For many of us, baby wearing has saved our lives! It is the nature of babies to want to be held, loved and comforted all the time. Of course it can wear on us to be constantly needed by a child and many times things like simple chores and food preparation don’t get done. In the early years, we resort to ordering takeout and delivery instead. But for those of us who have discovered the wonders of babywearing – that is no more! However, it worries me how many unsuspecting parents purchase baby carriers that are ergonomically not safe for their children; and how would they know if they’ve never been told.
Several modern baby carriers have been dubbed “crotch danglers” – it means exactly what it says. The carrier suspends a baby from their hips basically, which not only adds discomfort to the baby, but discomfort to the mother and potentially severe improper spine and hip development. Some popular “crotch danglers” include The Baby Bjorn and The Infantino.
Dr. Rochelle Casses, doctor of Chiropractic says that,
Spondylolisthesis is the forward slipping of a vertebra on the one below it, as defined by Dr. Casses. The problem with infant carriers is that they place weight bearing responsibility on a spine that is not developmentally ready to do so. Dr. Casses says that if these infant carriers continue being used as much as they are right now, we are going to see an increase in spondylolisthesis. Scary!
Many parents offer suffer back pain and damage because of the weight being ill-distributed by these carriers. Once the child gets to about 15 lbs, it becomes too much for a parent to carry their child for very long in a crotch dangler.
I had heard about how baby carriers affect a child’s hip and spine development so I was sure to research the carriers before registering for one. And there are a lot to choose from!
I wanted to be sure I was getting the right kind of carrier though; I made sure I was familiar with what to look for.
- Make sure the carrier allows baby to be in a seated position against your body, not a suspended position.
- When baby is in the carrier, it should be as close as possible to naturally cradling or holding your child in your arms.
- Baby’s legs should form a “M” positioning.
- Your back should not be strained or in pain, check the types of straps used on the carrier to be sure they evenly distribute weight.
- If in a sling, baby should be able to breathe (no chin-to-chest), and fabric shouldn’t be draped over the baby’s face.
The Babywearer has a few more good tips too.
Some of the popular baby carrier styles that are safe for a baby developmentally is the Ergo, Beco, Baby Hawk (and other Mei Tei’s), Boba, Ring Slings (such as Maya), Moby and others. One of my favorite sites to ogle baby carriers is Pax Baby. All of the carriers she sells are “safe” when used properly. I myself an ogling a girasol woven wrap!!
Breastfeeding in the Beco Gemini while making dinner!
Did you research baby carriers before buying one? Which one is your favorite?