The method of babywearing has been around for centuries in some cultures. Over the years babywearing has actually caught on. Especially when new mothers discovered all the benefits that can come from actually carrying their baby around in a handsfree manner.
The types of babywearing devices such as slings have been perfected to were designed to achieve this safely.
However, the safe design is just the first part of ensuring that the baby is indeed safe while being carried around in a fabric wrap designed to hold the baby close to the chest.
There are also certain safety rules that a parent needs to follow while having their child in a babywearing garment. When these are purchased by a manufacturer such instructions and rules are included.
But, if you make your own it is important to know what those rules are, so let’s go over these and why these are important.
Make sure baby is visible at all times
This is the most important rule to remember is to make sure you can always see your baby ensure they are fine while in the carrier. This is the main reason why these baby slings are in front of a person.
We no doubt have seen carriers that have the baby being carried in the back, this isn’t a good idea. You want to make sure your baby’s head is always seen and that the baby isn’t being buried in the sling.
Another thing to remember is that until a baby can control their neck and head not to have them facing outward in the carrier. The baby should be properly positioned against the chest with their head properly supported by the sling.
The baby is properly positioned on the ribcage
Perhaps you have heard of the type of babywearing garment known as a bag sling, this one is actually not recommended. Why, because it is one of the most dangerous to use especially when it comes to a newborn.
Not only do these break the rule of keeping the baby visible but it also breaks this one as well. Let’s face it these are the types of baby slings that gave babywearing a bad rap, so best to avoid these altogether.
Now, why is it important to have the baby resting on your ribcage area? First, it keeps the baby resting around the chest area which keeps them easily visible at all times. Second, it makes it comfortable for the person carrying the child as well.
Another thing to keep in mind is that its a great idea to have a sling that is adjustable. This is mainly because not only the mother could be wearing the baby, the father could as well, along with a babysitter.
Another option is to have more than one sling that is fitted to each individual who will actually be wearing the baby at any given time.
Keep the baby vertical and hips flexed
Some of us may not think this one is important but it actually is. Having the baby upright in a vertical matter while in the carrier allows better airflow.
Another benefit is that it gives the baby a chance to view their surroundings which helps them cognitive wise. Also, keep in mind that a baby is still developing their pelvis during the first few years of their life.
As a result, their hips are also developing, and having a baby in a baby sling has resulted in a condition known as hip dysplasia.
So, making sure that the baby is properly in the sling with their pelvis properly protected and their hips flexed. The thighs should be supported as well, and the thing to remember when the baby is placed correctly their knees will be either higher or at the same level as the hips.
Make sure garment is in good condition
Over time the baby sling will start to show wear and tear. This comes from continuous wearing and washing of the garment.
So, it is important always to do a periodic inspection to ensure the garment is still safe to be worn. Check to make sure all fasteners are still working properly, check for any loose stitching that could cause a problem with how securely it fits.
Another thing is to look at the fabric itself and whether it is as strong as it should be since washing will start to wear down fabric fibers.
Always think safety while wearing baby
Just having the baby properly in the carrier is only part of the rules. You have also to be aware of what you are doing while wearing the baby.
Make sure not to drink a hot beverage such as coffee while wearing the baby. Also, never bend over with your hips while wearing the baby. If you need to pick something up, bend the knees to go down slowly to the item.
Just think T.I.C.K.S.
So, now that we have gone over all the points, some of us may find these a bit much to always keep in mind.
Well, there is a method that actually helps to make it easy to remember the rules of babywearing for a parent, and that is remembered T.I.C.K.S.
T. For Tight: Keep the slings tight enough to keep baby secure while being comfortable.
I. In View: Baby should always be seen by you at all times by just glancing down.
C. Close Enough to Kiss: The baby should be close enough to your face that you can easily kiss them. K. Keep Chin off Chest: Baby’s chin should never be close to their chest due to cutting off airflow.
S. Supported Back: Baby’s back should be supported while in the wrap. That basically covers the rules in a simplistic way.
For those of you who would like more instruction on how to go about ensuring that your baby wrap is done the right way, there are informative videos to watch online. These go into each of the steps one by one to ensure that all the rules of covered properly.
Remember babywearing can be a great way to bond with your baby, but you want to make sure that all safety precautions are taken when doing so.