How do I choose a baby carrier?
Today, there is a wide range of baby carriers available in the market with differences in style, functionality and usage. To pick one that suits your lifestyle, consider the following factors to help make the best decision for you and your little bundle of joy.
Comfort: Yours and your little one’s comfort and well-being should be the top priority while selecting a baby carrier. If you plan to use it for hours on end, buy one with padded shoulder straps and lumbar support to avoid muscle strain and fatigue. For your baby, ensure that the seat allows their legs to be in the hip-healthy ‘M’ position. According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, infants should be carried with their thighs spread around the mother’s torso and the hips bent so that the knees are slightly higher than the buttocks with the thighs supported. This will decrease the risk of hip dysplasia.
Longevity: If you are new to using baby carriers and want to test the waters with one that is specifically created for infants, look for styles that create a cosy environment for cuddles and tons of sleepy time. Seasoned parents who would like to carry their babies until toddlerhood should opt for baby carriers that support higher weights and front-facing positions. The Babybjorn Baby Carrier One Air is an ergonomic option that comes with fully adjustable size, seat area and head support for your growing baby.
Climate: Due to the yearlong heat in the Middle Eastern region, baby carriers with lightweight fabrics and breathable mesh are the best choice. However, if you find yourself traveling to colder regions often, purchase an additional carrier with knits and padding for warmth.
Care: Baby carriers are prone to your little one’s drool and spit up. They will quickly start to get messy on regular use and be unhygienic for the baby. Look out for machine washable options for daily baby wearing. Nuna’s CUDL Baby Carrier comes with a removable and washable infant head support which makes it easier to keep things clean. During teething stages when your baby drools more than usual, you can purchase Babybjorn’s Teething Bib that fits with Baby Carrier One. It protects against dribble so you don’t have to wash the baby carrier as often.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a baby carrier?
Make the most out of a baby carrier by understanding its pros and cons so you can enjoy more freedom without compromising on the safety of your baby.
- Hands- Free Comfort: By carrying your baby in a carrier, you can stay close to them while using your free hands for other tasks. For instance, activities like grocery shopping, cleaning, going for a walk and traveling become easier while using a carrier.
- Bonding with Baby: From one to six months of age, babies think that mama and them are the same person. Using a baby carrier will help maintain close contact with their mother which is a necessity for their neurological and emotional development.
- Improved Sleep Quality: When babies are held close to their mother or father, they feel a sense of security that helps them fall asleep easily. This is also supported by research stating that babies are most likely to sleep when carried.
- Healthy Development of Spine: Help your little one gain proper posture from their infanthood with the use of baby carriers. They promote the formation of the neck curve and physiological curvature of the spine.
- Exploring New Places: Introduce your little one to the beauty of the world by carrying them to new places while hiking and camping or when visiting an aquarium, farmer’s market and gardens. Babies are naturally curious and are eager to explore and discover new things. These exciting new spots will encourage their natural instincts.
Muscle Strain: Mothers may find it difficult to use a baby carrier when they are recovering from childbirth. And, using the carrier for prolonged periods of time can cause neck and shoulder pain, much like carrying a heavy backpack. Investing in high-quality baby carriers that evenly distribute weight across your shoulders will reduce fatigue and muscle strain. Additionally, take breaks after using the carrier for about 2 hours to help your body relax.
Increase in Body Temperature: During summers or in environments with poor ventilation, using a baby carrier can increase baby’s and mother’s body temperatures. For the Middle Eastern climate, avoid using the carrier when spending time outdoors except in the winters. Also, ensure that your surroundings are properly ventilated to avoid suffocating your little one, i.e., avoid using the carrier in underground parking lots or similar places.
By taking the simple steps below you can ensure that your little one is safe and comfortable, can breathe properly and has optimum back support while in a baby carrier.
- Before placing your kid into the baby carrier, always check if there is any damage to the straps to avoid slip ups or accidents
- Ensure that your baby’s mouth, and nose are uncovered at all times for proper breathing
- Your baby’s chin should always be up and away from their body. If they are curled up in a way that their chin is forced onto their chest, this can restrict their breathing
- Always wear comfortable shoes while using a baby carrier to avoid tripping and falling
- When your baby is strapped in, make sure their back is properly supported in a natural position with their belly and chest against you. In case you need to bend over, support your baby with one hand on their back and bend at your knees instead of your waist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are carriers okay for newborns?
As long as your little one weighs at least 3kgs (7 pounds), you can use a baby carrier. Take one with you to the hospital during delivery so that it comes handy when you take your newborn home. Alternatively, wait until your baby is 6 weeks or older to start using the carrier, they would have gained some weight by then.
Always remember to carry your baby facing towards you until they are 4-6 months old. As infants, they are yet to learn how to support their head on their own so it is important to give them proper support through the carrier by facing them inward.
What age is it safe to use a baby carrier?
Baby carriers can be used from the very first day. They can carry your little one as a newborn till they are toddlers (up to 3 years old).