Baby wraps and slings are a popular method of holding your baby or toddler while you are up and about and can have several benefits for both you and your baby.
Baby-wearing can facilitate parent-child bonding through closeness and touch, allow your hands to be free to complete other tasks, and may even help with sleeping or settling your little one when they just need to be soothed.
There is also now scientific evidence to support benefits for reflux, hip dysplasia and healthy head development.
Just like having a correctly fitted car seat, baby wearing products need to be fitted and worn properly so that they are being used in a safe and comfortable way.
Read the checklist below to ensure you are keeping your baby safe.
1. Does your baby’s position mimic an in-arms carrying position?
If you are not sure, place your arms around your baby and check that the position would be the same as if you were holding baby in your arms. Baby’s head should be roughly at collar bone height, with their hips above your waist. Your baby should be close enough to kiss!
2. Have you read and are you following the manufacturer’s instructions?
Take the time to read through these properly and if you are not sure, ask your partner or a support person to go through it with you.
3. Is your baby’s face visible?
Check that baby’s face is not covered by the sling itself, blankets or clothing, and not pressed into your chest.
4. Is your baby’s head and neck supported with their chin off their chest?
Ensure your baby’s airways stay open by keeping their chin off their chest. You should be able to place 2 fingers between the chin and chest.
5. Is your baby’s back supported and snug?
Your baby’s back should be supported and its body held close to yours.
6. Would you do this activity if you were holding your baby in your arms?
You wouldn’t jog, tend to a hot stove or drive with your baby in your arms, so don’t do it with your baby in a sling!
7. Are baby’s legs in a frog position?
For hips to develop properly the best position is legs apart and bent up. The least desirable position is to have legs straight and held together.
Remember, if you are having back pain carrying or caring for your new babe it is important to speak to your myPhysioSA Physiotherapist for the best advice on managing your individual needs.
Jane Rothe, Associate Physiotherapist and Women’s Health Physiotherapist Mount Barker and North Adelaide
If you would like more information, please have a look at the following resources: