Whether you're a new mom or seasoned mom, one tip that never fails is finding a great baby carrier to help relieve you of constantly carrying your baby in your arms and at the same time, help you function to get other things done with your baby latched onto you. If you decide to go with a baby carrier of any kind, there are definitely some general babywearing safety guidelines you should follow to ensure the best possible outcome for you both.
Once you really dive into the world of babywearing, it's easy to see there are tons of different ties, positions, and more, depending on the carrier you go with. And in order to ensure everyone stays safe, it's a good idea to make sure you're following the most basic babywearing safety rules to ensure that baby's airway stays open, they're correctly supported, and your carrier is up to the proper standards – along with a few other helpful safety tidbits. Although this may sound a little overwhelming, it's actually not as scary as it may sound. Truth be told, if you're truly worried, there are a ton of babywearing support groups on Facebook you can follow, YouTube tutorials to help you along, and even your lactation consultant, doula, or pediatrician that can keep you heading down the safest path.
If you're just starting out with figuring out how you can tot your baby around or need a refresher, here are the major points of safety for babywearing that you should definitely follow.
1. Read The Manufacturer's Instructions
Although parents everywhere roll their eyes at reading the instructions to every little baby-related item or toy, for something like a baby carrier, it's an important piece of safety. Seriously, look over the manufacturer's instructions to make sure there isn't something you wouldn't have accounted for otherwise. Because honestly, every product has a different list of dos and don'ts, and specifics when it comes to positioning (froggy style versus straight legs, front-facing or back) and parameters that are related to your baby's specific weight and age.
2. You Want To See Your Baby's Face, Always
Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) shared that it's extremely important you're able to see your little one's face at all times while in the carrier. In order to ensure they're breathing comfortably, the airway remains open, and they have enough circulation, this is a must-have rule of thumb to abide by.
3. Make Sure Your Carrier Is Supportive
In my opinion, carriers offer both emotional and physical support. The emotional support for mom is the ability to get things done while baby's in the carrier, and it's so comforting to have your baby snuggled up against you. From a safety standpoint, however, you need to make sure your carrier offers legitimate physical support for your baby's neck and head first, according to Babywearing International. The site also shared that "ideally baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee..."
4. Look Your Carrier Over For Damages
When you're purchasing a new carrier or even on a semi-regular basis with your current carriers, it's important to check for any wears or tears that could pose a safety issue. Additionally, you can also look for current U.S. safety, testing, and labeling standards on new carriers you're considering purchasing or look to see that the maker is a member of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance in order to make sure they truly are up to reputable safety standards. If you're dusting off an old carrier that you received as a hand-me-down or haven't used for many years, make sure you check to make sure there haven't been any recalls or negative feedback on the product that you're not comfortable with.
5. Use Outward-Facing Carriers Sparingly
Becoming Mamas shared some pretty interesting info in that it can be tricky to achieve proper positioning with an outward facing carrier. It's also an issue when your overstimulated infant needs to seek comfort or security to fall asleep safely when worn outward facing. Lastly, outward facing carriers put more strain on your back because gravity is working against you with your baby pulling outward instead of snuggling inward toward you, so that is something to keep in mind as well. On the flip side, you might find that your baby loves being in the outward facing position and that it keeps them stimulated and entertained beyond belief. You're their mama and trust that you'll be able to read your baby's signs and rock them in a position that you're both happy with.
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