Giving birth is certainly a beautiful moment for all parents. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t fully prepared to parent. Among the many things, new parents don’t know when, why, and how they should use a baby carrier. Newborns are very fragile, and new parents shouldn’t risk carrying them around. A baby carrier is among the many items you should buy when preparing to welcome a baby. Besides buying quality carriers from Diono, you should know a few things about using a baby carrier.
When Can You Use a Baby Carrier?
Contrary to what most parents think, you can use the baby carrier from the first day. The idea that you should only use a baby carrier once your baby is six weeks or older isn’t true. You can bring your baby carrier to the hospital as you prepare for delivery. Newborns need to maintain close connections with their parents right away. However, your baby should be at least seven pounds.
What Are the Benefits of Baby-Wearing?
While studies on these benefits are inconclusive, you should use a baby carrier for the following reasons:
1. Reduces Crying
Calming your crying baby is probably the most challenging part of parenting a newborn. While babywearing doesn’t exactly end the baby’s tears, it can reduce fussing and crying. Randomized controlled studies found that newborns fussed and cried less when carried. Carrying your baby for three hours daily also reduces crying and fusing by 51%.
2. Promotes General Health
There’s more evidence of the benefits of skin-to-skin contact on babies, especially those born prematurely. Kangaroo care is beneficial to babies born before their due date. Wearing babies using special carriers designed to facilitate skin-to-skin contact regulates the baby’s temperature, breathing pattern, and heartbeat. While more studies are required to conclude these reports, previous findings have shown the benefits of kangaroo care, especially in caring for premature babies.
3. Boosts Connection
Connecting to young, pre-verbal babies is difficult. Fortunately, holding the baby can strengthen the bond and connection. Babywearing helps support the parent-baby bond. You can also easily read the baby’s cues. For instance, you can notice specific movements that signal hunger, a full diaper, or an uncomfortable position over time.
4. Helps During Breastfeeding
Babywearing is also thought to promote breastfeeding. If you are a breastfeeding mother, babywearing makes it easy to breastfeed. Breastfeeding on the go is a common challenge for new moms. Breastfeeding regularly maintains and improves breast milk supply.
Know the Different Baby-carrying Positions
New parents often have a hard time knowing the best carrying positions. There are four baby-carrying positions, each suitable for babies of different weights, ages, and developmental milestones. While you should use the manufacturer’s manual for minimum age and weight requirements, below are the four main baby-carrying positions to know:
- Front inward facing – Newborns from 0 months should be carried front inward facing. Most baby carriers are perfect for little ones and don’t require infant inserts. Ensure that you purchase a quality carrier made from soft and breathable fabric.
- Front outward facing – The best position for babies from four to six months. You should consider this position because the baby’s neck requires support to hold up the head.
- Hip carry – Used for babies from six months. This allows the baby to satisfy their curiosity of conveniently sitting up and down in the carrier.
- Back carry – Can also be used from six months upward. Babies start moving around in the carrier from six months. Investing in a carrier that flexibly adapts to your baby’s changing needs is prudent.
Practice Safe Babywearing
There’s nothing as important as ensuring your baby is safe in the carrier. Below are the dos and don’ts of ensuring your baby’s safety in the baby carrier.
- Use the correct position – You should use the correct position for your baby’s age and weight. Using the correct position ensures that your baby sits upright, neck fully supported, chin off the chest, and airway open.
- Sit in an ergonomic position – Your baby should sit in a wide and spread-squat position with knees higher than the bum. This position supports the baby’s hips, legs, and spine, preventing hip dysplasia.
- Secure all fasteners – Fasten all the snaps, wraps, and buckles securely to contain the baby in the carrier.
- Inspect carrier fabric for wear and tear – Tears and holes in the carrier fabric make it unsafe.
- Don’t overdress – Your baby can overheat in the carrier due to excessive dressing. Mind the outside temperatures when dressing your baby.
- Don’t use the carrier when running, biking, snowboarding, or skiing – While you can use the carrier when engaging in light activities, such as hiking, yoga, and walking, you shouldn’t carry your baby in the carrier when biking, running or engaged in strenuous activities.
Are Baby Carriers Safe?
The safety of baby carriers primarily depends on personal use. As mentioned, there are different carrying positions. Using the carrier wrongly certainly makes it unsafe. Wearing the carrier wrongly increases the risk of injuries and hospitalization, especially for babies under one year. Like other essential items for newborns, you should choose a baby carrier of good quality and size to be sure of your baby’s safety.
Even then, consider the following to choose a safe baby carrier:
- Buy a baby carrier with European standard EN 13209-2:2005 or ASTM F2236-08 for US standards
- Ensure the carrier has easily understandable written or video instructions that guide in safe usage
- The carrier should be made from sturdy and durable materials.
- Ask shop attendants to help you make the choice. They should also show you how to fit the carrier correctly
- Always check to confirm your baby can freely move their head, arms, and legs.
- Buy a carrier you can put it on and take off without help. You should also buckle, strap, and clip without help.
- Choose carriers with broad and padded shoulder straps.
Babywearing has more benefits beyond the fashion accessory portrayed by millennial parents. However, before putting your newborn into the carrier, ensure that you’ve understood baby-wearing basics. Practice putting it on and taking it off, adjusting the buckles, and testing different positions.