The topic of the month for March was how to quickly, easily, and affordably improve the ergonomics of a carrier you may have. Many of us started babywearing with a carrier that might be considered less than ideal in that department, and not everyone has hundreds of dollars to go out and buy new carriers right away, so it is great to have ways to instantly improve the one you have!
First, let’s dispel a rumor you have probably heard if you have spent any time on babywearing websites or chat groups. Narrow based carriers (sometimes referred to by the derogatory term “crotch danglers”-we like to discourage this terminology in our group as it is not helpful in our goal of encouraging all mamas who want to keep their babies close, and our goal is to help them to do that in a way that works well for them and baby) have never been found to cause the development of hip dysplasia or other developmental issues. If a baby already has hip dysplasia, narrow-based carriers can cause it to worsen, but they do not of themselves cause this problem. If both baby and mama are comfortable (your baby will let you know if he/she is not comfortable-sometimes mamas think their babies “hate being worn” and the reality is that they just aren’t comfortable in that particular carrier), these carriers are fine to use. With that being said, there are many things you can do to help improve the ergonomics and comfort levels for both you and your baby. Here are a few simple tips:
Narrow Based Carriers (Baby Bjorn)
- Use a scarf or a short woven wrap placed between the baby’s back and the back of the carrier (so inside the carrier), then passed under baby’s legs and around your back (you can tie in back or front depending on the length of the fabric you are using) to extend the support so the carrier is knee to knee. This can also be done to extend the life of any soft structured carrier (Ergo, Beco, etc.) as your baby grows into a toddler with longer legs!
- Use a scarf or short woven wrap to do a rebozo pass around the outside of the carrier which supports your baby’s legs (again, this can be tied in back or front of you).
Pouch Slings (hotslings, sevenslings, etc.)
- If these are too large for you and your baby (feel loose, baby isn’t held tightly to your chest, baby is able to slouch too far forward), you can twist the shoulder over, and this will tighten the fabric to support baby (and your back!) better. Remember, the best carry to do in these is tummy to tummy – the cradle carry is recommended only while baby is actively nursing!
As always, feel free to contact us or ask questions on the chatter group if you have questions about these tips (or anything babywearing related!). You are an awesome mama for keeping your baby close!
**This post courtesy of VBE Jennifer Stone**