Ergonomic Baby Wearing for a Healthier Back (and Safer Little One)
Babywearing is a natural and convenient way to keep your baby close. While there are many baby carrier options out there, some are more ergonomic and safe than others. Here are some tips for ensuring more comfort and ease for your back and your baby’s hips.
Ergonomic Tips for Moms and Dads
Baby slings are designed to go across the body and be worn over one shoulder. They’re especially appealing because they’re a hands-free way for moms and dads to care for baby while getting stuff done. Plus, parents can go more places than they can with strollers, like hiking trails.
However, there’s a tendency for parents to always wear them on the same shoulder, usually on the dominant side. This throws your spine out of alignment, causing it to shift to one side of the other. If you’re using a baby sling, your body will thank you if you alternate between shoulders.
Another option is to invest in an ergonomically-designed baby carrier with good positioning. Moby Wrap is a great option because the sling is first wrapped around your waist and then over both shoulders, so that all of your baby’s weight can be evenly distributed.
If you’re using a baby carrier that sits your baby low on your body (such as against your belly), it can make you hunch forward in order to compensate for the weight of the baby. And the lower slung your baby is, the heavier they will feel!
Ergonomically speaking, it’s preferable for your baby to be held up high and close to your chest. The aptly named Ergobaby is a padded baby carrier that does just that, and it can be worn on your front, back or hip.
Keeping it Safe for Babies
When it comes to babywearing, carriers are typically set up for the person carrying the baby – but that doesn’t mean they’re safe for your baby.
In babies, the bone development process happens in a very similar way to teething, with each bone growing and changing in a specific order. Using carriers that sit babies upright before they’re meant tends to puts a lot of pressure on their bodies. Plus, poor hip position leads to changes in alignment of the bones in the pelvis and lower back.
Abnormal bone development in the hip area can lead to several complications as they grow older, including:
- Changes in the way they walk (may become more bowlegged)
- Changes in the structure of the bones that house the nervous system
- Poor development where the legs articulate with the pelvis
- Weakness in the legs
Any carrier that’s designed to hang your baby by the pelvis is unsafe. A more appropriately designed baby carrier allows your baby to rock back into a comfortable sitting position. Some even allow your baby to lounge back in the fetal position, which is natural for little ones after spending nine months in this position already.