Carrying a baby facing forward
There are various ways to place your baby facing forward in a baby carrier but also a few issues to consider.
The first problem with facing forward is that it's difficult to sit the baby in a frog-like position which keeps its spine in a curved position as you can do when they are facing you. Their legs tend to be dangling down.
It's also less comfortable for the parent as the weight of the baby is further forward and the parent tends to compensate by leaning back. Keep forward facing carries to short periods of time as they can become uncomfortable after a while for both parent and baby.
The nice thing about the baby facing you is that they can "read" your reactions and slowly make sense of the world by understanding how you react. The outside world is noisy for a baby, eg the sirens of the fire engine hurl past you in the street, it can be scary for a little one but you're not scared, your heart beat stays the same, you can tell your baby, it's just a fire engine on its way to help someone. It's more difficult to offer that protection when they are not facing you.
When the baby is placed facing forward in the sling, he can't even see you. All he can see is lots of people moving fast around them, bright colours. It can extremely overwhelming for a small child.
When the child has had enough stimulation from the bright, noisy outside world, he can curl into you, close their eyes, fall asleep if he needs to. In that position, they can find almost find the sensations they experienced in the womb: it's warm, the sounds are muffled, the light is dimmed. Again, that cocoon is easier to achieve when they are facing you.
However it's still possible to carry a baby facing forward
1- Place the baby in a normal front wrap cross carry facing forward instead of facing you. You will often see children carried this way in a commercial baby carrier. The baby's back tends to arch and his legs are dangling down. Keep it for shorter time periods.
2-You can also sit the baby in a buddha position, with their legs folded. Place the baby sitting in the pocket of the front wrap cross carry. This position keeps the baby's spine curved.
If you feel your baby is ready to discover the world and get a better view of what's going on around him, think about carrying your baby on your back. You can carry the baby high enough so that they can see above your head.
Their spine is kept curved, it's a lot more comfortable for you especially as they grow heavier, he can still shut out the world and fall asleep when he needs to. You two can still chat away about what's happening around you.
Thank you to Caroline and Viktor for the lovely photo.