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Carrying a baby facing forwards is 'cruel, stressful and terrifying', claims Australian expert

Mothers who carry their babies facing forwards are cruel and selfish, according to a leading child health expert. She said the same accusations could be applied to those who take babies out in pushchairs which face away from the parent. Cathrine Fowler, a professor of child and family health nursing, claimed youngsters are frightened if they are carried in a sling or pushed in a pram looking away from their parents.

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Infant Carriers and Spinal Stress

UPDATE: This article was written in the 1990s when the all of the popular upright baby-carrier designs had the harmful characteristics described below. Today, several new and improved upright carrier designs are available. The gold standard for carrying your baby should be your own arms. In other words, an upright carrier should hold your baby the way your arms would, e.g., facing you with legs in a frog-like, spread-squat position with the baby's weight supported across the buttocks and thighs. —Ed.

As we are finally realizing the benefits of "wearing" our infants while we perform our daily activities, we must be careful not to compromise the integrity of our child's spine through the use of improper carriers. Spondylolisthesis (specifically, Type II/isthmic) is a condition that can result from excessive stress in the low back, such as a baby's spine might experience in certain carriers on the market today. It is relatively uncommon, but when aggravated is extremely painful. This article explains which styles of baby carriers promote healthy spine development in an infant and describes the unnecessary stress and resulting spinal condition that can result from using certain carriers.

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Thinking Beyond the Front Pack: Considerations in Choosing a Baby Carrier

Note:  This post was originally posted years ago using the “crotch dangler” language which I have since come to understand is derisive …thus the edited title and URL.  We all grow and learn!!  “Narrow Based Carrier” or “Front Pack” are more appropriate terms for this carrier type.

It’s no secret that I love babywearing…but hate one of the most widely available carriers on the market…the Baby Bjorn. Ok, maybe “hate” is a tad strong – I’m always happy to see babies being worn and these carriers have introduced many a family to babywearing – but I do strongly dislike that the Bjorn (and it’s counterparts from Snuggli and Infantino) are so darn popular when there are much better options out there. The reason for their popularity is easy to understand. These are large companies with the money to advertise and the ability to mass produce. Fortunately, quality carrier companies such as Ergo, Beco, and Moby (among others) are beginning to make inroads into big box retailers and into mass market magazines.

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Safety

Babywearing International believes that babywearing is an inherently safe activity. But as with any other baby or child product, it is important to observe a few basic safety tips.

Make sure your child’s airway remains open at all times while babywearing. The best way to do this is to keep him or her in an upright position, high enough on your body to monitor breathing and ensure that her chin is off her chest. Babywearing International recommends that infants only be held in a horizontal or cradle position while actively nursing (if desired) and return to an upright or vertical position as soon as they have finished.

It is also important that your carrier provide adequate support for your infant’s developing neck and back. Ideally baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee although with older babies and toddlers full knee to knee support is not always possible or necessary. An ergonomic carrier (whether a soft structured carrier, Asian-style carrier, sling, or wrap) will provide better support for baby and will be more comfortable for the caregiver as well.

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International Hip Dysplasia Institute

Summary Statement: Babywearing is becoming increasingly popular along with the growing interest in Attachment Parenting. Proper infant hip position while babywearing is especially important because the period of time for babywearing is usually longer than baby transport. For information about baby transport, please refer to the IHDI Educational Statement regarding baby carriers, car seats, swings, walkers and other equipment. When proper hip position is maintained while babywearing, there may be substantial benefit for natural hip development. The Spread Squat position – also known as the M-Position, or Jockey Position – is recommended with the thighs spread around the mother’s torso and the hips bent so the knees are slightly higher than the buttocks or at the level of the buttocks with the thighs supported. This practice may decrease the risk of hip dysplasia, and should be encouraged in regions with high prevalence of hip dysplasia especially where screening and treatment are insufficient.

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Benefits of Babywearing

Benefits of Babywearing

Benefits of Babywearing for Your Baby

It is natural for baby to be close to his mother. Babies are happiest when being held by mom. Babywearing is a great practice for keeping baby happy and to help build a stronger bond between mom and her baby. The benefits of babywearing help babies grow up smarter and happier.

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Dr. Kirkilionis – “A Baby wants to be Carried” Considerations When Buying a Baby Carrier or Baby Sling

When judging different baby carriers, baby slings, baby packs, baby tubes, and kangaroo carriers, we prefer carriers that allow baby to sit up straight and face toward the baby-wearer’s chest.     

                    The residue of harmful chemicals is certainly the first deciding factor, and research on this topic can be found in the Oeko-Test (ecological testing report).  You should also examine the baby carrier to ensure that it supports a particular leg position of the child.

The following guidelines will help you evaluate various baby carriers

Leg Position

The baby sling should be manufactured to allow the baby’s legs to be up at least at a 90% angle, more if possible. This legs-up position provides the most support.  In order to achieve this position, stretching of the baby’s legs must be inhibited by another cover or by the crotch base. The cover runs between the baby’s thigh and along the buttock of the child, and should be wide enough to reach into the popliteal fossa, the hollow or back of the knee.

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