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Is babywearing safe?

June 9, 2010

As a member of DONA International, I follow a specific “code of ethics”.  Part of which is a commitment to “promote the general health of women and their babies.”  One of the ways I do this is providing clients with information on babywearing.  Babywearing is simply the practice of using a carrier to hold or “wear” your child.  Babywearing is not only convenient but has also been found to have numerous benefits to both mom and baby.  Babies who are held cry less and mom and baby are kept close so baby’s needs can be met quickly.  Babywearing facilitates bonding, aids in neck development (time baby is worn can count toward “tummy time”), helps regulate baby’s heart rate and temperature and moms who babywear have less incidence of postpartum depression.  These are just a few of the many benefits attributed to babywearing.

Is babywearing the only way to get these benefits? No.  Some mothers cannot wear their babies due to physical or other restrictions or choose not to for one reason or another.  Parents can certainly still be nurturing and attentive to their infants without a carrier but babywearing is such a great tool that I would be remiss not to give information on it to my friends, family and clients. I know my own family has benefited greatly from babywearing.

Here I am last July with my boys, carrying 3-month-old Silas in a Moby wrap.

Babywearing has recently made an appearance in the news with the recall of the Infantino Sling Rider and I’ve had a lot people asking me about the safety of babywearing.  While holding and carrying your infant is instinctual, using a carrier is a learned skill (not necessarily hard to learn but learned none-the-less).  Just like any other baby product you need to make sure you are using it correctly.  I love how Mothering Magazine worded it, “Babywearing is safe, but some slings and positions are not.”

Some Basic Babywearing Guidelines:

  • Your baby should not be in a curled “c” position with their chin to their chest.  Young babies’ airflow is cut off in this position and they do not have the neck strength to lift their heads for air.
  • A baby carrier does not replace an attentive parent.  Make sure you can see your child’s face and check their position and airflow often, listen for any irregular or labored breathing, and feel your baby’s temperature to see if they are clammy or sweaty.
  • Baby’s face should not be covered with fabric.
  • Make sure your baby is carried high and snug.  They should be “close enough to kiss”- if not you are carrying them too low.
  • A good baby carrier will mirror the way that you naturally hold your child in your arms.

For more information on babywearing safety, check out Babywearing International‘s safety information.

We also have some great local resources where you can get hands-on advice!

Once Upon A Sling sells baby carriers and offers babywearing classes as well as one-on-one consultations.
Contact Info:  Anna Hubbard
phone-  (309)  661-3259 or (309)  287-9383

The Connected Parenting Babywearing Roadshow advocates  babywearing and can help show you different carrier styles available, educate you on how to properly use them and help troubleshoot any problems you may be having.
Contact Info: Beth Martinez

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    June 14, 2010 10:15 am

    Love the picture of you and your boys! I am a huge fan of the Moby wrap. I have tried many different slings with both my boys and this one is by far my favorite. Great post on babywearing!

  2. June 30, 2010 12:55 pm

    Wow! Thanks for the advertising! I’d like to mention that the Babywearing Road Show is completely free. We don’t make or sell carriers and are part of a not-for-profit organization. Way to spread the love, ladies!

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