If you are using a carrier or wrap – as opposed to a sling which may offer less options – one of the big questions is how to carry them: facing forward or backward? For infants there isn’t really a choice. They need to be prone. For older children though you get more a choice. So which way is best for you?
This is assuming that there isn’t some sort of medical/injury reason that will prevent certain positions. Hopefully that isn’t the case.
Facing Forward but On the Back
One common position for many carriers is having your child on your back. This can often be more comfortable, after all it is more natural for people to carry loads on their backs, but the downside is that you cannot see your child without turning your head, if at all.
And, to a limited degree, out of site out of mind – having them out of your site generally leads to less talking and communication. It is subconscious, unfortunately.
From your baby’s perspectives they will get to see what you see, going forward. It makes it easy to point things out to them.
Facing Backwards, Towards You
Your baby is going backwards but they don’t care. They get to see and talk to you! Having your baby constantly in your line of site naturally results in a lot more talking from you to your baby. You can talk about where you’re going and what you see. You can even feed your child on the go – easier anyway.
And if there are any problems – from a runny nose to signs something is spooking your baby – you’ll be able to notice much faster. The downside is that your baby won’t see as much of the world – they’ll mainly be looking at you.
Your baby gets a clear, unobstructed view, of the world! They’ll be easily able to see where they are going and what is around (or at least in front) of them! Many kids really love that.
The cons are that you don’t get to see your child’s face, with all the things that implies. That said, it isn’t as bad as having your child on your back. You are much more aware of your child, hence you will speak to them more, although the communication is mainly one way. You’re still aware of issues or problems, but maybe not as quickly.
From a pro and con perspective it is a bit of a cross between the first two options.
What Works Best?
So what works best? There’s no solid answer. The ease of carrying your child on your back might overrule all other options. Or the desire to be able to see your baby might see you prefer carrying them on your front (especially when they are younger).
Assuming you have no solid preference either way then let your child decide! Try different positions and see if they react to one more than the other. Do they make more sounds or seem happier facing one way or the other? Their preference might change over time.
So the answer is: find out what works for you and your baby!
For me, personally, I prefer carrying kids facing me so I can interact better. My baby really preferred facing the world at first, they were much more settled so I went with that. Over time, as they could turn their head and body more they became happier facing me. Like I said, preferences might change.