My last post was all about the benefits of babywearing. However, if it is not done correctly, these benefits will not be felt, and there will even be some risks of injury for both wearer and baby.
So, what makes a good babywearing system?
A good system allows what is called ''physiological babywearing''. Let me explain. In order for a baby to be worn safely and in a way that respects his/her physiology, there are a few things to kep in mind: the baby's back curve must be respected, he/she must be facing the wearer (either the front of back), the baby must be seated properly, ''like a little frog''with his knees higher than his hips, and the little one's head must be slightly tilted backwards to allow good breathing. This way, the baby's body is really ''molded'' onto the wearer's body, which allows a good balance and weight distribution, and incidently more comfort. When worn on the front, the baby must be set high enough to be able to kiss him/her on the head.
Physiological babyweaing on the left, and non-physiological babywearing on the right
Harness-type carriers, like the Baby Bjorn DO NOT ALLOW physiological babywearing. The baby is suspended by it's crotch, with it's legs dangling down, and all it's weight is on the genitals. The back is forced to stay straight which doesn't respect the natural curve of the baby's back. It takes time for the spinal cord of a little baby to straighter after birth. Forcing it to stay straight could cause injury. A new baby's hips also need time to straighten. Suspending a baby by the crotch makes his legs dangle straight down, and can cause hip dysplasia, and can even cause hip issues later in life. On top of that, because of the type of harness used in these systems, the baby is not snuggled against he wearer, but suspended in front of him or her. The weight repartition is really bad this way and can cause back pains or problems.
Evolution of the baby's spinal curve
Effect of the babywearing system used on the baby's hips.
Of course, there is also the comfort part of it...
Tha part about the hips is really interesting because, apparently, physiological babywearing can not only avoid hip problems, it can also prevent them or cure hip dysplasia! If you look at African and Asian communities where they wear their babies in a physiological way and have done so for centuries, we can notice that hip displasia and other hip problems are almost inexistant there. On the other hand, cultures who wear their babies with their legs straight, like native American-Indian tribes, who traditionnaly used to strap their babies straight on a piece of wood to wear them, had hip dysplasia rates of 12,3%. Babies not raised in this tradidionnal way had a hip dysplasia rate of 1,2%.
A few recommended babywearing systems:
- Asian style babywearing system (Mei-Tai). This is not a brand but a type of soft fabric system used in Asia. Many different brands are available, but it is also possible to easily make one yourself.
- Woven wraps like the Chimparoo wrap (this brand makes different types of systems, it's up to you to decide which suits you best). These can also be homemade easily, as long as you have a strong and soft fabric like twill.
- Stretch wraps are nice as well, they just don't work as well as the baby gets heavier. MamanKangourou makes some nice ones.
- Ring Slings are nice, perfect when you want to babywear for short periods of time and are really easy to put on.
Plese note that I am not doing publicity and am not getting anything from these companies. I am just recommending good quality babywearing systems.
Here is a blog where various ways to put on the wrap are explained, with pictures and all.
If you are interested to know more about babywearing, and would like to try it with your baby, I highly reccoment you try a babywearing workshop. These would allow you to try out different systems and see which one suits you best, and to learn a few basic ways to tie the wrap. I can offer these workshops, feel free contact me if you are interested!
I leave you with this pretty pictures from Porter son enfant, and you can also check out this gorgeous slideshow showing babywearing across the world.
Have a nice day!