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4 points to consider when you decide to babywear


I'm pretty excited with my new toy, my dream soft-structured carried (SSC) - the awesome Manduca! Mine is a Manduca Blue / NewStyle Navy.

A little back story: I took a break from babywearing for nearly a year, partly because I bought two WRONG carriers. One was a counterfeit ERGO SSC and another was an i-Angel hipseat carrier. I stopped using the counterfeit ERGO (known as FERGO) after I read about possible mishaps such as dangerous sudden clasps breakage. I stopped using the hipseat because it's a non-ergonomic carrier, i.e. it's not conducive for baby's hip and spine development.

Here are four points to consider when you decide to babywear:

#1: Know the benefits of babywearing

Read this awesome post and get yourself convinced first. Newborns NEED to be held; there's no such thing as spoiling the baby by holding them too much. You CANNOT spoil a baby with nurturing, but you can with neglect. Absolutely no argument with me on this point because I don't support cry-it-out at all.

Even toddlers need to be held. Don't deprive them from your affection with the reason you want them to learn to become independent. Independence in future comes from adequate nurturing, affection, and attention you give them when they are still young.

Source

#2: Know the importance of ergonomic carriers

In short, ergonomic means the carrier should provide proper support and doesn't put strain on your baby's developing hips and spine. Proper support means natural seating position (M-shape) - the recommended position for healthy hip development.

Non-ergonomic carriers that doesn't provide proper support include hipseat, crotch carrier, and carriers that promote front-facing. More info below.

To view bigger image, refer this source.

Please read this explanation about how improper support in carriers leads to hip issues. This is especially true if you're using a crotch carrier and narrow-based carrier. Explanatory diagram below.

Source

Hipseat carrier causes pressure at baby's spine. Please see explanatory diagram below.

Source

Please also read up about reasons not to carry your baby facing out.

Source

Note: Believe me, you don't want to waste money buying the wrong carrier. Educate yourself well. Also, please avoid buying counterfeit (fake) carriers and baby sling/bag. To put in simple term: they are dangerous.


#3: Know the baby carrier categories suitable for your baby's age and size

The two images below show the six main recommended categories: woven wrap (WW), stretchy wrap (SW), ring sling (RS), pouch (P), soft-structured carrier (SSC), and Mei Tai (MT).

To view bigger image, refer this source.
To view bigger image, refer this source.


I prefer to use the soft-structured carrier (SSC) because it's easy to use. SSCs are soft-bodied carriers that have buckle waist and shoulder straps (resembling a backpack). I can carry my toddler with him facing me, or with him behind my back.

I hate maneuvering the stroller at escalators in shopping malls. With an SSC, I just need to strap it around my waist, put my toddler in it, buckle him up, and off we go! Fuss-free, stress-free, guilt-free, bulk-free! Hahaha!


#4: Know the T.I.C.K.S. rule for safe babywearing

To view bigger image, refer this source.

Read the following Babywearing Safety Checklist by Liza Snuggbaby.

Baby's breathing well
  • Always make sure that baby's airway is not obstructed.
  • Baby should get good airflow especially when you babywear at stuffy and crowded places.
  • Don't always ASSUME quiet/sleeping baby a content baby. Make sure of it.
  • Nursing while babywearing is a very handy skill but always make sure your boob is not covering baby's nose.
  • Face baby towards the side (preferably facing slightly upwards) when they fall asleep and make sure their face is not pressed against your body.
Naturally curled vs. too much curled (especially with newborns)
  • It's okay for them to curl a little because even when you carry them with bare hands, their spine is naturally slightly curved BUT babies shouldn't be curled further caused by bad positioning in the carrier.
  • You know it's wrong if baby's chin is pressed against the chest.
  • When you look in the mirror (with slings), baby's body should be making more of v-shape rather than c-shape or u-shape in cradle position.
  • With tummy to tummy, baby's back should be supported by fabric or mei tai straps to avoid baby from slumping into carrier.
  • Use support by folding a nappy or small towel placed at baby's back if it's necessary to achieve good positioning.
Not too hot or not too cold
  • Slings and carriers are an additional layer around your baby so dress lightly in hot weather.
  • Avoid constrictive clothing like tight denim as this may add pressure points onto your baby.
  • Put on sunblock if you plan to go outdoors in daylight.
  • In cold weather, babywearing gear only even though thick is not enough to protect baby against cold. Put on layers and cover the head.
The first time
  • Have someone to help you.
  • Try your carrier near soft landing like sofa or bed.
  • Wear your baby as low as possible and stand up when you're confident that you're wearing correctly.
  • Both you and baby should be calm.
  • Stop and rest if baby struggles too much and try again when baby is calm.
To babywear or not to babywear
  • If you need to put on some form of safety gear, chances are you're not suppose to wear your baby, e.g. rollerskating, operating heavy machinery, biking.
  • Don't wear your baby in the car. Car seat is the safest place for baby.
  • If you happen to fall into water, baby will be safer if not strapped on your body.
  • Activities that involves a lot of bouncing and shaking shouldn't be done with your baby strapped on your body, e.g. running, aerobics, jumping.
  • To travel by plane is an exception.
Beware of graspy baby
  • Baby is at the same level as you, what you can reach most likely they can too.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Cooking should be done very carefully especially when dealing with sharp knives and hot surfaces.
  • Be careful when dealing with laundry detergent or misc. cleaning liquid; make sure baby don't accidentally touch or ingest them.
  • Remember that they can reach things with their feet too.
Inspect your carrier for wear and tear
  • Make it a habit to inspect your carrier for any signs of wear and tear.
  • All support seams should be intact.
  • Buckles and rings shouldn't have cracks.
  • Fabric shouldn't have signs of ripping.
Check, reposition and adjust
  • Eventually while babywearing carriers may come loose, baby's position can be shifted.
  • Stop and check positioning in the mirror.
  • Make sure baby's leg doesn't turn blue.
  • Tighten or retie your knots and readjust if necessary.
  • Bouncing a bit or repositioning from time to time may help baby's circulation.
Listen to your body
  • You are carrying extra weight but with good weight distribution that comes with babywearing, sometime you don't feel this extra weight.
  • Ideally you should take a break from time to time.
  • Don't try to exert yourself and risk injuring your muscles.
  • If you can, switch shoulders now and again with single shouldered carrier.
  • Share the weight between you and your partner if you're babywearing for long period of time.
Do!
  • Enjoy all the incredible benefit that comes with wearing your baby safely!

Now, what are the recommended brands? Here are some brands that are recommended on Malaysian Babywearers FB group (listed in alphabetical order):

Note: Some are big brands in the market, some are manufactured by small companies or work-at-home moms and may only be available for purchase online or in specialty stores.

International

Note: Babybjorn and Stokke carriers are not recommended because they are mainly narrow-based carriers that don't promote good M-shape positioning. i-Angel that sells hipseat carriers are not recommended as well.


Local

Read more:

Join Malaysian Babywearers FB group for more discussion with seasoned babywearers.


3 comments

  1. Awesome blog! Thanks for all your great research! - Kirsten Kelly, Bloo Kangaroo Carriers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, I am contemplating getting an I angel or miamily. You have a source saying it's bad for spine development. The link doesn't work for me (I'm from Canada). Can you link any other sources? I can't find anywhere else, except here, that mentions it. Thanks for any help.

    ReplyDelete