Why Napping in the Carrier is a GOOD Thing

February 06, 2017 5 Comments

HELP! My baby keeps falling asleep while they’re in the carrier!

Or perhaps more accurately…

My baby will only fall asleep in the carrier!

 babywearing back carrying napping baby sleep carrier

If you’re terrified that your little darling is getting set up for terrible habits and might just never sleep without being attached to you or in a carrier, please read on.

As a babywearing mum, carriers are my go-to in so many situations…

  • Hands-free shopping
  • Bush walking
  • Walking basically anywhere
  • Settling a cranky baby/toddler
  • Giving cuddles when I’m busy… and…
  • Inducing naps!

I did a quick Google on “napping in the carrier” and came up with so many blogs, forum posts, and even “experts” saying that napping in the carrier is a Terrible Really Bad Thing. Because you’ll teach your baby bad habits, which is basically the end of the world. And nobody wants a baby with Bad Habits.

Yikes. So have I basically screwed up my toddler for life here?

Ahhh… no.

Napping in the Carrier is Normal

It’s time to start looking at baby’s sleep differently. More realistically. Because it’s actually biologically normal for babies (and often even toddlers) to want to sleep near or on their mum or another caregiver. If you think about it, it totally makes sense.

babywearing quote sleep

Babies are born totally helpless and dependent. They can’t do ANYTHING for themselves. They depend on you for survival.

And actually, they’ve been shown to only start to understand that they are separate from their mother’s body when they’re around 8 months old. So when you’re apart from them at any time, it’s like a part of them is missing. Are you crying yet? Just joking. ;-)

But in all seriousness, you shouldn’t be at all surprised that your baby likes to nap on you or in the carrier. Or that they seem to fall asleep more easily that way. And quite possibly don’t get too happy if you try to put them down in the cot. Because when you’re there, they know that they’re going to survive their next pang of hunger/thirst, that you’re going to protect them from the environment they’re in, and that they will stay warm and safe.

So first thing’s first: napping in a carrier is NORMAL and definitely not bad.

Napping in the Carrier is Good

Let’s go one step further, because in my experience, not only is a good ole carrier nap a normal thing for your baby to do, it’s actually good for them and you.

Let’s start with your baby. When they’re in the carrier, as opposed to napping lying down, a whole bunch of things are happening that would otherwise not:

  • Their breathing is regulated by yours (SIDS protection!)
  • They can hear you and learn from what you are saying and doing
  • They can keep on bonding with you
  • They are less likely to develop a flat spot as they spend less time lying on a flat surface
  • Your movements help them develop an awareness of their own muscles as they use them to correct their position subconsciously

But it’s really not just about the baby. Mama (and papa!) you are super important too. And getting your baby to nap in a carrier has a whole lot of benefits for you:

  • Once again, bonding! Spending that time close to your baby and noticing their cues early is going to help your relationship blossom.
  • You can stop stressing about putting them to sleep – often if baby is comfortable enough in the carrier, they will naturally fall asleep on their own when they are ready.
  • You can stop stressing about putting them down – avoid one of the most frustrating things you can do… spending precious time putting that baby to sleep only to have them wake up in the cot!
  • Get more flexibility to your schedule. If baby naps in the carrier, you can stay out longer in environments that aren’t otherwise ideal for sleep.
  • Having baby settle in the carrier might even mean a date night is on the cards… leave baby and the carrier with a grandparent, and off you go!
  • Finally, when you use the carrier for day naps, especially when your little one is super small, they will stay better rested and calmer during the day, which will make getting them down at night time a lot easier (definitely true in my experience).

babywearing infographic why nap in baby carrier sleep

Babies Can’t Be Spoiled

I get the sense that part of this “bad habit” myth has really stemmed from the thought that babies who are carried a lot are spoiled. Nobody wants their child to be the one tantrumming and stomping their feet in a public place because you aren’t giving them what they want, right? And in order to avoid that situation in 5 years’ time, you have to be SUPER careful to not hold your baby too much. Like, you can pick them up and put them in the cot, or on the floor, or in the pram or something, but if you hold them for more than two minutes at a time, you’re basically doomed to be that parent. The one buying a lollipop for their screaming brat child.

Can you see how ridiculous that is?

You see, babies don’t manipulate. They only communicate their needs as best as they can. Usually by crying or clinging onto you… until they figure out speech, anyway. The fact remains that babies NEED to be held. They don’t just want it. It is super beneficial to their development and they know and demand it! Give into their demands as much as you can. It won’t make them a terrible child or you a terrible parent. Quite the opposite :).

So don’t be afraid of spoiling your child by letting them take naps on you or in the carrier.

Habits Will Form and Break Constantly

If you take away one thing from this article, please let it be this. Your child will form habits. And then break them. Over and over again. Usually without much input from you. It’s not so much about you, but about their development and their needs, which change constantly.

One week, they’ll be in the habit of sleeping in the carrier, the next week, they’ll all-out refuse to sleep anywhere except their cot. Or toddler bed. Or your arms. And a week or so later, it will all change again. Yep, I’m definitely speaking from experience here.

I’ve learned to try and embrace each new phase as much as I can and not fight it. Because if anyone is going to win the fight, it will be your baby. ;-)

Final Words & Disclaimer…

If you have one of those unicorn babies that falls asleep on their own without any drama… oh my gosh. You're so lucky! Enjoy it. Enjoy the peace and quiet and space while they nap!

Napping in a carrier isn’t for absolutely everyone, but for most babies, it is normal, good, and in time, it too shall pass! As with everything else, it’s about listening to your instincts and following your baby’s cues.

If you’re stuck looking for the perfect nap-inducing carrier, I have you covered! I have plenty to choose from on my website via the SHOP tab, and please feel free to request personalised assistance with choosing the best option for your little family.

Happy babywearing & carrier napping!


P.S. Found this info handy? Please feel free to share it :-)

Copyright Brooke Maree © 2019

Being a copycat or blatantly stealing is never cool. There is a fine line between inspiration and stealing, so please be respectful, honest, and full of integrity when sharing this piece of writing or using its information. Many hours of work, planning, and editing goes into our pieces to ensure the highest quality first-hand information. Any of our work that is plagiarised will likely be found and brought to attention. That being said, you are ALWAYS welcome to share our content, as long as you attribute and link back to the source. xxx

5 Responses


April 11, 2023

With travelling so much and even camping the first 4 months outside the womb has been the most practical with baby in the wrap. She’s now 7 months old and still has her naps in the wrap, and only in the wrap (sleep prop). To me it’s a mixture of precious and frustrating – she’s growing bigger and heavier but I know this time for snuggles will pass. I’m glad I’m not the only one going through this, as everyone else seems to say that we’re doing something bad, or that it restricts their freedom too much having the baby on them the whole time. While there are pros and cons to both sides, holding them close while we can is something we can never go back to.. Thank you for sharing your experience in this article.


April 11, 2023

Absolutely love this post! With two toddlers running around, napping in a carrier has become a must for my newborn…!

Heather J Casey
Heather J Casey

May 02, 2020

Thank you, my six week old hates to be put down, and constantly wants to be touching me. Using a carrier keeps her calm and and she sleeps peacefully no matter where we are or what I am doing. I haven’t had any luck getting my little one to nap in her bassinet no matter what we do to soothe her. At least she is getting the sleep she needs to grow.


May 30, 2019

Thank you so much for this. I never could carry my first due to medical reasons. But have found now with my second I can. However feel very guilty about not having the day sleeps in the cot. But your right everything will change I will just enjoy the cuddles. And try to block out any negativity.


April 19, 2019

THANK YOU for this! Super helpful and reassuring. I love the part about how our babies will continue to break habits. It’s beenworking for us to have my baby nap on me in the carrier. It gives her a good rest and I get snuggles while having the freedom to do things! So funny that she doesn’t like napping alone but is happy to sleep on me with music on, vacuuming, etc!!! Goes to show how much she likes/needs it :)

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in News

Babywearing and Hip Dysplasia

October 18, 2021

Many parents wonder if they can still use a baby carrier if their baby is in a brace and being treated for Hip Dysplasia. The short answer is usually always yes! Which is great news. It’s about finding a suitable carrier style that is comfortable for you and your baby whilst they are in the brace.

View full article →

Toddler Baby Carriers

May 02, 2021

There's always a point when your toddler or preschooler's legs get tired and they just want you to pick them up. Thankfully there's many baby carrier options out there that I can tell you about! And there's many more benefits to carrying your toddler too, not just saving those tired legs! 

View full article →

What are TICKS Babywearing Safety Guidelines?

February 05, 2021

Saftey is the #1 priority when carrying your baby no matter the age of your baby or how experienced you are. You need to do a TICKS safety check every time you set your baby up in your carrier, wrap, or sling.

View full article →