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Babywearing 101

Benefits of Babywearing

  • Promotes a happier and healthier  Mum and baby
  • Advances social and emotional development
  • Increases learning
  • Strengthens Mother/Child bond
  • Reduces crying
  • Comfort and convenience

Choosing a baby carrier...

Here are some things to consider

  • How long do you plan to babywear?
  • Who will use the carrier?
  • Do you only want to purchase one type of carrier for your whole babywearing journey?
  • What is your budget?
   
Stages of Babywearing

Stage 1: 0-3 Months

Babies require the most support until they can hold their head up
steadily. Their spine is in a state of total kyphosis and needs a
carrier that will hold them firmly while offering support for their
natural spine curvature. Muscles are still undeveloped along the
spine, therefore a carrier with ideal support is needed so baby
does not slouch while being worn. Ideal carriers for this stage are
wraps and ring slings, since the wearer can customise it to fit
baby’s unique size. Baby should be always worn on the front and
facing in during this stage.

   

Stage 2: 3-6 Months

The cervical region, located at the uppermost part of the spine,
begins to strengthen at 3-4 months when baby can firmly hold
their head up. As a result, the curve of the spine (kyphosis) is
beginning to straighten where eventually it will curve inward,
known as lordosis. And though baby’s head control is stable and
controlled, they still need sufficient support in the  thoracic
(middle spine) and lumbar (lower spine) regions. At this stage,
baby can move on to hip carries, preferably using a ring sling or
woven wrap for the most optimal support.

   

Stage 3: 6-9 Months

The middle area of the spine, known as the thoracic region,
strengthens once baby can sit unassisted, typically occurring
around 6-9 months of age. The muscles in this region help support
baby’s back, and the spine remains rounded in thoracic kyphosis.
When baby is sitting unassisted they are ready to be worn on the
back as long as the wearer is comfortable doing so. Front outward
facing carries are also able to be used at this stage providing the
manufacturers guidelines are followed.

   

Stage 4: 9-12+ Months

The final stage is complete once baby begins to walk. During this
stage, the lower back referred to as the lumbar region, becomes
straightened and curves inward. This new curvature, called lumbar
lordosis, completes the “S” shape of the spine. At this point, baby’s
muscles are strong enough to hold up their entire back.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub Optimal vs Optimal

The most optimal position for a baby to be worn in a carrier is when the baby is held in it’s natural, most beneficial position for hip and spinal development. This position is known at the 'M' position where the baby sits with it's thighs spread around the wearer’s torso and the hips bent so the knees are slightly higher than the buttocks with the thighs supported.

It is important to understand that wearing a baby in a sub optimal position isn't unsafe for the baby but if there is an underlying hip condition, this position can contribute to hip displaysia. It is highly recommended that you use an ergonomic carrier over a narrow based carrier for this reason.

Sub Optimal

Thigh NOT supported to the knee joint. The resulting forces on the hip joint may contribute to hip dysplasia.

 

Optimal

Thigh is supported to the knee joint. The forces on the hip joint are minimal because the legs are spread, supported, and the hip is in a more stable position. This is known as the ‘M’ position.

   

Narrow Based Carrier

Not ergonomically designed and places legs in an unhealthy position. The thigh is not supported to the knee joint adding pressure to the hip joint. Carries the risk for abnormal hip development.

 

Ergonomic Carrier

Ergonomically designed carrier with hips in a healthy position. Thighs spread around the mother’s torso and the hips bent so the knees are slightly higher than the buttocks with the thighs supported.

   
Information on this page complied from various resources including The International Hip Displaysia Institute, Baby Doo USA