style (front PWCC):
Off-Center Front Carry:
More videos are available in the Tutorial Videos part.
My baby’s just one month old. Which front carries should I use to avoid forcing his legs into a squat?
You should use carries in which the fabric goes UNDER Baby’s thighs, and not BETWEEN them,
This way, there are no risks of overspreading Baby’s legs.
For a Baby younger than 3-4 months, the knees should be bent and always be lined up with the width of his pelvis when he’s froglegged in the wrap.
This is how Baby should be positioned under the wrap :
How do I know my baby’s legs aren’t forced into a squat?
The way the knees are spread changes as Baby grows up.
- Before he reaches 3-4 months, Baby’s knees should be open as wide as his pelvis, with his ankles on the same axis as his knees. When you hold him in your arms you can see he snuggles on your chest: this is the most physiological position for him.
- At about 3-4 months, as Baby discovers new motor skills, he can grab his ankles and naturally open his pelvis, he can now «embrace» the wrapper with his knees.
- The wrapper’s body type is also important for the position.
When baby’s on my back, how can I get his knees to remain at hip level?
Sometimes baby wriggles or tenses when you tie the wrap and he can lose his natural sitting position. Invite him to go back to a deep squat as you tie the Double Hammock, rock him gently and tell him what you expect him to do.
A few tips to preserve the spread squat position :
- Use the Santa toss to put Baby on your back, you can put fabric between his legs from the start so his knees are in the right position from the beginning.
- Don’t lean forward too much, otherwise Baby can get dizzy and he’ll want to push on his hands to regain his balance. Stand straight and look far in front of you as you tie the wrap.
- Support Baby’s buttocks as you tie the wrap so he keeps the spread squat position. Rock gently.
- Grab the soles of his feet, get some slack, stand straight and push the knees up.
- There can also be tricky, sensitive times. When he starts walking, Baby will want to explore verticality, balance and space for himself. He will be less cooperative and may not want to be worn unless he needs to (to see things he cannot walk to on hiw own, to rest…). Talk to him, explain, give him a (soft) toy.
How should I position my baby’s head in front carries?
A newborn cannot move his head to relieve muscular tensions, so the wrapper should be careful about the position of his head to avoid any discomfort..
The wrapper’s body type can affect the way Baby is positioned. Don’t be afraid to try carrying your Baby in your arms and see where on your upper body his head and spine can be properly positioned.
Pay extra attention to the way the head is lined up with the spine:
- Head tilted to the side (ear to shoulder) VS correct positioning:
- Head falling backward VS correct positioning:
- Head falling to the front (chin on chest) VS correct positioning:
If your Baby’s asleep with his head turned to one side, you can regularly help him change side to anticipate and relieve tensions.
How do I preserve the natural curve of my baby’s back?
How old is your Baby?
If Baby’s younger than 4-5 months, his back may not be in a curve because:
- He just woke up, he’s stretching
- He’s fussing
- He needs to pee
- Straightening his back, and trying to find support can be a way of expressing his anger or discomfort
If Baby’older than 4-5 months :
He has acquired better head control and stays awake for longer periods of time. When he’s worn during waking moments, he may straighten his spine even if he’s in a correct position. That is quite normal, the spine will go back to a rounded shape when he’s sleeping – this guarantees good back support.
7 months-old Baby, awake and looking around – his back is straight :
7 months-old Baby, just waking up and not active yet. He’s nursing, his spine is in a curve :
Can I wear my Baby facing forward?
- Should be done only inside the house for quiet moments (eating together, playing quietly…)
- Are in NO WAY meant for transport or walking
- Much less for busy, crowded places
- Aren’t meant for long periods of time (max. 20 min.)
- Need you to be extra careful for Baby’s signs of overstimulation
Hip or back carries allow your Baby to have a broad field of vision and embrace the world just the same, while being more respectful of his posture and giving him the possibility to rest quietly against you.
Safety rules here.
Is it better to do kangaroo carries or cross carries with a newborn?
JPMBB tutorials videos will give you information and tips for a respectful, flexible babywearing.
Kangaroo Carry needs you to hold baby with one hand while you tie the wrap, but it gives you the possibility to evenly adjust the tension from rail to rail.
Kangaroo Carries cannot be done with the JPMBB wrap, but Front Double Hammock can be adjusted in just the same way.
You can also wear your baby in a Front Carry, Double Hammock style (front PWCC). Although it’s not as precise, it’s an interesting carry depending on baby’s age.
Pre-tying Advanced PWCC makes front carries easy – you can put baby in a Vertical / Seated Cradle or Off-Center Front Carry, or even nurse without having to adjust Advanced PWCC.
Off-Center Front Carry is another natural position for the baby, whose head come and lies against wrapper’s shoulder, just as if he were carried on his arm.
Front Double Hammock, which allows a rail to rail adjustment. (JPMBB short wrap)
My baby was born with hip dysplasia. Which carries do you recommend?
As with any other pathology, any treatment or solution must be discussed with your health specialist first.
If your baby needs to wear a special brace, you may not be able to do all the carries.
Hip carries are generally the most recommended positions. Don’t carry in the Seated Cradle.
Can you recommend a particular carry for my baby who suffers from acid reflux?
Whatever you do, consult your pediatrician, physical therapist or osteopath first.
Pediatricians usually recommend holding babies who suffer from acid reflux in a vertical position as often as possible.
The wrap can be of great help in such circumstances.
You can do any carry that’s appropriate for your baby’s age.
Cradle Carry is the only one that you SHOULD NOT use. You can Nurse vertically