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Babywearing: One of the Best Experiences in Motherhood!

26 April 2011 12 Comments

Thinking of a baby carrier such as a sling, wrap, mei tei, SCC (Soft Structured Carrier)?  Do your research and understand the art of carrying baby and know that all carriers are not created equally.  I loved carrying my son and he loved it just as much if not more.  In fact the other day my 2 1/2 yr old pointed to the closet and asked for the Manduca carrier.  I went to the closet and asked “What do you want?” I was sure he wanted something else, he said “Carrier. Hold me mama”.

Okay…after that how could I not and with the right carrier holding my 40pd toddler was quite easy, pain free and sweet.  Super sweet.

The Art of carrying baby, by that I mean learn how to put your baby properly in a carrier so you both benefit; it’s very important for baby’s developing anatomy as well and easier for your back.

So how do you choose the right one?

Try all styles mentioned above, be patient as it takes time to feel them out and to find the best style for you. Don’t rush out and buy whatever, the brands I’ve recommended are pretty good and I know you’ll love them. Some stores let you try it on and walk around the block with it.  You can also rent them from Pax Baby to see which carrier is best suited for you.

Benefits of Carrying your Baby

* Bonding for both parents
* Cheaper than a stroller
* Breast feeding friendly
* Comforting and soothing for an ailing infant or teething with pain and frustration
* Can ease colic
* Promote a peaceful sleep as facing in, baby can feel and hear our heart beat
* You can get countless hugs and kisses
* Happy baby, happy Mom/Dad

Dangling Legs and the Importance of proper position in a carrier
Your child bones are developing and are not as strong as adults.  In fact did you know your baby doesn’t have knee caps? Well they do but it’s cartilage and remains that way for a few years.

The spine and leg positions are important for babys posture and comfort, some conditions such as Spondylolisthesis (a painful back condition in which the vertebra of the lower back slips out of place).

In addition, some carriers place baby’s legs in a bowlegged position, you know which carriers these are and I have seen them all over the place.  They can hinder circulation. The upright vertical carrier can also lead to a whiplash type of injury in the neck if used before a baby has proper head control.

So carriers where babies legs are dangling…not so good as it is putting pressure on babies spine.  Those carriers are on the market and I don’t know why.

“But my Baby likes to Face Out

Seriously?

I find this argument ridiculous. Would you let your child ride a bike without a helmet. Are you going to say “but it’s okay, he/she likes it?” Safety first!

Please visit this link to really learn more and see why this angers me so.  In fact, I INSIST ON IT!

That’s what I hear from parents who insist on wearing their baby’s facing out. It’s not good and facing out with it’s head bobby around and hanging from the crotch…Really? Does that sound right?  Especially after reading the above about your child’s developing anatomy?  Are you still going to insist on it?

Carry your child on the hip so you are still connected chest to chest and your child can still face out and see the world and face back into you when a gust of wind is comes out of nowhere and the cities dust is blown all over or if baby is over stimulated or frightened or if baby wants to fall asleep. I have seen parents carrying their baby facing out and fast asleep with it’s head slouched over.

I wish this book was translated in English by German physician as she states the obvious:

“Infants in outward-facing orientations can’t turn away from surrounding stimuli. They can’t turn inward toward a parent’s body if it becomes overwhelming. In this position, a child cannot make eye contact with his or her parent to evaluate facial expressions, social cues, and so forth to make assessments of the situation . . . I am not a big supporter of the outward facing method of carrying a child.” Dr. Eveline Kikilionis

Proper Position with Slings, SCC and wraps

I love Manduca carriers and Storchenwiege wraps I hear are the best because it gives baby proper positioning such as the “frog leg” position, you know it. When our infants are asleep on their back and their legs naturally
open up like a frog.

With Manduca, they also support this position. Orthopedists and pediatricians recommend that babies who are worn in carriers always sit with tucked-up and slightly spread legs. The baby’s bottom should be lower than its knees, while the knees can come up as far as the tummy button. This position makes the baby’s hips tilt slightly forwards, while its back is very slightly rounded or ‘hunched’ and under less pressure.

Wraps lets babys naturally go into fetal position, the wrap itself are stretchy and super comfortable from what I hear.  I’ve never used a wrap but will the next time around to see what they are all about.

Some of my favorites are SSC are Beco, Manduca and Baby Hawk for Mei Tais.  I’ll have Manduca and Olives and Apple Sauce at my shop in the near future.

By this post, I hope I have shared the importance of baby carriers and some brands you never may have heard of but are worth mentioning.

As for wraps and slings I can’t comment as I’ve never used them but here are some websites and shop.

Daisy Days Hamilton,ON
Gorgeous Baby Vancouver
Birth Source Edmonton,AB
BabyBinBoutique, Winnipeg, MB
Nutured Baby, Halifax, NS
Evymama, Toronto,ON
Pax Baby, USA

Erica is a blogger and member of the BornFree Mom Panel

12 Comments »

  • Hester said:

    Hey, what do you think about the ergo carrier for an older baby 6 months and up?

  • Sarah Ahmad said:

    Wow interesting article. Did not realize it was not good for babies to have their legs dangling as they do in most carriers I have seen on the market.

  • Erica said:

    @Sarah, well most brands that you see like that are Baby Bjorn, Snuggli, Infantino’s, Belle Baby carriers.

    The ones that I recommended don’t have the legs dangling down which is why I wanted to bring awareness to let parents know there are other carriers besides those awful ones.

    At one baby store in Toronto I mentioned that to the sales person and they were fully aware that Baby Bjorn was a terrible carrier because of that but people know the brand.

    Thanks for your comment.

    @ HESTER: I am personally not a fan of Ergo. Plus I have heard their business practices are not that good…Don’t know how much of it is true but I’ve had one and gave it away. I don’t like how high it sits I guess the bands width and when your child gets into the arching back phase and such I found in my experience it didn’t offer much support.
    Plus if you have a younger baby you have to buy additional things like an infant insert.

    Here’s my review on Manduca which I think is the cats meow in carriers as it comes with an infant insert and hoody’s. Beco carrier can be a hip pad as well when folded, another fab carrier is their Butter fly II Model.

    http://www.everythingmomandbaby.com/2010/07/manduca-baby-carriers-carrying-comfort.html

  • Angie Barkhouse said:

    I used the Sleepy wrap when my babe was smaller and now I have an Ergo which I am pretty happy with for both the back and hip carry. I’m quite short in the torso and I found the Manduca to be uncomfortable on the back. Erica, what are your thoughts on a more basic, homemade sling? I’m thinking it will be more convenient for popping in and out of the car running errands. Thanks for the info!

  • Erica said:

    @Angie, as long as baby is safe and in a proper position go for it and you have the right size. Would you do a Mei Tai?
    Actually, I did have a New Native sling but I found an SCC much easier to put on.
    http://www.newnativebaby.com/

    A lot of slings got a bad rap because of what happened with Infantino a year and half ago.
    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10177.html

  • Julia said:

    What do you think of the Pikkolo compared to the Manduca? Btw, it’s really difficult to find a Manduca to try in Toronto!

  • Erica said:

    I don’t know the Pikkolo :) But I am the only retailer – online merchant that carries Manduca in Toronto :)

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