How to wear your baby
Carrying a baby using a simple piece of cloth or animal skin has been a way of raising children for thousands of years. It was a way of life to keep babies safe and give them a sense of belonging and nurturance. Baby carrying made it possible to take care of the family and take care of oneself. It also ensured access to nutrition on demand.
A mother's need to bond and nourish the relationship with her the baby is crucial for human existence. Keeping baby close, especially skin-to-skin releases the powerful hormone oxytocin that enhances a mother’s postnatal well-being, which translates into baby’s wellbeing and calmness. It is also vital for establishing breast-milk demand-supply production.
Historically, babies were carried on the front, the back, or the hip, always facing parent. We at Helina Baby align with the attachment parent philosophy and the historical way of carrying. We encourage parents to continue the steps of our ancestors as there is wisdom in their methods of raising children.
Visible and Kissable
When carrying, your infant must be Visible and Kissable. Baby’s face should be uncovered at all times. Sleeping hoods should only be used to support your baby’s head during back-carry.
To avoid strain on your abdomen, shoulder neck and back, wear your baby high on your body at above your navel level.
Head and Spine Position
When using a carrier, the safest position for your baby’s head is turned away from your body with his or her chin away from their chest. This head placement ensures an open airway. Head placement is critical, especially for newborns, since they do not have the neck strength to reposition their heads if their airways are obstructed.
It is best to carry your baby with a rounded spine so that it forms a C-shape. This C-shape is the initial state of a fetus in the womb. After birth, the spine goes through a developmental process of straightening.
Carrying babies with their legs unsupported (in the extended position) will cause the spine to straighten prematurely and does not facilitate their spinal development. Although walking indicates that the spine has finished developing, it is best that baby's thighs are supported in an M-shape so that the spine can remain rounded to provide optimal comfort.
To facilitate the natural growth and development of your newborn’s hips, wear your baby with thighs supported by the carrier, knees higher than their pelvis and bent at 90 degrees. The shape of your baby’s legs and pelvis will form the letter M. Baby’s legs should be free outside the carrier.
Today we see babies carried with their legs unsupported in the extended position. Although this style of baby carrying is becoming popular, this position does not support a newborn’s hip development. It unnecessarily creates stress to the hip joints. We asked Dr Fetweiss, orthopaedic surgeon and author who has treated hundreds of babies and adults with hip dysplasia if it is okay to carry babies with their legs in the extended position. Here is what he had to say.