Monday, January 30, 2012

Babywearing Myth #2: Seating Position Is A Matter Of Opinion

Last week we talked about the various Infantino baby carriers, this week we are going to talk about the position your child is in while being carried. 

When carriers are brought up, one thing always comes to mind, how comfortable is the baby going to be and are they in the right position?

There are three reasons that the Bjorn and other carriers like it (a few are the snuggli, most Infantinos--there are some new models with good seats--most chiccosbelle baby carriers) are not recommended carriers in the Babywearing community:

1. They have a small, narrow seat that suspends baby's weight from her crotch. This puts pressure on the hips and spine that over time can cause issues. This seat shaped forces baby's spine into a straight line, which is contraindicated for infants. Their backs are naturally rounded and should be supported in this C-curve shape. This throws off the wearer's center of gravity, too, which is not safe when carrying a baby. A good carrier (like the ergobecopikkolomanduca) keep baby in a seated position that mimics the way you would naturally hold baby to your chest, with one arm under their bum, their knees bent and tucked up. Proper seating keeps baby's knees at or slightly higher than her bum and allows for the natural C-curve of the baby's spine.

A good illustration of the seat in a Bjorn-style carrier and the seat in an Ergo-style carrier. In the Bjorn, think of straddling the arm of a couch and not being able to put your feet down. In the Ergo, imagine sitting sideways on the arm of the couch so that it supports your body in a seated position from knee to knee and all across your bum.

2. They also lack waist support which leaves all baby's weight hanging from the wearer's (mommy or daddy) shoulders. This majority throws off your center of gravity, which can be dangerous should you trip or stumble. You will not be comfortable wearing even a small infant in a Bjorn for longer than 20 mins for the most part. I got to test one out with an 8 week old once and it killed my back.

3. The last reason that the Babywearing community doesn't like them is because the Bjorn promotes wearing baby forward facing out away from the wearer's body. Forward facing out is not recommended for longer than 15 mins at a time, because babies can easily become overstimulated and when facing out they no longer have the option of turning into their mother to hide or sleep. It also offers no head support that way. Many babies go through a phase at around 4 months where they like to be able to be facing out and looking around, but a better option is a carrier that allows you to do a high back carry so baby can see over your shoulder or a ring sling that they can sit sideways in. If you *must* face out, the Beco Gemini and Pikkolo carriers are made to allow for forward facing out and still keep babies in the proper seated position. The 15 min recommendation still applies and it does kind of hang baby's weight off the wearer's shoulders more than necessary because of their positioning.

All that said, if you like the simplicity of the Bjorn, you need a soft structured carrier (SSC) like the Beco GeminiBeco Butterly IIErgoPikkoloBoba 3G, etc. The Beco and the new boba may come with infant inserts so you can use them right away. I would also suggest a ring sling or a mei tai, because they are mostly easy to learn via a couple YouTube videos. They can be just as snuggly as a wrap, and are a little easier to pop on and off than a buckle carrier.

This post brought to you by on of our favorite contributors, Baby Carrier Expert, Brii from Travis and Brii.

Next week we will be uncovering the truth about the last myth. Here's a hint, you are doing it right now...

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