Concealed carry with or around kids can be quite challenging. Understandably, parents need to be able to do a lot of things. And if we are carrying a concealed firearm, we also need to think about how we might carry a child, pick him up, put her in a crib, get him out of a stroller, secure her in a car seat and more.

For parents who choose a concealed-carry lifestyle, we may have to make a few new compromises. For example, we may have to change holsters, use a different firearm or come up with a completely new carry location. The key is to plan ahead … and to practice.

Here are some overall ideas and thoughts to consider, even if you have small children and/or infants:

Use softer holster options.

Having a squirmy kid in tow might be a perfect opportunity to check out something like belly bands, wraps, shapewear or corset holsters. (Just be sure the trigger and trigger guard are completely covered!) These styles can benefit both you and your kids because there are no harsh or hard parts that dig into your skin or poke you — or them. Most of these holsters fit very well underneath just about any kind of clothing. In addition, some of them offer a little extra support and coverage.

Try a new carry location.

If you’re holding children, the thigh or the ankle could be effective and convenient spots for a gun because they keep firearms out of the way of baby carriers or packs. These are also locations that work great with skirts or dresses. There are also some concealment tanks or bra holsters that put the gun under your arm or under your chest. These spots may not work for moms who are breastfeeding. But they could be options for those who want to keep the firearm away from their midsection. You could also consider carrying in a position that’s nearer to the small of the back. If you prefer to hold a child on your hip, this location may provide more comfort while still allowing accessibility of your firearm. As well, the small of the back is often a very “forgiving” area for concealing a firearm for most women, no matter our size or stature. This is not an easy location to access, however, so it would take extra thought… and practice.

Consider a purse or a bag.

(And remember special considerations for off-body carry: ALWAYS keep it in your possession/control). There are so many great styles and sizes to fit every need. Most concealment bags are ambidextrous, some have locks, and all have a separate compartment for your gun. I prefer a crossbody carry or a bag that attaches around my thigh, which allows me to have both hands free while still keeping my firearm close to me at all times.

Remember that gun choice may come into play, as well.

You may have to select a smaller-frame gun (like a SIG P365) or choose something that’s more difficult for little hands to operate (like a Springfield Armory XD-s with a grip safety). Those small changes or compromises may add an extra layer of safety you need around your kids.

Focus on training and practice.

Any carry option requires work and muscle memory. Dry-fire practice (with an unloaded and clear firearm and ammo in a separate location) is a must!

All in all, I suggest choosing what you are most comfortable with, what works best for you and your lifestyle, and what you can safely train or practice with to proficiency. The movements you use to get to your gun can be very different from the more traditional styles you may be used to. And adding a child or two (or three) to the mix certainly changes the dynamics as well!