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We don't intend to purchase a stroller. We intend to purchase a back pack baby carrier. At what minimum age is it considered safe to put the baby in the back pack?

I think just born babies can not be put in the back packs since they can't support their heads(?). At that age we have no choice other than to carry him in our hands? Do we?

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never had success with back packs with our kid. wish had never got the thing –  tgkprog Apr 18 '13 at 4:36
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

We used a Close Baby sling from very early on in our daughter's life. I would NOT recommend a backpack sling because you want to have immediate access to your baby and be able to see if they're getting into trouble, but I assume this kind of thing is what you meant.

The straps are designed to support the head, which assuages your concerns about head support. As it says on the site, it's suitable for any babies over 5lb (2.27kg), as long as you choose the right position. (As a bonus, my partner found she could feed the baby in that position)

Critically, the manufacturer's guidelines are not a replacement for observing your child. I found that initially, you still couldn't do too much with my daughter in the sling without worrying that she'd gone very still (every time it turned out she'd fallen asleep), as the straps neatly hid her head, and tiny babies sleep silently. Similarly, if she'd seemed uncomfortable or struggling, or if the sling wasn't holding her closely enough, then that would have been the point to stop for a while.

As she got a bit bigger, and we stopped (irrationally) worrying so much that she'd just suddenly decide to stop breathing, you find that, depending on the baby, you can do quite a lot while they're in the sling.

Finally, as an aside, you need to be aware of the limitations of on-person carriers vs strollers. Specifically, that when on the go, you cannot put the baby down to do something. If you're sitting down or get tired or sick while out, you can't put the baby down, and this limits what you can do. (e.g. if you need to vomit, you're really in trouble). We found our stroller invaluable, especially as she got older and thus BIGGER and more curious. An 8-month old struggling to get out of your backpack is a very different thing than an 8-month old struggling to get out of a stroller.

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This is a great answer. Slings and baby carriers are fantastic, but they do have their limitations. Cooking hot food is another thing that's nigh on impossible with a sling-baby. –  Vicky Apr 17 '13 at 11:50
    
Bending over to do practically anything is difficult as well. Even if you support the baby while you're bending. Still, we used a Moby for both our babies and found it invaluable up to a certain age. –  Meg Coates Apr 17 '13 at 13:29
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@Vicky To be fair, I can't think of a time you'd be cooking hot food with the baby in a stroller either... :-D possibly a barbeque? –  deworde Apr 17 '13 at 13:50
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LOL, OK :-) Seriously, though, a stroller can be used as a temporary restraint / playpen in a way that a sling can't, which I think was your point - one could imagine bringing the stroller into the kitchen to corral the baby temporarily while dealing with hot food. –  Vicky Apr 17 '13 at 14:11
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I assume you mean shift the centre of gravity. There's certainly weight and reach issues from having 8lbs of baby strapped to your chest. As Meg points out above, bending forward and then standing up is obviously more difficult, but you quickly learn with a newborn to crouch and lift with your legs, or you'd end up with quite severe backpain anyway. And most of those issues would be similar with a backpack, the pressure's in much the same place. Another thing, I can sit down in a chair while wearing the sling, whereas a backpack I'd have to take off. –  deworde Apr 18 '13 at 8:19
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We only put our daughter into a backpack carrier at a year old for the reason you mention - not being able to hold her head up well when bounced around and also being a bit small for one.

Before that we used the Baby Bjorn front carrier, which she still fits at 13 months. It's pricey, but very comfortable for parent and child and really easy to use. Obviously cooking and hot drinks are a no-no when using this.

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A small baby can face their parent and have their head supported. You can keep a close eye on them and hear/feel their breathing. When they get a little older and can support their own head, you fold the front down and they can see where they're going (our daughter loves this).

You can do a certain amount of non-dangerous housework in this situation. I've done the vacuuming with our daughter. It's hard work and you have to be careful, but she seems to like it better than being left alone.

A cheaper option that is good from newborn is the BabaSling.

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This is a bit more fiddly to use, especially if you intend to lean over or do any housework, but if you're careful it can work.

There are many other similar options to those described above, so look around. Some particularly skillful people fold a special shawl around themselves and their baby making a really cosy carrier. I wouldn't be confident enough that I could make it safe, so I prefer the idiot-proof options above.

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thanks for the pictures. –  TheIndependentAquarius Apr 24 '13 at 14:34
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