Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Safe Babywearing

I have to admit that when I first started "wearing" my kids in baby carriers it was mostly for utilitarian purposes. With my first two, I really did not use any baby carriers. When Baby M was born, I had a double stroller and 2 toddlers who refused to walk. I had heard rave reviews about the Ergo Baby Carrier, so I bought one and thus started my babywearing adventure. The Ergo was extremely comfortable and so I pretty much wore M everywhere for the first six months of his life. At some point I also bought a Moby wrap which I like too, but mostly I just used the Ergo.
Having become certified as a doula and done more reading on this topic, I was well aware of the benefits of babywearing- calmer babies, less crying and fussing, creating connection between mother and baby. I have to say that I really have seen that with M. He has always been a very happy baby and does not cry much unless he is hungry or tired. He is now 16 months old and while I mostly use the stroller now for him, I still wear him about two or three times a week, mostly when I am going on a bus with the kids or have other stroller-less errands to run. He still loves being in the Ergo. When he sees me put it on, he starts smiling broadly. I love wearing him because like this I still get to cuddle and be close to him. Wearing him in the front carry position is the perfect position to give him lots of kisses and hugs and to talk to him while we are walking.
Recently, babywearing has gotten a bad reputation due to the sling that was recalled. It is important to differentiate between one sling that was not safe versus babywearing in general, which is very safe, assuming one follows some basic rules.
At the workshop that I took last week, one of the women presented on the topic of safe babywearing. Most of the things she said are pretty much common sense:
1) A baby should be as upright as possible, whether one is using a carrier, sling or wrap.
2)The baby should be close to the mother, so she can see him at all times.
3) There should not be any fabric covering the baby's mouth or nose.
4)If you are using a wrap, make sure the fabric is not loose, rather pulled rightly towards your body and be sure that you have secured the wrap well with a tight knot.
5) Most importantly one should make sure that the baby's chin is not tucked in towards his or her neck as that can obstruct breathing. If you tuck your own chin under, you will notice that it is harder to breathe that way.

For more information on babywearing, check out Metrominis on the Upper East Side. They give free classes in babywearing and have every carrier/wrap/sling imaginable. Speaking of Metrominis, there will be a Doula Open House there this coming Thursday night. Doulas from Birthfocus, myself included, will be there from 7 pm to 8 30 pm to meet potential clients and answer any questions you may have. Come check us out!


  1. There was a note very similar to this in the Parents magazine I recieved today. Basically, be careful and be smart. Important topic.

  2. Interesting. Will have to check it out. I just thought it was important to point out that just because there was one faulty product doesn't mean that all babywearing is problematic. As with many things in life, common sense is essential!

  3. I looked at the Ergo because im not thrilled with the Baby Bjorn but the Ergo only lets the baby face you...it would be a much better product if the baby could face out as well.

  4. I hear you. I'm not sure why it is made like that. A lot of carriers that are similar to the Ergo like the Mei Tai and the Becco also only have the baby facing inwards. Maybe it's a structural thing? For outwards facing, a wrap may be good. Off the top of my head I can't think of another structured carrier other than the Bjorn that has the baby facing out.