How to Transfer Your Sleeping Baby From the Carrier

February 13, 2017

how to transfer a sleeping baby

Last week, we talked about the amazing benefits of napping in the carrier and having a baby who is relaxed enough to put themselves to sleep in there. This week, it only seemed fair to follow up with some ideas on how to get your baby to transfer out of the carrier and into the bed/cot or wherever they might sleep at night.

Because let’s be real… as great as napping in the carrier can be, there are lots of situations where it is not ideal, like:

  • Night time. You need sleep too! And sleeping while babywearing (you – the adult, not the child) is not recommended.
  • It’s too flipping hot. It’s been a hot summer in Brisbane, what can I say?
  • You’re touched out. Seriously, this is the most common one for me. If you want nothing more than to have your own space and not be touched by another human for an hour… this 100% counts as a legitimate need.
  • Your child is heavy and you feel like you might just die if you have to support their weight any longer ;-)
  • You have places to go, people to see! You might need to go out and leave your child at home, or you might need to transfer them into their car seat.

Sleepy transfers that go well have this amazing effect of making you feel like an absolute Queen. Like you basically can’t even resist taking a selfie to document the moment. Or is that just me?

Sleepy transfers that fail… have pretty much the opposite effect. You might hate yourself for even trying. Because now, not only are you stuck with an awake child, but you spent all that time getting them to sleep only to have THIS happen. Gah!

So yes… full disclaimer… proceed at your own risk ;-)

Here are some things that might help you achieve sleepy transfer success though…


Wait until your child is asleep. You must be certain. And then wait like another 10-15 minutes. Not because they might be faking it, but because a lot of the time, deep sleep can take a while to set in. If your child isn’t deeply asleep, you are far more likely to disturb them while you put them down.

Choose the Right Carrier

If you have more than one option, go with whatever is the smoothest to get off without disrupting your child. Velcro and/or noisy buckles may wake them. I’ve had best success with a ring sling, mei tai, woven wrap, and the Manduca. A simple woven wrap carry that is easily untied works best. Kangaroo Carry was my absolute favourite option for sleepy wrap transfers because I could partially untie the carry and then lay him down on the wrap. I’ve also managed it in FWCC, Ruck, and Double Hammock. A little experimenting will help you figure out what works.

Front Carries

If your baby is old enough for back carries, you may want to return to front carries for nap time. Sleepy transfers are usually harder from your back, though not impossible.

sleeping baby on back

Set the Scene

Use the time your child is settling to sleep to get their room ready. Lights off, window and blinds closed, fan/aircon on if needed, and covers pulled back. Clear a floor space if there are noisy toys you might trip on later that might betray you!

Minimal Distractions

If there are others in your home, communicate to them that you need some quiet for a time while you settle your child to sleep. Now is NOT the time to unload/load the dishwasher :)

Keep Moving

While you are removing the carrier from around your sleeping child, keep your movements flowing. Sway a little, if you can. This will help disguise the movements that are removing your child from the carrier. :-)

Go Slow

Nothing alerts a sleeping baby like a quick or jerky movement. Do everything in slow motion! Take your time.

Keep Your Body Close

As you lay baby down, if you can, hold your body close to theirs for at least a few moments. If you co-sleep, try lying next to them for a minute or so. The transition from your body warmth and the closeness of the carrier to being alone in a bed should be as smooth and gradual as possible. If you can't physically get close to them, pat their bottom or gently rock their body to ease them into the still position of lying alone in bed. 


If none of this works, then I would suggest that you stop trying for a few weeks. I had a very, very alert newborn who only started allowing the occasional sleepy transfer when he got to around 8 months old. Until then, any attempts would wake him immediately and make him super angry and me frustrated! I stopped trying to transfer him (except to try it out on the odd occasion) and just enjoyed those sleepy cuddles as best as I could.

baby sleeping

Some days, your sleepy transfer attempts will look more like this.

Over time, he became more relaxed about sleeping on his own, and so even if he stirred a little during the transfer, he would roll over and go to sleep once he was down. From around 9-13 months, the carrier was one of the only places he would fall asleep (even at night), and we used all of the tips listed here to help ensure maximum transfer success! Some of these tips might work for you, but every child is different, so you may need to experiment to find your flow.

From around 13 months onwards, his sleeping habits changed again to prefer napping next to me in bed. Regardless of where your child is at, just do your best to follow their cues and work with them. You know your little one better than anyone, especially when it comes to their sleep. :-)


Happy babywearing & may you have many sleepy transfers!


Angela xo


P.S. Found this info handy? Please feel free to save or share it for future reference! :-)

P.P.S. If you’re really struggling with sleepy transfers or another babywearing issue, why not get in touch with Brooke? She’s a qualified babywearing consultant and VERY experienced with transferring sleepy babies/toddlers and can give you individualised tips on how to maximise your success!


Copyright Brooke Maree © 2017

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 be found and could constitute a copyright infringement and legal action. That being said, you are ALWAYS welcome to share our content, as long as you attribute and link back to the source. xxx

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