It is the joy of every nursing mother to watch their baby grow. The first cry, the first laugh, the first step, and the first word of the baby have a soothing, refreshing, and satisfying effect on you as a mother. The joy knows no bound. However, in the quest to ensure the best for the babies, moms are sometimes faced with a tough question: Are baby carriers bad for babies?
Given the rates at which different products gain entry into the baby’s market recently, such a question is a valid fear if we are really concerned about our children’s safety and developments. Can we add it to our growing list of babies’ needs or are baby carriers bad for babies?
In this post we are going to treat this question in-depth and not only that, we are going to show why you may need to get one for your child.
What Are Baby Carriers?
A baby carrier is a padded supporting material that is worn by an adult to hold a baby close to the torso. Keep the baby in the torso. A baby carrier helps you hold the baby in the front or back without using your hands. That way, you can use your hands for household chores or other things.
What Are the Types of Baby’s Carrier?
Baby carriers come in various types, sizes, and shades:
A ring sling is a one-shouldered type of carrier made of a length of fabric, having two rings on one end of the fabric. This long piece of material is usually about 2 meters long is fastened by threading the free end through one ring and then tuck it under the other ring. When you thread the fabric, you produce a pouch where the baby rides with an adjustable tail.
This way, you can adjust it to your body and find the perfect snuggle for your baby. They do not make ring slings of stretchy fabrics that can expand and cause your baby to slip; we mostly make them of cotton, silk, or linen. Ring slings are easy to use and newborn ready. In no time, you will soon learn how to use them properly. However, if you have shoulder pain or discomfort in the back, I’ll advise you not to go for a ring sling.
Wraparound Slings are made up of a long strip of cloth wrapped and tied to hold the baby to your body. They may be stretchy or woven. While stretchy wraps are great for infants, woven wraps accommodate newborns up to toddler years. You secure to create a snug and secured place for your baby by tying the loose ends of the wrap. Wraps allow for even distribution and do not strain the wearer’s back or shoulders.
Pouch sling unlike ring sling does not have rings for adjusting the length of the fabric. Though uncommon, a pouch sling is a simple long loop of fabric that goes across your body–from one shoulder to the opposite hip. When using a pouch sling, you can wear the baby on your hip (most comfortable), as well as in front of you (best for newborns). Because it does not come in adjustable sizes, pouch sling is not shareable except between persons of similar body type.
It is inexpensive and easy to use. A pouch sling is also not good for the wearer’s back. It does not allow for even distribution of baby’s weight, it can lead to back and shoulder pain.
It has padded shoulder straps and a thick and padded waistband that can you can fasten around your waist. Structured Carrier has a wide and proper panel that allows the baby to rest in the healthiest position–with the hips bent and spread apart to the side, thighs supported, knees bent and higher than bum (we call this the frog position or spread-squat position).
This is the most natural position for infants, it reduces the risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation and promotes natural hip development. Buckle carriers are suitable from 4 to 5 months when the baby has better neck and head control. Some soft structured carriers that are suitable for newborn babies however often require adding an infant insert.
These are suitable for children that can sit on their own and have good neck control. They have padded shoulder straps and additional straps that can you can fasten around your waist and chest. Backpack Carriers can be used to carry a baby for a long time. They design some for walking in the wood, hiking, etc.
- Meh Dai (Mei Tai) Carrier: This combines the features of a buckle carrier and a wrap. It comes with two shoulder straps and two straps that you need to tie around your waist. Meh Dai (Mei Tai) Carrier is adjustable and can be shared between caregivers.
Advantages of Baby Carriers
- A baby carrier helps you hold the baby in the front or back without using your hands, thus relieving your arms of pain.
- When wearing a baby carrier, you can use your hands for household chores or other things.
- Using a baby carrier can help promote your child’s health. Some studies have pointed out that wearing a baby close, particularly with a special carrier designed for skin-to-skin contact, may help regulate the baby’s heartbeat, breathing patterns, and temperature while they are in the neonatal intensive care unit.
- Babywearing may help support the maternal-infant bond. It may also make it easier for you to begin to read and understand your baby’s cues with more confidence. For example, it will be easier to know when the baby is hungry or needs a change of diaper.
- It helps reduce crying. A randomized controlled study has pointed out that young babies who were carried cried and fussed less than babies who weren’t.
Disadvantages of Baby Carrier
- Mastery of the use of a baby carrier can be difficult. It may take time, commitment, and patience before you master the use of a carrier.
- Carrying two babies together can be really difficult except you are using a carrier for twin.
- In tropical countries, certain types of carriers might not be appropriate. For example, a carrier made of light material or woven fabric is better in tropical countries.
- Wearing a carrier does not actually mean that you can use your hands for anything. You cannot use your hands to carry heavy things while having the baby in the carrier at the same time.
Are Baby Carrier Safe for New Born?
Generally, baby carriers are not recommended for babies under four months old. This is because these babies can hold their heads up yet and are at greater risk of neck injuries. However, if you want to use a baby carrier from day one, please be sure that your baby meets the weight requirement of the carrier. In some cases, you’ll need to use an infant insert until he/she reaches a certain weight.
Are Baby Carrier Bad for Baby’s Spine?
Purchasing an unsuitable or wrong use of a baby carrier can have adverse effects on the baby’s spine. Do not buy soft structured carriers with narrow panels (seating area) where the baby’s weight puts pressure on his/her crotch and his/her legs are straight and dangle. This position strains the baby’s spine, it doesn’t support his legs and hips, and may consequently have a negative impact on the development.
Moreover, if an upright carrier places too much weight at the base of the spine, it may adversely affect the development of the normal spinal curves, and this in some cases could cause slippage or deformity of the low back vertebrae (spondylolisthesis). Similarly, if an infant’s spine is forced into a sitting position too early, it may be a factor in initiating the formation of a sideways tilt or curvature of the spine (scoliosis).
Can babies suffocate in baby carriers?
When a baby is not correctly placed in a carrier, he/she can be at risk of suffocation. This is because if they are in a dangerous position, the fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s airway and rapidly suffocating a baby within a minute or two.
It is advisable for the mother to keep their babies in an upright position with the sling or carrier tightly secured.
Do baby carriers hurt baby’s legs?
A baby carrier should support the baby’s thigh and allow the legs to spread to keep the hip in a stable position. Baby carriers that force the baby’s legs to stay together can contribute to hip dysplasia.
It is ideal that the baby’s knees should be higher than the bottom and the legs should be in a spread-squat position (M-like shape)
Conclusion: Are Baby Carriers Bad for Babies?
When choosing a baby carrier, ensure you go through the manufacturer’s recommendations before settling for one. While a baby carrier will not only give you and your baby an outstanding experience, wrong picking a baby carrier can cause your baby discomforts and affect the baby’s development.