Thursday, May 28, 2015

Baby Wearing Part 2a: Healthy Baby Wearing

Before continuing on about my journey on baby wearing, and specifically with woven wraps, I thought I'd share what healthy baby wearing is.

There are many more carriers out there than even 5 years ago, or at least they are more widely known. The internet has definitely expanded the reach of markets across the globe, and fans of Tula, Beco, Ergo and Kinderpack have been posting pictures of themselves with their babes and the carrier with the print they oh-so-love.

But there are still some people who are risking their baby's health when carrying in certain ways. This is a touchy subject, as many informed parents wonder if they should ever approach another parent who may be wearing their child in a less-than-optimal position. On one hand, baby wearing is great so perhaps we should leave well enough alone. On the other hand, many of us say that if we were informed by another well-meaning parent, we would be grateful!

So, my passive-agressive way is to blog about it. =P Not like I know anyone who does so incorrectly anyway, but if you're baby wearing and unsure about the position, or looking to start and are learning the ropes, this post is for you.


Firstly, why wear a baby? We can leave them in a stroller or put them in the crib or bouncer... but we all know there are many, many moments when babies just want to be held. And that's natural! They were in a small, cozy, dark space for so long and all of a sudden projected into a loud world with their limbs flailing. For at least the first 4 months, they will want to keep being in a place which simulates the environment they were in for 9 months. That's understandable, isn't it? Even after they get to know the world as we know it, there's a lot to take in and learn, and being near us, their parents, is a refuge.

Here is a post by Babywearing International which gives the benefits of baby wearing. Here are my bullet points of the page:

Happy Babies - they like being held! Great for colicky babies
Healthy Babies - being physically close helps baby regulate own physical responses, especially premies/special needs
Confident Parents - learning to read cues
Loving Caregivers - babies come to recognize their caregivers
Comfort and Convenience - can go about chores and tasks more easily


You can refer to the poster above as provided by Health Canada, or you can learn to remember your TICKS!

In view at all times
Close enough to kiss
Keep chin off the chest
Supported back

Further explanations on the TICKS poster below. Click here for a link to the full version.

Note: "Supported back" used to say "Supported straight back" (emphasis mine) but for a baby, a curved back is more natural to their growth. Keep that baby's spine curved!

Kristen sleeping in the Moby while I eat... something. LOL.
But note the TICKS!


Here is what Health Canada has put up as warnings. My own thoughts in italics below each point taken from that page.

Serious injuries and deaths can occur when:
  • the wearer trips and the baby falls out of the sling or carrier
    • Falling out can also happen to babies in a stroller, and particularly to babies who are in infant seats precariously placed on top of grocery carts. I've seen so many babies balanced that way, and so many kids not strapped into their stroller and pretty much falling out! I don't see how a sling or carrier is more dangerous.
  • the product malfunctions or its hardware breaks
    • This can happen - and has happened - in strollers as well. This is, however, why it is SO important to get a high quality carrier. Woven wraps are not simply "another piece of fabric" or a table cloth or a bed sheet. I'll get into it in another post but there is much more care that goes into a woven wrap and soft structured carriers!
  • the baby falls over the side of the sling or out through the leg openings
    • Which is why learning how to use the carrier properly is necessary. As I mentioned before, I've seen babies and older children practically falling out of their stroller due to manufacturer's lack of foresight (Graco had a tray without a middle piece to meet the stroller so kids - unstrapped, mind you! - would slip right down and through) or simply due to parents not buckling their children in. No one has cried out "Danger!" on strollers.
  • the baby is positioned incorrectly, causing suffocation against the product's fabric, the wearer's body, or their own chest
    • I refer you back to the TICKS! Along with that is keeping the child's legs in the "M" or "frog-legged" position, which will be discussed below.

So what does unhealthy baby wearing look like? Tune in to my next post! And before you think I'm judging, I'll be posting up pictures of my unhealthy baby wearing. Most times it's just a matter of learning the correct way. Not all carrier manufacturers will tell you the right way to carry, just the right way to use their product. So let's all learn and promote healthy babies!

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