Babywearing Safety

I am by no means an expert, but while I have only been a mommy for 5 months... I feel like I am knowledgeable and have done enough research to be able to share some safe babywearing tips with YOU! As I posted in another blog entry, babywearing is something I'm very passionate about. If you are planning on jumping into wearing your child, please research all available child carriers and be sure to not only read what the product's manufacturer has to say, but also reviews given by fellow momma's!

My favorite places to find reviews is on Baby Center's Babywearing Board, Baby Center's Babywearing Review Board (you  must be a member of BC and request to be added to this group to see reviews!), and The Baby Wearer. I researched all of my carriers, including researching if a homemade woven wrap would be safe. The Baby Wearer board has several posts, and I was pleased to find so many momma's giving their homemade wraps great reviews! Now, if I had discovered this site in the beginning, I may have used it prior to purchasing my carriers. The site, Pax Baby is a site you can purchase carriers and/or "rent or borrow" wraps so that you can decide which carriers are best for you and your little one! I purchased an Ergo, the original, and both infant inserts, and while I liked it it wasn't as comfy or as cozy as my wraps. I sold it to a great friend of mine who LOVES it, but I may not have made the purchase in the first place if I had tried it out before buying it! I also own a Moby Wrap, a Dolcino Woven Wrap, a Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze Wrap, and a homemade Osnabur Woven Wrap.

Some of the things I learned, especially after reading through many posts on Baby Center's Babywearing boards, included the dread "crotch danglers". Here is an article about how "crotch danglers" can be damaging to your little one's spine and hips... but please remember that this is someone's theory, and I believe it to be very true. When a child is placed in a forward facing carry, other than in a Buddha carry (in a ring sling), you are placing pressure on your child's shoulders and chest area... while they are being completely supported by their crotch. Please... just think about that. Would YOU want to have all your weighht supported by your crotch? I'm thinking NO. For the parent, your center of gravity can be completely thrown off, meaning you are more likely to trip or fall with your child in your arms! You are also supporting your little one with your shoulders and neck, which pulls on your back and can be very uncomfortable. Another issue, and I have found this to be true with Elah when belly to belly, if your child is facing out, they cannot turn into you for comfort. Elah becomes fussy and irritable when overstimulated, but when she is worn, she can turn her head into my chest for comfort and sleep if she is tired.

I LOVE wearing Elah on my back. I can get so much more done! What I learned about back carries is that it is NOT safe to wear your little one on your back in a stretchy wrap. Stretchy wraps include Moby Wraps, Sleepy Wraps, Homemade Jersery Wraps, etc. Don't believe me? Check out THIS babywearing blog, and please watch the videos!

Here are some tips I've gathered from BC's Babywearing Board - I do NOT take credit for these and you can find the full post HERE:

Pouch - These are tubes of fabric that you fold in half and wear like a sash. Your baby fits into the pocket made by the fold. These must be correctly sized in order to work properly. These come padded and unpadded.
Best for: Infants in several different carries and toddlers in the hip carry. Good for quick trips.
Not recommended for: Long carries with a heavy baby.
More info on Pouches
How to use them here and here.

Ring Sling (RS) - A carrier similar to pouches but with adjustable rings. These also come padded and unpadded.
Best for: Newborns through toddlers, great for nursing
Not good for: Some ring slings are not good for heavy toddlers
More info on Ring Slings
How to use them here.
How NOT to use them (works for pouches too) See thisthis, this and this
Correct positioning
Nursing in a RS

Wrap - A long piece of fabric that you wrap around you and your baby.•Stretchy - Worn on the front only, no matter what the photos on other sites show. It is not safe as a back carrier.

Best for: Newborns and up to about 18lbs (except for the Wrapsody which is more supportive!)

Not recommended for: Heavier babies, back carries, hip carries

•Woven - A woven piece of fabric that you wrap in various ways around you and your baby.

Best for: babies of any size

Not recommended for: These are great for everyone who has the patience to learn how to use them. It is not that hard, I promise! Practice, practice, practice!!

More info on WrapsHow to use them: here, here, stretchyNO back carries in a stretchy!Brand comparisonsOfficial Fish ThreadHow to break in a wrap:•Use it!

•Wash it (according to the directions--silk, wool, and cashmere should not be put in the washer/dryer)

•Put it in the dryer on no heat with an old pair of sneakers or tennis balls.

•Iron it.

•Sit on it.

•Sleep with it.

•Braid it

•Use it as a hammock/swing for your child.

•Pull it back and forth through your crib bars

Mei Tai (MT) - A large piece of fabric with long straps that you tie on. Can be worn on the front or the back. Since it ties on it does not need to be sized. XL straps are available on many carriers. Variations include a contoured body, hoods, and headrests.
Best for: Babies to toddlers.
Not recommended for: Tiny newborns only because they are not as easy to use as other newborn carriers. They are still safe though and many people use these with newborns.

•Wrap Conversions (WC) - MTs made out of woven wraps.

•Podaegi (Pod) - A carrier similar to a mei tai that has a blanket instead of bottom straps so only the top straps are used to secure the carrier.

•Onbuhimo - A carrier similar to a mei tai without a waist strap and uses rings on the waist to thread the shoulder straps through

More info on Mei Tais
How to use them: here and here

Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) - A carrier similar to a Mei Tai but uses buckles instead of ties. These are super comfortable and can be used for front or back carries and these are especially good for heavy toddlers. Can be adjusted for different users. Very dad-friendly!
Best for: Babies to toddlers.
Not recommended for: Difficult to fit depending on body shape. Some are difficult to use with newborns.

More info on SSCs
How to use them: here and here
Comparisons: here and here

I hope that all this info helps you decide what type of carrier to use and how to safely wear your little one!

1 comment:

Samantha said...

I LOVE this post!

I went to our local cloth diaper store ( and tried on the Ergo and a catbird baby Mei Tai and Pikkolo. I am SO glad I went because I was convinced I wanted the Ergo but after wearing them all I do NOT like the Ergo and LOOOOVE the Mei Tai and Pikkolo!!! I just have to decide on which I want now!