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Considerations for Buying a Baby Carrier or Baby Sling
The following tips for choosing a baby carrier were selected from Dr. Eveline Kikilionis?s book, ?A Baby Wants to be Carried.?(Currently only available in German: ?Ein Baby will getragen sein.?)
You should examine a baby carrier or baby sling to ensure it meets the following criteria:
1. Fabric. Your first consideration should be how the carrier was manufactured and what materials (look for non-toxic dyes) were used. Your baby will spend a lot of time close to the fabric.
2. Leg Position. The legs should be at least pulled up to a 90 degree angle. This is only possible if the baby sling crotch piece is wide enough so that it will reach to your baby?s hollow of the knees.
3. Back Support. The back of the carrier needs to support the baby?s back, so that he or she is not slouching excessively while in the upright position. It needs to be supportive enough that even when your baby is asleep his/her body is tightly secured to your body.
4. Headrest: The back of the carrier needs to reach over the baby?s head, on all three sides, to keep the head from falling backwards or sideways. (This is very important as long as the infant can?t keep his/her head up. As your child grows larger, this is important only when he or she takes a nap.) Make sure the head rest is sturdy and doesn?t fold back when pushing on it with your hand.
5. Shoulder Support: Carriers supported by both shoulders with wide straps are best to eliminate back problems for yourself. Carriers that are only supported by one shoulder often worsen the slight scoliosis that most people have.
6. Growth. Your baby is growing fast. Most baby slings are outgrown by 3-9 months. Choose one that will grow with your child.
7. Adjustability. Pick a carrier that can be adjusted to you and your baby?s needs. Babies carried too low experience pressure pushing their legs back with every step you take (putting too much strain on the hip joints and encouraging hip dysplasia.)
8. Facing in. Only choose a baby carrier that allows your child to face you - never out. Not only does a child need support to hold the leg in a 90 degree angle, there are also too many events going on around your baby. A baby has no way to exclude himself from the environment by turning his head away and towards you. Healthy sleep is difficult for a baby who is facing outward.
9. Heat. Many carriers are made of Nylon. Find one that allows airflow to reach your baby. Any non-breathable fabric will encourage a rash on your baby?s skin when being carried in hot weather or for an extensive period of time.
10. Hips. When carrying the baby in an upright position, the baby's hips should always be straddled around the wearer's body. The legs should be pulled up at a 90 degree angle. The legs are pulled up to support the baby?s body and balance. When the baby's knees are pulled up to a 90 degree angle, the baby's legs are spread between 90 and 120 degree angle around the wearer's body. This agrees with the baby?s anatomical make up and supports proper hip development. Most importantly,babies should not be worn facing out.