|Posted on December 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM||comments (13)|
Best Practice Babywearing
Why pick a physiologically correct baby carrier in the first place.
After reading one of Dr. Mercola's health articles where he points out why Coca Cola's claim that Aspartame is safe is not so true, I thought about all the manufacturer of baby carriers out there claiming their product to be safe when in reality they are not.
I went to some of the websites to see what they say about their products and want to point out why it is not truthful in most cases.
“Yes! It’s fine
for your child to sleep in a
Baby Carrier. In the baby carrier, your child
gets the closeness and warmth he/she needs to fall asleep feeling
Baby Carriers provide good support for the child’s back and neck,
so you can carry your sleeping child for as long as he/she is
satisfied. However, small children should not remain in the same
position for extended periods. That’s why we recommend that you
always pay close attention to your child’s needs and switch between
the baby carrier and, for example, a baby sitter, stroller or
Since the baby carrier’s front piece is completely detachable, you can easily put your sleeping child down without waking him or her.”
Why this is not best practice?
When I read that I immediately thought about suspension trauma. It is not safe for a child to be in the same position in a harness type carriers because the circulation in the legs are suffering. The legs are dangling straight down with the fabric slowing down circulation in the legs. There might not be sufficient blood exchange. When legs move, the arteries help pump blood. If the legs are still, the heart has to do all the pumping and simply can't do it all the way down the legs and up for long periods of time. Of course a baby is smaller than an adult and the heart can pump a bit longer but essentially it is not a favorable position for any size person.
If you cannot use your legs for support you will eventually faint. A harness type carrier will prevent baby from falling over, which would restore circulation in the lower body. Experts estimate the first signs of suspension trauma in legs that are completely still hanging straight down can be felt in as little as three minutes, with the average being between 5 and 20 minutes. Babies again are smaller and are not prone to die of suspension trauma, however, I think parents should be aware of the possibility. The best way to prevent suspension trauma and help your baby have a healthy restful sleep is by having baby face you with the legs in the spread squatting position (essentially straddled around you in a squatting position 90 degree spread apart, legs up 110 degree which means bum is lower than knees. Try squatting on the floor, that is a good position for baby in a good carrier)
A good baby carrier will support baby in this healthy spread squatting position for hours of restful sleep and blood pumping. Baby back is supported in the rounded position called kyphosis, which takes about 1 year to straighten. Baby is supported vertically to avoid falling into himself. Baby's neck and head will be supported. Having baby's head close to mom or dad's senses, helps to ensure baby's airway is free at all times.
The advice to switch using to all the companies products and buy them all is also misleading. Babies generally would love to be carried all day to feel safe and secure. Emotionally a good baby carrier is better than 10 swings, activity saucers, play pen, etc.
Baby Carrier Original can be
used from when your child weighs 3.5 kg/8 lbs until he/she weighs 11
You can use the Baby Carrier Active from when your child weighs 3.5 kg/8 lbs up to 12 kg/26 lbs.
A good time to start using the Comfort Carrier is when your child is 3 months old and weighs at least 6 kg/13 lbs up to 14 kg/31 lbs.
You can use Baby Carrier Miracle from newborn, as long as your baby weighs at least 8 lbs/3.5 kg up to 26 lbs/12 kg.
Having studied healthy and good baby carriers, I can with confidence say the weight recommendations are not accurate. There is also a difference in baby's build that plays a huge part in baby actually fitting in the harness type carrier or not.
For a tiny baby, 8-9 lbs, the neck support is not sufficient and the harness type carriers do not allow for natural movement of the baby. The vertical support is often missing as well and baby can fall into himself. The leg/hip support is lacking and therefore is not a good start into baby's healthy hip development. Baby's hip develops until about 2 years of age, starting with the best carrier possible to support a healthy hip hardening is essential for our precious little ones. Carrying a 25lb baby in a harness type carrier will most likely damage your back. A good baby carrier will distribute baby's weight evenly close to your body without your back having to take the dangling weight and the impact weight of a child pulling forward. Your pelvic floor is also negatively affected with a carrier that has baby's weight dangling in front of you rather than straddled around you close to your center of gravity.
With baby's spread squatting position in a good carrier, the carrier will absorb the jostles from being carried rather than baby's spine.
When can I start carrying my child facing forward in the baby carrier?
After consulting the pediatricians we work with, we recommend that you carry your child facing you in the baby carrier until he/she is around 4 months – or until the child’s neck muscles are strong enough to hold up his/her head.
“After consulting with pediatricians” is a very misleading statement. We don't know the pediatrician, have no record of what they might have said, etc. Most pediatrician actually are not experts on baby's hip and spine development unless they are also pediatric orthopedic surgeons, which most of them are not. After consulting with pediatric orthopedic surgeons such as Dr. Fettweis, we know that facing baby out can be detrimental to baby's healthy hip and spine development. There is also a great risk of positional asphyxiation for baby facing out since there is no head support, especially if baby should fall asleep in this uncomfortable unsafe position. There are simply too many stimuli crashing in on baby and baby has no way of turning around. Baby also has no way of stabilizing himself against your body, leading baby to the moro reflex of being startled often. Pages have been written about not facing baby out and why this is not best practice. The Babywearing Institute has quite a bit information on it on their site.
You can carry your child in the baby carrier for as long as he/she is content there. However, small children should not be motionless in the same position for long periods of time. That's why we recommend that you always pay close attention to your child’s needs and switch between the baby carrier and, for example, a baby sitter, stroller or crib.
Most children are not comfortable in a harness type carrier for long periods of time. The position is simply not supportive and leaves baby feeling like he is floating without proper support. Harness type carriers also leave your back hurting like you are carrying a 50 lb child instead of a newborn. Again the consumer is advised to change to different products rather than a proper carrier.
From newborn and during the first 5-6 months in life, closeness through eye-to-eye and bodily contact is essential to babies. Several studies shows that the warmth, the breathing and the sound of the parent’s heartbeats and voice, make the child feel secure and safe. This also contributes to the creation of a close connection and an emotional bond between baby and parent.
This is probably the only answer that is close to being true. Not only does hearing mom's or dad's heartbeat make baby feel secure and safe, it also helps stabilize baby's heartbeat and breathing. There is a lot of research on how baby's brain is stabilized by the parent being close. This closeness however is important until baby voluntarily leaves, which can be two or three years. Many good baby carriers allow you to carry your baby in comfort for hours every day and years. Enjoying this closeness with baby leads to a better verbal ability of your child later on, better sense of balance, better emotional balance, better concentration, and better self esteem as baby is on eye level with other adults rather than always looking up. These are just some of the aspects of wearing your child until they voluntarily leave the comfort of mom or dad. The list is long, we can talk about it in another article.
Can I carry my newborn upright?
“For newborn under 1 month whose spine is still soft, upright carrying will compromise the spine growth.”
This is complete misinformation. The spine is rounded, called kyphosis until the upper part of the spine, the neck lordosis stretches. After that it is the chest kyphosis and then the lenden lordosis. This stretching process is compete when baby can walk unassisted at about 1 year of age. The spine is never considered soft, only rounded. Lise Elitot, Ph.D. said: “The reason they [babies] are so receptive to motion is because they are born with a highly developed vestibular system-a “sixth” sense that allows us to perceive our body's movement and degree of balance. The vestibular sense are very old, in evolutionary terms, since all earthly organisms have had to orient themselves with respect to gravity and their own motion. Accordingly, they emerge quite early during embryonic development. Like touch, the vestibular system is precociously poised to transmit sensation that is not only very comforting for babies but also critical to their early brain development.”
She goes on to explain how carrying baby upright helps baby turn his head, detect linear movements, and the body's position with respect to gravity. Movement stimulates the inner ear, which is a complicated set of chambers and ducts that include not only the hearing but the vestibular organs as well.
For baby to find his equilibrium it is favorable to carry baby upright from birth.
That not wearing your baby upright for the first month is nonsense as is evident in cultures where babies are worn on mom's back from day one, like Africa. Millions of babies would be crippled if this statement carried any truths.
There are more misleading or down right false statements made by those manufacturing unsafe and uncomfortable baby carriers but this will suffice for this article. Sad to see so much misinformation given to new parents who often don't know where to turn for correct information on best practice.
Manufacturer of harness type carriers do not understand the natural development of babies. Selling a product seems to be the top priority. Education is essential in keeping our babies emotionally healthy in their most formative first five years of their lives.
|Posted on January 30, 2013 at 4:05 PM||comments (4)|
After receiving several mails asking what the difference is between the Babywearing Institute and other schools or organizations, I decided to write a blog post rather than individual emails. This will make it easier to reply in the future with a link rather than a lengthy email.
There is undoubtedly a lot of information out there about what we are and what we are not,unfortunately some of it far from the truth. I was glad some concerned parents took the time to email and ask information directly rather than believing the information and misinformation that is out in forums, discussion groups, babywearing groups, facebook, and the like. We are always happy to share our philosophy and education with anybody and gladly answer any questions you might have.
The first thing that sets us apart from others is that we are the original babywearing school in NorthAmerica. Our first classes were taught years before anybody else organized into something more formal.
We started with more research based information than was available in English at the time and this is still true. Having been raised in Germany I have access to all German literature on babywearing, and there is much. A lot of the information presented in our classes is gathered from professionals from Germany such as Dr. Kirkilionis and Dr. Fettweis among some.They are undoubtedly legends in the field of babywearing and you would have a hard time finding a babywearer in Germany who does not know who they are. Both either have or will be participating in our babyearing retreats which focuses on professional education fo rbabywearer. The education you receive at any of our retreats is the best, presented by professionals in their respective field with lots of experience. We put a lot of weight on correct information and best practice.
Another important factor that sets us worlds apart is our experience in babywearing. I personally started babywearing 30 years ago with my nieces and nephews. I remember wearing one of my nephews, just six weeks old, on a long walk in a Katja Didymos sling with his older brother, 2 years old, riding on my shoulders. They have long been adults now. The nieces and nephews,who are married with children, have continued the culture of babywearing they were raised in. With our own seven children I have been wearing children close to daily for the past 14 years. That adds up to about 5054 days, without counting the few days I did not wear a child like the day of giving birth in my cozy home to one of our babies. Most of them started their journey in anatomically correct baby carriers at one day old. I also often tandem wear children to accommodate our children's emotional needs. I have not met another babywearer who has this vast amount of experience in North America. I would be delighted if there was and we could exchange our experience of the sacred blessings of raising and wearing children.
Our board members too have years of personal experience in wearing children and support best practice to ensure all babies are safe. We love babies and want all babies to be as safe as we want ours to be.
One major difference is also, my husband runs the oldest store in North America selling German baby carriers. My husband was the first distributor of German woven wraps in North America. When we started there was only Kids-nature, a retailer who also imported wraps. They soon referred their customers to us as they switched their product line and are now no longer in business.That leaves us as the oldest store still in business. We have more than a decade of experience in what questions and concerns new parents have when it comes to babywearing. Our classes reflect our decades of experience with our wonderful customers. We are always excited to have “old” customers come through the classes and talk about their experience in buying products from us and the unequivocal support they received.
I have been studying all aspects of babywearing for more than 15 years. I have read mountains of books related to babywearing in German as well as English. We were instrumental in bringing correct information to the Internet. I was often asked questions via email only to find my exact answers copy and pasted into forums on the Internet under the person's name who had contacted me via email. I soon realized “my customer'squestions” were actually discussions in other places and there was a dead end in the discussion. Someone in the discussion would contact me and soon my answers were read by many. I have yet to be asked a question on babywearing that I cannot answer. I am also friends with some of the best known professionals in the babywearing world and we exchange emails frequently. If there is a question I cannot answer I'll gladly get the answer from an expert.
Other organizations are non profit trade organizations with a branch of education. This is not the same as an organization solely dedicated to education. This is like a vaccine manufacturer with a research branch. Can we really trust their research? I don't, I want independent research. The main problem is that as a trade organization you cannot come out with strong statements for best practice without offending some of your friends on the board who are manufacturing the products that have proven to be less than optimal for baby. There is a lot of gray area. True to my German upbringing, I will stand for what is best practice at all times regardless of the consequences. Hence some distorted references in forums, discussion groups, or facebook, to who I am and what I am like, mainly from people whom I have never met. Culturally being straight forward for safety is not always accepted but the risk of a baby getting hurt or even dying outweighs all the consequences for me and I will always be found teaching safest and best practice.
I was blessed to be taught by some of the best in the field. Not only did my family know how to wear babies properly, I was also instructed by some of the best known professionals in the field. These are experts who have been writing articles, books and done numerous interviews and are well known in the babywearing world around the world. Undoubtedly I have had the best tutors in babywearing anyone could ever ask for. I have received very detailed information on safe and secure, not simply statistics. A lot of this detailed information is passed on in our two day classes of the basic and two days of advanced certifying babywearingeducator classes. Having consulted with many manufacturer has also helped me in becoming an expert in detecting good fabric and knowing what is needed. I have traveld back to Germany and met with manufacturers and textile engineers to make sure I understand all there is to know about good fabrics in baby carriers.
We believe in teaching parents correct principles so babywearer can govern themselves. We are empowering parents to know by looking at a carrier if it is anything worth trying out or not by the way it supports baby's natural development.We want parents to be empowered so they do not need to keep coming back to us to see if this or that carrier is good or not. We don't want to be a babywearing government making all the decisions for parents. That is the feeling I have of other organizations, it is becoming a babywearing government rather than a place to empower parents. Parents are ultimately responsible for the well being of their children, we want parents do be empowered knowing they know how to pick and choose the best baby carrier for them and their little one.
To find out why the BabywearingInstitute is the leading Babywearingschool in North America, come and join us at the Babywearing Retreat July 11-13, 2013 in Logan, Utah at the Crystal Inn. Dr. Fettweis will be here personally from Germany.Bring all your questions on proper hip and spine position.
And don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have or follow up on any misinformation and rumors that are being passed around about who I am or what our Babywearing Schoo teaches. You will like what we have to offer.
Be safe and secure
|Posted on November 3, 2012 at 4:50 PM||comments (10)|
There has been discussion on what constitutes a safe baby carrier. Maybe it is my German upbringing but I am a stickler for quality in baby carriers. Without aiming for the best quality, we wouldn't have BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, VW, and Opel for example. We can and need to make and purchase baby carriers to the highest standard possible to ensure our precious little ones are safe at all times.
To secure baby has the best support, a baby carrier needs to be supporting baby in the spread squatting position. This puts the femur head into the perfect position of the acetabulum (hip socket) for the hip cartilage to harden properly. The process of hardening takes about two years. Carrying baby in an anatomically correct baby carrier is of uttermost importance.
Baby's spine also needs to receive the correct support for each developmental stage. The carrier needs to support baby vertically to prevent baby from falling into himself along with adequate head and neck support.
We see safe and appropriate carriers discussed frequently, however, there is a lack of education on the making of the carrier to be safe. What should the sewing looklike? What the snaps or buttons? Hook and Loop tape or buckles?
The e-book“Babywearing Safely and Securely” goes into more detail about each carrier. Having advised numerous businesses and manufactured safe carriers myself, I want to highlight some things to look for when purchasing a carrier or taking your old carrier out of storage.
Check the seams.
Seams shouldbe durable. In single layers of fabric there should be a double hemline. If the carrier has double layers of fabric, the fabric should have two seams, one inside and at least one outside. In stress areas, like the shoulder straps and belt, there should be double, triple or a cross in the seams. A bar tack is invaluable in securing the fabric.
In the first picture, although hard to see, you can kind of make out a double hemline with a single layer fabric. The second picture is a double layer fabric sewn inside when placing right side on right side and then after the carrier is turned right side out.
Crucial stress points
Think about a pair of old jeans. What tears first? When your jeans tear, are your pockets still intact? Mine usually are, even when everything else falls apart. When you look closely, most jeans' pockets, if not all, have bar tacks.
What exactlyis a bar tack?
"Bartacking is a specialized stitching designed to provide great tensile strength to the garment or equipment it is used on. It is commonly used on backpacks,tents, tactical gear, and other heavy wear sewn items where normally sewn stitches might give way at a crucial moment. In general, the tacking is a sign of good quality, although the rest of the product should always be looked overcarefully as well. When a sewing pattern calls for bar tacking, it indicates that the designer feels that section of the pattern is a critical area thatneeds extra reinforcement.
To create bartacking, a manufacturer sews a very tight zigzag stitch across the width of the material. In some cases, the sewer may go over the seam again, causing the stitch to have an x-like form. Usually, very strong threads are used so that they will stand up to high pressure. When done correctly, bar tacking can help support loads of up to 400 pounds (almost 200 kilograms). Many backpacking companies in particular pride themselves on the number of bar tacks integrated into their products, claiming that they will wear harder and longer than the competition.” (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-bar-tacking.htm)
You can see why the bar tack is important as it supports a load up to 400 lb. A child's weight won't come close but we have to also consider the impact weight of the child when moving rapidly or baby is bouncing. Also some hiking might require small jumps with baby on your back.(I am speaking from experience but do not encourage jumping while having a child strapped to your back).
The crucialstress points are the shoulder straps and the waist belt.
The shoulderstraps need to be sunk into the fabric by about 3-5 inches. There needs to be a x-box sewn into the shoulder straps and fabric to secure both together in a high stress area.
An x-box is a box sewn with a cross in the box to withstand significant stress.
A bar tack in addition to the box make it a durable product.
Different angles of the shoulder straps do not pose a safety hazard, they work for different tastes in comfort for the babywearer. However, all shoulder straps, regardless of the angle, need to be secured properly as discussed above. This is an area that will pull the straps in a v-pull, which is a high stress area.
The waistbelt will also experience significant stress. The back of the carrier needs to be sunk into the waist belt by at least 2-3 inches. The seams need to be secure with bar tacks and/or double or triple stitches. A sewn x-box can also be used in combination with the other or instead some of the others. This is a high stress area, some of the carriers on the market have been known to tear in this area. I have seen several myself brought by participants of our babywearing certification classes, that were tearing in that area. If your carrier does not have several sewing measures for safety in this area, I would not use it as an every day workhorse carrier. It might do well for a few outings but I would not trust it with my children for long periods of time of regular wear and tear.Unfortunately most of the discount carriers you can buy on-line are not sewn to the highest standards and do pose a hazard to your child. I have several of them in my stash for demonstration purposes but not to use with my precious children.
The leg opening is another area where the seam is pulled in a v-pull. This has been the discussion in several forums and the like. Unfortunately in some discussions the lack of sewing experience and stress points in a carrier was obvious and I hope parents and manufacturer alike will find proper education on high quality sewing. Keeping baby safe should be the goal, not the number of carriers sold. We will talk about the v-pull in a jiffy
The fabric weight of any carrier should be between 5-8 oz. per square yard. Doubling up quilting weight fabric is not supportive enough. A broken twill, twill or canvas and the like are good fabric with sufficient support. If your carrier has quilting weight fabric, make sure it is only used as decoration, not to hold baby's weight.
Checking your carrier for safety
When your new carrier arrives, before placing baby in it, check the seams and sewing, especially of the high stress areas. Pull the shoulder straps apart from thebody of the carrier and the waist belt from the body in a V-pull. Do use a steady pull, not a jerking motion but with all your strengths. A well known manufacturer of Mei Tais said: “Even with two people pulling, the straps should not come apart.” This is not to encourage you for a tug of war but shows that a manufacturer can be confident in their product because their sewing meets the highest standard. Anybody discouraging you from checking your carrier should be seriously questioned. Keeping babies safe at all times is the goal and making sure your carrier is safe is a parent's responsibility. Any carrier should hold up to v-pulling in order to be safe for a child to be placed in it.
I personally do not give away or sell a carrier I have sewn without doing this test myself before giving it away. Consequently I have never had a carrier that failed or with flaws. I assumed my carriers to be for babies who can sit unassisted toabout 4 years of age. I received feedback from a family who carried their 11year old with special needs in their carrier for an all day hiking trip. It was their most comfortable carrier for dad and child. The carrier held up perfectly to the impact weight and allowed a family to hike the backwoods comfortably. The x-boxes, bar tacks, and double and triple stitching were all in place and the v-pull test done before placing the carrier with the family.
Before each use, look at the seams but especially high stress areas like shoulder straps and waist belt. If the fabric is tearing or the stitches seem to be coming apart, do not use your carrier. Have a seamstress fix it or discard it. If it is new, contact the manufacturer.
Check any hook and loop tape before each use. Some baby carrier have a lot of hook and loop tape that can loose the stickiness with use and time. Make sure it works properly, especially in a high use and stress area like the waist belt.
Check buckles, buttons, and snaps to ensure they are securely attached to the carrier and do not pose a choking hazard for your child. Look at the buckles closely to see if there are any cracks. Buckle the carrier without baby in it to see if there might be a hair fine crack that can only be seen in the split second when the buckle is buckled up.
Unfortunately there is not a set law to how baby carriers have to be made. We only have laws that the belts, buckles, and buttons have to be tested for harmful chemicals.Of course we have a new ASTM standard that will test for the functionality of the carrier, leg openings, instructions etc. however, even if the carrier passes the test, it might not hold up to the daily wear and tear. As parents we need to make sure our babies are safe and as manufacturer we need to produce products to the highest standard possible to ensure babywearing is safe.
Some images of good and safe sewing
Excellent safe sewing in a waist belt.
Double stitching on the shoulder strap and a x-box on the high stress area
double stitches in high stress area along with securing the belt in place with vertical and horizontal stitches
A bit hard to tell, double stitches, a x-box, and bar tacks. This will last.
double stitches and bar tacks to secure high stress area.
|Posted on November 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
· Carrying baby wrapped tight upright with chin off chest!
· Facing the parent, never out!
· Baby carrier needs to allow for natural movement.
· Center of gravity close to mom or dad.
· Secure on upper body!
· Bottom or Crotch piece widths
· Calves out, knee bend
· Never pick up baby by arms!
Much can be said and written about being safe when carrying our children. There are some general rules we need to pay attention to at first, because babywearing is just being re-discovered, but soon checking on our babies is second nature.
Carrying baby wrapped tight upright with chin off chest!
Most importantly we need to be aware of our baby’s airway. We need to make sure baby’s chin is up away from his chest. Having baby’s chin rest on his chest kinks baby’s airway and can have detrimental consequences. This chin-chest danger needs to be checked frequently, not only in baby carriers but also in car seats, swings, activity saucers, and so on. The kinked airway is referred to as positional asphyxiation and can happen in all directions. A baby carrier needs to offer sufficient head support to allow for safe babywearing. Babies carried are much less likely to suffer positional asphyxiation than those left in car seats or swings for long periods of time. The natural movement of the parent stimulates all senses and helps the baby’s circulation. Indegiouns people carry their children upright from birth and there are no records of fatalities due to positional asphyxiation.
Evelin Kirkilionis Ph.D., a leading human behaviorist and babywearing expert noted:
“The upright supported posture allows even very small babies moving patterns that are usually not seen until two to three months later. Free from the chore of controlling and holding his little head while trying to stabilize against gravity, an infant secured in a wrap for example can hold and turn his own head early on.”
Carrying baby upright with proper head support, held well on both sides of baby’s body along with the support of the natural rounded back is by far safest carrying way for all ages. Parents can sense the baby’s needs immediately, being close enough to baby’s face to notice any discomfort and in a position to take action without delay. Conscious Babywearing can safe baby’s life!
Facing the parent and never out!
Facing the parents and never out is another safety measure to assure baby’s healthy hip and spine development. Baby feels secure being straddled around the parent, being active in helping stabilize himself against mom’s or dad’s body. Baby feels good having a tiny bit of control when to look out and explore the world and when to focus on mom’s face instead. Facing baby out completely takes any kind of control from the baby and forces baby into a position and activity their brains are not able to make sense of at that age.
It also pushes the baby into a hollow of the back, the natural rounding of the spine, called Kyphosis, is not possible. This in turn influences the slight tilt of the pelvic floor which is also not possible, positioning the hip ball in a place that causes undo pressure on the hip socket in an unfavorable place. This pressure can cause slight deformation in the hardening of the socket.
No long term study have been done on the influence of bad hip positioning related to hip problems. Research would require parents to purposely put their children in harms way to prove there is a relation in the hip and leg position and hip problems later on. What we do know is that children who spent a lot of time on their tummies with straight legs will end up with major hip problems. Since some of the baby carriers on the market adopted this same straight leg position it is logical to assume this kind of carrier is not safe for baby’s hip development. Cradle positions also assume a position unfavorable for the hip development.
Baby carrier needs to allow for natural movement.
There are many baby carriers on the market but not all of them support baby properly and safely. A good baby carrier will allow for baby’s natural movement. As we already showed, a baby carrier supporting baby upright is safest. On top of that a baby carrier needs to allow for baby’s natural movement. This helps baby develop muscle tone along with keeping baby safe as baby will not be forced into a forced position. Baby carriers that are very deep, bag like, or stiff are not supportive of the correct and healthy development of the baby.
Center of gravity close to mom or dad
Baby carriers are often secured with straps or belts that can be adjusted with buckles. Some are fabric simply tied. Whatever carrier you choose because of fit and comfort, you need to make sure it will allow you to have baby securely tied to you body. You and your baby need to be one movement. Baby should not flop around in the carrier, neither be pushed into the carrier when you turn quickly, stop or speed up. The best way to check a good fit is to lean forward. If the baby is on your front and falls into the back of the carrier, the fit is too loose. Try adjusting the carrier to be closer to your center of gravity. If that is not possible, the baby carrier is not a good fit for you and your baby.
Secure on upper body
For parent and baby to be close and experience each other through all senses, a baby needs to be carried in front of the chest, not the belly. Although some positions are referred to as belly to belly, the proper positioning is in front of your chest. A baby carrier needs to be adjustable to the individual size of the baby and the person wearing the baby. Wearing baby above the belly button is much easier on the pelvic floor. Carrying something heavy too low can lead to incontinence in women. The legs of the baby need to be straddled around the body of the person wearing the baby, not hang straight below. A baby carrier worn improperly too low puts baby at risk for developing severe hip problems since the hip ball is continually pushed out of the socket every step the babywearer takes. Baby’s hips are not developed enough to allow for the legs to move backwards, only forward movements are possible, meaning legs in front of the baby, never behind. Any carrier that puts this natural development in question is not suitable for babies. As we have been instructing in our classes for years, make sure baby’s head is close enough for you to kiss comfortably on the forehead.
Bottom or Crotch piece widths
The crotch piece or also called bottom piece, needs to extend to the hollow of baby’s knee on both sides. Some baby carriers have adjustable crotch pieces, other don’t. Carrying a baby with legs extended is definitely harmful.
Dr. Fettweis, a leading osteopath in Europe said:
“When being carried, the calves from the hollow of the knee on need to be able to hang down. Under no circumstances should knee joints be permanently stretched out. In this position the ischiocrurale muscle (the muscle group stretching from the backside of the thighs by the ischium to right under the knee joint), are stretched. This perma nent stretching is the reason that breech babies are more likely to have hip dysplasia. This position needs to be avoided as it can very well be dangerous to the hip joint.”
A bottom or crotch piece of the baby carrier that is too small also poses a risk for your baby. The legs dangle and the hip ball pushes away from the socket. This is not an optimal position for the hip to harden properly. Baby also rides on the most sensitive area of his little body, which can lead to infections (especially for boys) or deformation.
A dangling child is also very uncomfortable and burdensome on the person wearing the baby. There are many of these baby carriers on the market. As far as I can tell most of them are only being used for very short periods of time and often parents feel baby doesn’t like to be carried or it is simply too uncomfortable for the parents. That is why these type of baby carriers can often be found for a great discount on auction sites, garage sales, or radio/TV classifieds and they all state they are hardly used, only used a handful of times, etc. Picking a baby carrier that supports baby and parent correctly can be tricky but once you understand the development of babies it becomes easier and easier. You will also see baby sink right into the carrier as if it is a second womb when the baby carrier is correct.
I frequently see babies, whom I was already told do not like to be worn, relax into the proper carrier and be fast asleep before we are even finished explaining everything about it. Babies love to be worn close to the parent’s heart but only if the carrier is comfortable and offers them the security and safety they need.
If you have tried different carries but none seem to work, see if all the safety guidelines were in place in the baby carrier. Most likely they were not and baby just reacted to not being comfortable and able to relax. A relaxed baby in a properly supported carrier is in what we call a quiet alertness state. Baby is calm, feeling secure but learning.
Crotch piece by far too narrow for baby's healthy hip development and comfort.
Calves out, knee bend
As Dr. Fettweis remarked above, Werner Sagmeister, Dr. . is also concerned with the trend of having baby’s legs wrapped up in a carrier. Having legs in does not allow for the pelvic floor to be tilted in the optimal position.
“From an anatomical perspective it is of uttermost importance for the healthy development of a baby's hips, pelvic floor, and spine, that the legs are outside of the baby carrier. Through this so called spread-squatting position one derives the physiological correct CCD angle (Centrum-Collum-Diaphysen-angle), which counteracts a possible underdevelopment of the hip and pelvic structure.
The safest position for baby’s development is upright, sitting on a seat stretched to the hollow of the knee on both sides with calves outside the carrier and a proper back support.
CAUTION: Check your baby’s legs often to make sure they are warm and blood circulates freely. Should the calves and feet appear to have a little bit of a different color, shift baby in the carrier. Should there be severe fabric pressure spots from the carrier it is because baby is not sitting in the fabric but rather on the edge. Give baby a tush push (gently hold baby’s knees in your hands and carefully push them back into the hip socket, moving baby into the fabric and preventing baby from dangling on the edge.
Another reason for calves out in proper supported position is that babies in utero have their hips flexed and externally rotated with the knees flexed and feet turned inward. As a result of this scrunched position, the torsional forces associated with this position, all newborn infants exhibit some degree of external femoral torsion and internal tibial torsion, both of which is normally corrected spontaneously with subsequent growth. However, certain sleeping or sitting positions in carriers can exert torsional forces or internal tibial torsion on the growing lower limbs and either prevent the spontaneous correction of those deformities present at birth, or even create new torsional or tibial deformities. This deformation can be seen in toeing in or toeing out. Correct hip position (90 degree spread apart and knees higher than the buttock) and legs below the knee out of the carrier will work to help the spontaneous correction of either tibial or torsional forces.
Basically the hip is stressed in certain places and cannot correct the forces of the flexed limbs spontaneously because the pressure continues outside the womb.
Never pick up baby by arms!
One of the most common arm injuries that occur in young children is called radial head subluxation or also called nursemaid's elbow. This happens when the normal anatomical alignment of two of the three bones which form the elbow joint is disrupted. This often occurs when the arm is pulled while being extended, as is the case when swinging a baby onto your back for a back carry.
The bones of the upper arm and forearm meet at the elbow. When one of the bones in the forearm (the radius) separates slightly from the bone in the upper arm called the humerus, a ligament called the annular ligament may slip into this joint. Then when the bones come back together, they pinch this ligament between them causing the pain of the nursemaid's elbow. It occurs in children from a few months of age to about five years. At five years, the annular ligament is usually strong enough to keep from slipping and it is rare to this this injury in children older than five years old. To keep your baby safe, do not swing your baby onto your back holding him by the arms. Always scoot baby around your hip or lift baby under armpits, always keeping one hand holding baby, over your shoulder. Certified babywearing educators in your area can help you master the back carries.
|Posted on November 2, 2012 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Babywearing– makes 5 sense
Babywearing is often advertised as aconvenient, hands free help in raising children. As true as it is,there is much more to be said about the symbiotic relationship thatforms when holding baby close throughout the day and night.
When I became pregnant for the firsttime about 14 years ago there was no question about wearing ourdaughter, it was a given. I had worn babies for twenty years before,babysitting for family and friends in Germany and I had seen how calmworn babies are. I did not know all the details of babywearing, itjust seemed natural to want to be close to my baby. My husband becamethe first US dealer and distributor of German woven wraps afterseeing how our baby and I enjoyed being close. Meanwhile I realizedthrough experience in wearing our seven children and research justhow wonderful babywearing is on so many levels.
Stephan Mayer, Ph.D. in Passau, Germanysaid: “A small child cannot think clearly, however he can, frombirth and most likely even long before, feel clearly and correctly.….If parents are not directly present it signals to a small child acomplete abandonment without end. Abandonment without end is lifethreatening, he cannot feed himself or defend against threats. Thedeathly fear is a valid emotion, a real and correct emotion.”
Babies have ways to communicate theirfears and distress if we are in tune. Their emotions are real andcorrect and being present for our babies is the baby's way of knowingeverything is in balance.
All sensory systems of a baby arefunctioning at 18 weeks gestation. A baby can see, feel, smell, hearand taste before birth. After birth baby is learning to filter outunimportant noises, which baby can learn best when all senses areinvolved in feeling safe and secure. All five senses help babywearerand baby to bond.
The human eye is an amazing organ.Pages can be written about the precise way an eye works and how thebrain interprets the pictures sent by the eye. One of the mostsignificant findings of Howard A. Moss and Kenneth S. Robson MD isthat the frequency of eye contact between mother and baby can determine the social aptness of a baby down the road. Studies havealso shown that a baby will make eye contact when needing help orneeding reassurance. Looking into each others eyes also helps babycalm down and bond and mother to experience a change in mood. It cantake a baby from being upset to smiling and a mother from beingfrustrated to smiling and the bond is established again. A childbeing worn becomes very attune at communicating through non-verbalcommunication with the mother or father.
I often half joke with expecting parents wanting to wear their babies that babywearing is addictive.Once you experience holding a newborn close, you want to experienceit again and again. There is something about the feel, smell andgrunts of a newborn that speak to your emotions and cannot completelybe rationally explained.
A baby really tastes yummy. My familyof origin is a baby kissing tribe. Cuddling and kissing a baby is thenorm and has never been questioned. A worn baby invites being kissedfrequently. In studying philematology (science of kissing), it wasdiscovered that by kissing, your own and baby's pheromones getswapped. Pheromones are essentially airborne messages that areexcreted externally and generate a social response from the other inthe same species. Pheromones are widely recognized as a mediatorpromoting survival of each species. In the mother-baby bond it isinstrumental in signaling they belong to each other. By kissing ourbabies we attract baby to us and baby attracts us to them. Ourattachment to our babies goes more than skin deep.
Have you experienced the grunts and squeals of a newborn? Then youknow how it lifts our mood to hear our little ones verballycommunicate with us. Hearing them is not only hearing them cry, aworn baby cries very little if at all, hearing is responding to babyand bonding while we communicate. Baby's sounds are differentdepending on the mood and energy level. Mother's tone of voice andspeed will change according to baby's needs. Observation ofmother-baby pairs found if baby is tired, mother's language will beslower and more drawn out along with using a lower pitch. The childlearns that expression in the tone variations express emotions.Communicating with baby helps baby feel understood. Seeing baby'sresponse helps mother feel good about her ability to understand babyand the bond between them is strengthened through verbalcommunication. The Swiss midwife Silvia von Bueren, who studiedparent-child communication for two decades, urges parents to slowdown. She said; “not until parents slow down and find a way to readtheir children do parents dip into their intuitive intrinsicknowledge of bonding with their child.” Hearing our babies whenbaby is worn helps us slow down and really “hear” baby,especially when hearing is combined with eye contact. Hearing my babytalk also encourages me to talk more, which in turn stimulates baby'sneural dendrites and circuits in the brain and causes the lefthemisphere's language centers to grow. Baby is stimulatedintellectually and emotionally. Listening to my baby I know by thetone of his voice, the intensity of his voice, the fluctuation of hisvoice and the sounds what his exact needs are even before he can saya word. Babywearing encourages the verbal interaction between babyand babywearer and supports a strong bonding experience because weare more in tune when meeting baby's needs.
Consciously knowing about different smells or not, olfactory playsa roll in infant-parent bonding. The nose has about 10 million smellreceptors. No two people smell the same. Odor is determined by ourgenes, skin type, our diet, mood, health, and even the weather. Ababy recognizes mother's smell immediately after birth. A baby knowsmother and father by their smells. Sandra Deissman, RN, Germany, whostudied mother-baby bonding through smell explains how the nipplesand chest area smell about the same as the amniotic fluid in mother'swomb. “Through smelling each other a strong mother-baby bondstarts to develop.” Interestingly we can smell our baby's moods.Wearing baby upright chest to chest is proven to be best. Havingbaby close to your senses helps you determine quickly what baby'sneeds are. If baby is in distress, you can smell it. I can smellwhen baby is getting a cold. With our first daughter I alreadynoticed how I disliked her smell whenever someone else held her andhow it took me a while to establish “our” smell again where wefelt balanced and well. I can certainly relate to other mammals thatway. Babywearing allows me to smell my sweet baby and keeps babysecurely close to eliminate other people's odor on my baby, keepingus in a balanced state. It also helps me smell any kind of distressand allows me to act quickly. Smelling baby is a way for ouremotions to know all is well. Babywearing supports baby and mothersto be in a balanced state by being cuddled up close and embraced byeach others smells.
Books have been written on the importance of touch, feeling eachother close and how it affects bonding with each other. Touch is theearliest sense to develop in the fetus and skin is the largest areato be stimulated through the senses. About 16% of our body is skinwith appropriately 5 Million nerve endings, the largest organ in ourbody. Humans usually enjoy touch. Babies thrive when being touched,using their energy to grow and learn instead of being in a stressedlonely emotional state. Being touched sends a message to the brainwhich in turn produces more dopamine and endorphins, which are feelgood hormones. Baby is balanced and feels good. Babywearing assistsin the stimulation of the skin, constantly sending loving messages tothe brain. Being physically close has been shown to help babiesdigest their food better and cry less. Touch is essential for baby tofeel secure and safe. By two years of age, the child's brain is about80% of the adult size. Babywearing, especially if done for severalyears will help baby be in an emotionally balanced place.
Studies have shown that attachedchildren are more self confident as preschoolers already and asuniversity students show a higher self worth than their peers.
Babywearing is a natural way to bond asit uses all our senses to “read” our baby and respond in a waythat baby understands and can communicate with from the moment theyare born.
Bonding with our seven children throughbabywearing has been a sacred experience for us. Just the thought ofour children close brings back feelings of love and tenderness. Iknow I can look back over the years of raising and babywearingchildren and know I maximized my time with our children and I willbask in the endorphins and dopamine that flood my brain and bodywhile walking smiling down memory lane.
Using all our senses to the fullest in bonding with our babiesmakes sense.
BabysSprache verstehen. Www.Familie.de
Deissman,Sandra R.N. “Durch die Nase lieben Lernen - Facharbeit”
Diamond,Marian Ph.D. And Janet Hopson. “MagicTrees of the Mind”
Renz-Polster, Herbert, M.D., “Kinderverstehen. Born to be wild-wie die Evolution unsere Kinder praegt(Koesel Verlag 2009); “
|Posted on November 2, 2012 at 12:35 AM||comments (1)|
The following article is taken from “Babywearing Safely and Securely” an ebook available through the Babywearing Institute and Amazon.
To cradle or not to cradle?
Cradle carry, a potential death trap!
Among babywearing friends the debate continues about teaching the cradle carry or teaching upright carries only. After consulting with many professionals and reading the incident reports from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, we strongly recommend a tight upright position over the cradle hold. The majority of incidents were in the cradle hold. Although not all ruled positional asphyxiation, it is my believe that the majority were preventable with an upright firmly supported position. In 30 years of working in the babywearing world, I have never encountered parents who insisted on carrying their babies in the cradle hold after receiving this important information. It simply makes sense.
The following topics will be covered in this article.
· Positional Asphyxiation risk very high! (chin on chest to kink airway)
· Baby too far removed to sense needs or distress
· Baby can't move head away from babywearer's body or clothing, too little to work against gravity with low muscle development – forced position
· Baby gravitates to the lowest point in carrier with risk of PA
· Vestibular stimulation of the brain less favorable
· Can't feel every movement of the baby
· Any objects added to the carrier (receiving blankets) are adding a greater risk for shifting and suffocation in the carrier
· Baby is shifting or bending sideways with movement of the babywearer
· Often baby's face not visible
· Hip position not favorable to optimal development
· Extra fabric layer between baby and babywearer
· Olfactory awareness is lost
Positional Asphyxiation risk is very high.
Positional asphyxia is a type of suffocation that occurs when the body is put in a position that restricts airflow. This can lead to unconsciousness and even death in mere minutes and often goes unnoticed because baby is in a position where he cannot send out a stress signal. In infants, positional asphyxia can occur when they are placed in a semi-seated position like the cradle carry in a baby sling. Positional asphyxia can occur due to the prominence of the occiput (back of the head), as well as the overall lack of neck muscle strength, which forces the head to slouch forward pushing the infant’s chin down against his/her chest.6 This body position causes the windpipe to narrow or close.
Another cause for positional asphyxiation is the infant’s nose is submerged in bedding material. This position increases the likelihood of difficulty in breathing. This is because, the exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2) during breathing does not escape and is more concentrated in the bedding material
Baby too far removed from caregiver to sense distress
In a cradle carry baby’s head is very low compared to an upright carry. Most, if not all, baby carriers designed to be used in the cradle carry, are fabric and baby sinks into it. By having the head removed too far from the caretakers senses, baby is in danger of sending out distress signals that will go unanswered. If baby’s head is upright below the babywearer’s chin, baby can be seen, heard, and smelled, along with being touched. Any kind of distress can be sensed immediately and the caretaker is in a position to remedy the situation before an emergency occurs.
Baby can't move head
The muscle tone of a newborn is not developed enough to lift the heavy head against gravity. In the cradle carry baby has to work against gravity and turn the head at the same time should the airway be in a compromised position. This task is far beyond a newborns ability. The cradle carry is a forced position where baby has no control of his well being. Because the baby is too far removed from the babywearer’s senses, baby’s stress signals are unfortunately sometimes not received in time to safe baby’s life.
Baby gravitates to the lowest point in carrier with risk of PA
Because of the movement when carried in the baby carrier, baby will naturally gravitate to the lowest point of the carrier. Being “stuck” in the lowest point curls baby up in a little ball, which is the risk factor for positional asphyxiation (PA). It is not the natural form of the spine called kyphosis, it is the fact that the heavy head is rolled with the baby’s chin onto baby’s chest, which kinks the airway and baby cannot work against gravity to free himself from this potentially fatal situation.
Vestibular stimulation of the brain less favorable
The vestibular system in the brain is the foundation for a numerous amount of skills. Among them for example, standing up straight, keeping once balance, moving through space, coordinating information from the vestibular organs in the inner ear, the eyes, muscles and joints along with jaw and gravity receptors on the skin, adjust the heart rate and blood pressure, limb position and immune response. To name all the functions it would be another book, suffice it to say that the vestibular system is invaluable. Being carried upright in a baby carrier supports and stimulates the vestibular system. Being laid in a cradle hold is less favorable to the intricate brain connections.
Can’t feel every movement of the baby
When baby is carried upright with no extra layer of heavier baby carrier fabric to interfere with the closeness between babywearer and baby, the wearer can feel every little movement of the baby. A baby in the cradle carry is in a separate hammock and the babywearer is often unaware of baby’s movements. Leaning forward dangles baby in the air, away from the babywearer.
Any objects added to the carrier are adding a greater risk for shifting and suffocation in the carrier
Some babywearing educators who have not furthered their education, try to fix an ill designed product by adding receiving blankets, rolled up towels or cloth diapers among other things. Anything placed in the carrier adds a hazard to babywearing. Do not place anything with the baby in the carrier. Baby is bound to shift in the cradle hold and any objects placed in the cradle hold with the baby can shift to compromise baby’s airway. When carrying baby upright in a carrier that is suited for baby’s development, baby does not need any other objects to be embraced securely by the upright carrier.
Baby is shifting or bending sideways with movement of the babywearer
Because a newborn has a curved spine called the kyphosis, baby’s natural position would be with a curved back. Baby is most comfortable in this position and will, when shifting in the carrier during movement, assume this position. This is not possible sideways around babywearer’s body so baby shifts facing the babywearer. Baby will end up being turned against the babywearer’s body which can compromise baby’s breathing ability. Loose clothing and heavily patted rails of the sling present a hazard to baby.
Often baby's face not visible
One of the major risk factors of the cradle carry and those products designed to only carry in the cradle carry, are the fact that baby is not visible to you at all times. Some carriers have padded rails that obstruct your view of your baby, others have elastic to close baby’s slings from your view. Others are just simply too deep and the fabric closes over baby. Whatever the reason, not seeing your baby can put baby at risk because you cannot see and sense baby’s signals for help.
Hip position not favorable to optimal development
Of course the hip position is not favorable in a cradle position. The hip joints are pushed in an unnatural way, which prevents the hip socket from forming around the hip ball sufficiently. The better the hip position as baby the better the chance of a live long healthy hip. The best position for the hip to harden in the perfect way is the spread-squatting position.
Extra fabric layer between baby and babywearer
Most baby carriers have an extra layer of fabric between babywearer and baby, preventing skin to skin contact. The first few weeks it is very comforting and stimulating for baby to feel his skin next to mom or dad’s skin. Skin to skin contact is a must in kangaroo mother care. Baby’s oxygenation improves, the heart rate increases to a level that is normal for a baby who feels secure. The parent is able to help baby regulate his temperature.
Babies with skin to skin contact are much better at breastfeeding, latch on without help and latch on well. Babies latching on well get more milk easier than those who latch on poorly. This in turn helps mom not get sore from constant nursing. Baby can access milk that the pump cannot. A baby in skin contact has no reason to cry. Babies enjoy skin to skin contact but many baby carriers block this possibility. Even if you prefer not to wear your baby skin to skin, the more layers (especially if the fabric is synthetic) keep you from feeling baby’s every movement, being able to read baby, and will keep you from responding immediately to baby’s every need.
Olfactory awareness is lost
We often don’t think about the sense of smell when considering babywearing. Humans have around 10,000 olfactory receptors. About 3 % of the human genetic code is working on the construction of the olfactory receptors. Because through the olfactory awareness one can even discern another humans fitness and health to identifying poisonous substances and safe food. Olfactory receptors are closely connected to memory, even more than any other sense. Having baby close to your sense of smell is another way to get to know your baby intimately. You can sense distress by the change in smell in your baby, which will alert you to check on baby. A baby in the cradle carry is too far removed from your main olfactory receptors and an important way of bonding is lost.
The cradle carry is better left unused. 21 of the approximately 25 babies, who have died in baby carriers in the past 20 years, were carried in the cradle carry. No doubt, it is a high risk carry because of many ill designed cradle carry devices and little education on safe babywearing. Find a baby carrier that allows you to wear baby closely embraced upright, close to your center of senses. Any kind of distress can be sensed immediately and taken care off before baby might be in serious danger. Upright wrapped tight is the safest way to wear your baby.
|Posted on November 2, 2012 at 12:30 AM||comments (3)|
Babywearing - Whatexactly is safe?
Since the re-discovery of babywearing, there has been a lot of discussion about what is considered safe andwhat isn't. You can ask ten different people and get ten differentanswers. So what exactly is safe?
And why does the Babywearing Instituteteach only safest humanly possible babywearing?
Babies are going through differentstages of development. We always hear people say how fast babies growand how big baby has grown. We all agree, babies grow fast. In eachdevelopmental stage, their physiological needs need to be met as wellas their emotional needs in order for baby to develop as best aspossible. A baby carrier supporting the best position for babyphysiologically is a safe carrier, meaning it helps baby'sdevelopment and does not work against it. We also call using acarrier that supports baby well in every developmental stage bestpractice.
What are babies needs? Contrary tocommon carriers on the market, baby's legs need to be up with kneesabove baby's bum and moderately spread apart. Ultimately the sameposition you have when squatting on the floor. Take a minute to trythis and you will see how you can keep your balance with your legsmoderately spread apart while squatting. Baby feels the same, morebalanced if the physiological correct position is honored in the waybaby is carried. This position allows for the very best fit of thefemural head (hip ball) in the acetabulum (hip socket).
What happens when the femurol head isplaced well in the acetabulum? Ewald Fettweis, M.D. Who is apediatric orthopedic surgeon who has been a leader in safebabywearing Europe, studied the hip joint in particular and came tothis conclusion.
“Because the human is a physiological premature birth, the skeletonof a newborn is mainly cartilage. ?The spread squatting position ismost favorable. A clue for this is, for example, those populationswhere babies are carried in a warp, close to the mother's body, hipluxations are basically non existent when the children sit in thewrap, the legs are 90º or morelifted up and moderately spread, keeping the legs from beingstraightened. Thereby the pivotal muscles push above the hip ballinto the socket, thereby creating a hydrostatic pressure, which inturn supports the hardening of the bone.”
Looking at the hip, we know the hip ismainly cartilage at birth and the during first two years, as babygrows, the hip bones harden. With repeated pushing the femoral headand neck against the acetabulum in an unphysiological way, theintegrity of the acetabulum edge is compromised.
Safest practice in babywearing is tosupport baby's physiological need in making sure baby's legs aresupported in being in the proper spread squatting position.
Many doctors working to prevent andheal hip dysplasia have also published about best position for babyin a baby carrier.
Dr. Fettweis advises:
“The legs should not be close and pressed together. The diaperpackage can serve as a leverage where the hp ball is pressed upagainst the sides of the hip socket. It does not necessarily lead toa dislocation but rather to an unnatural strain on the hip socket.”(Ewald Fettweis, M.D. Hueftysplasie: Sinnvolle hilfen fuerBabyhueften, 46).
Along with the knee up position- thespread squatting position, the legs from the knee down should beoutside the carrier. Legs out help baby, from day one, to stabilizehimself against your body. This in turn helps baby work muscles,achieve optimum balance, have a sense of control, and help the hipbone to harden properly.
Dr. Sagmeister a babywearingoccupational therapist and teacher at Ergotherapie Schule Vilshofenin Germany said:
From an anatomical perspective it is of uttermost importance for thehealthy development of baby's hops, pelvic floor, and spine that thelegs are outside of the baby carrier. Through this so calledspread-squatting position one derives the physiologicalll correctCCangleee (Centrum-Collum- Diaphysen-angle), which counteracts apossible underdevelopment of the hip and pelvic structure.
If there is a suspicion of hip dysplasia (congenital development ofthe hip socket where the cartilage and soft hip ball joint does notfind sufficient stability in the hip socket), the pacing of the legsinside any baby carrier should clearly be avoided as that can, inextreme cases, lead to hip dysplasia.
In relation to the spine we need to take into consideration that thelegs are not to be pressed right in front of baby's abdomen as thatcan lead to a hyperkyposis of the spine. (A stronger curvature orkyphosis than is healthy). The overly rounded spine cannot absorb anyjolts usually absorbed by the spine through the discs.
Furthermore the small body is robbed of its stability which he canget with his legs outside of the carrier on the babywearer's bodythrough the torso erection (uplift) and balance movements throughextensors muscle movement.”
Another way to keep baby safe is tosupport baby's rounded back which is normal and takes about one yearto straighten. Often baby carriers are constructed to push baby'sback upright if baby is carried in an upright carrier. Baby is bornwith a rounded back called kyphosis. In order for the pelvic floor tobe tilted just right to fit the femur head perfectly into theacetabulum, baby's back is rounded. If the back position is off, thehip position will suffer. Baby's spine will stretch over the firstyear until baby can walk unassisted at about one year of age. Tosupport this rounded back with the spread squatting position isessential in helping baby's hip and spine develop properly.Babywearing is a wonderful tool in helping baby develop musclestrengths which in turn helps baby's spine develop balanced.
Why is the cradle carry still promoted?
Even though experts have long stronglyadvised against the cradle carry, many manufacturer still producecradle carry only baby carriers. All of them are not safe or bestpractice. To explain all the reasons against the cradle carry itwould take another article, which will follow soon. Suffice it to sayfor this article that the cradle carry may promote hip dysplasia andposes a high risk of positional asphyxiation. Hip dysplasia can bedeveloped later and does not need to be genetic. Using safest andbest practice will help your baby have the best start for a healthylife of walking, running, biking, dancing, hiking, and wherever else his or her legs will carry him or her.