Babywearing: An overview of information

Babywearing (carrying baby in a sling or other carrier), has a steep learning curve and safety is of ultimate importance. Please be sure to follow the TICKS guidelines for safe babywearing and, if in doubt, seek advice from a trained babywearing consultant.

 

Safety

All slings are safe when worn according to the TICKS guidelines.
http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/TICKS (1)

Hip Support
IHDI Educational Statement demonstrates ‘spread squat position’ in baby slings/carriers as the optimal position for hip development. This can be achieved in all ‘ergonomic’ slings/carriers.

http://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/

hips

 

Spine Development
When carrying your baby in a sling or carrier, it is important to keep in mind the natural position of baby in the womb: back curved, knees bent – known as foetal position.  Babies’ spines are a natural C-shaped at birth.  It take almost 18 months until a baby’s spine is the typical elongated S-shape of an adult.

Spine development

Appropriate carrying positions are those which support the natural shape of the spine and do not put undue pressure on, or attempt to straighten, the naturally curved spine. Positions that support the natural shape of the spine can be achieved in ergonomic slings and carriers.

Read more on spine and hip development here: http://www.babywearingadvice.co.uk/anatomy.htm

Ergonomic slings/carriers
Many carriers on the high street do not support baby’s hips in way shown by the IHDI educational statement as they have narrow bases, nor are they comfortable for the carrying adult.

Thankfully there are supportive ‘ergonomic’ options including: stretchy wraps, woven wraps, ring slings, mei tais and soft structured carriers which have a wide base.

See the following NCT document which includes all the ‘ergonomic’ options.

https://www.nct.org.uk/sites/default/files/related_documents/Messager%20Babywearing%20slings%20pull%20out_1.pdf

Breastfeeding in a sling/carrier

There is no doubt that breastfeeding and babywearing often go hand in hand, even La Leche League recognise the benefits of babywearing (http://www.lalecheleague.org/faq/babywearing.html) but that doesn’t mean that it is an essential mothering skill to learn or that it is physically possible for everyone to do while adhering to the TICKS safety guidance.

Breastfeeding and babywearing are two separate skills. Breastfeeding while babywearing can be tricky. The two skills should ONLY be combined once each skill has been mastered separately.

Benefits of Babywearing

My blog posts:

“The Impact of Babywearing on Postnatal Mental Health: Mothers’ Voices”

“The Impact of Babywearing on Postnatal Mental Health: Health Care Providers’ Voices”

Articles & Research (including mental health)

http://www.babywearing.co.uk/babywearing-articles/

Articles & Research (attachment parenting)

http://www.attachmentparenting.org/parentingtopics/infants-toddlers/babywearingtouch

Aimee Gourley NI

Babywearing Consultant & Breastfeeding Peer Supporter

All content copyright Aimee Gourley NI 2015

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