Babywearing is a very convenient way to carrying your baby. I have always preferred wearing my kids when they were babies than putting them in a stroller. Thanks to babywearing, I have been pretty much mobile even during the early baby years. Aside from the convenience, babywearing also provides numerous other fab benefits to both baby and mommy.
However, babywearing is more than just getting any baby carrier and putting your baby inside. Like every baby care practice, careful and correct use of the right products is necessary to keep your baby safe. Whether you like to use wraps, slings, soft structured carriers, mei tais, or other types of baby carriers, here are some tips to keep your baby out of harm’s way while babywearing.
1. Use carriers that provide proper support for baby. There are numerous baby carriers out there, but unfortunately, not all of them are good for your baby and his developing body. Go for carriers that provide adequate support when worn properly. Avoid narrow-based carriers or carriers that have narrow seats because they do not provide proper support, putting strain on your baby’s hips and spine and possibly exacerbating hip dysplasia.
Instead, go for carriers that have wider seats and allow your baby to sit with his knees higher than his bum. A good carrier is one that keeps your baby in a position he would be in if you were just carrying him in your arms.
If you already have a narrow-based carrier, there is no need to discard it or buy a new, more ergonomic carrier. You can still use your narrow-based carrier, but make sure to keep your baby’s knees higher than his bum with the use of a scarf or thin towel. Simply put the scarf or towel around you and your baby – the scarf centered at your baby’s back, going all the way up to his armpit and under his bum and knees.
A baby carrier that provides good support for your baby will not only be best for him, it will also be more comfortable for you or anyone who is wearing the baby. Check out these 7 Mom-recommended Baby Carriers to help you.
2. Inspect your carrier for damage or weak spots. No matter how well-recommended and good your carrier is, it is important to constantly check it for any damage or weak spots. Whether your carrier is something you use almost every day or something that stays in the closet most of the time, always make a visual inspection before putting it on. Check for any obvious signs of wear and tear such as loose stitching, weak buckles, and worn and frayed fabrics.
3. Make sure you can see your baby while in the carrier. Even if your baby is just a newborn, there are safe baby carriers you can use. However, no matter how seemingly safe your baby is inside his carrier, you should always be able to see your baby’s face. Keep fabric or any part of the carrier away from your baby’s face so you can always easily check on him.
4. Make sure your baby can breathe. Always make sure that your baby can breathe by keeping his airway open. This can be done by keeping your baby’s chin of his chest – a good rule of thumb is to maintain a space of at least a finger width between your baby’s chest and under his chin.
5. Keep baby tight and close enough to kiss. Another good rule to follow when wearing your baby is to keep him tight and close enough to kiss. Using your carrier such that your baby’s body is tight and close to yours will ensure that your baby is not slumping in his carrier. Aside from providing good back support for your baby, this practice will also be more comfortable for you because the weight of your baby’s back will not be pulling on your own back. Keeping your baby tight and upright will also help in ensuring that your baby has his airways open.
6. Prioritize your baby. Despite the convenience you get from babywearing, remember that your baby is always your priority. Even if you have both of your arms free, avoid engaging in any activity that will compromise your baby and your ability to keep him safe. Make sure that you always have at least one hand free to keep your baby safe.
How you wear your baby will vary depending on your baby’s age. If your baby is younger than four months, you should frequently check on him, particularly checking that he can breathe and that his back is well-supported.
Do you have your own personal safety practice when wearing your baby? Share it with us by commenting below or posting on our Facebook page!