Is it possible to wear your baby too much?
From grocery shopping to running errands, parents have a lot on their plate. Add in a new baby who doesn’t like to be put down, and suddenly doing things takes a lot longer. Parents have relied on babywearing for centuries. However, some worry that it may spoil a baby or hinder their motor development.
To figure out whether there’s such a thing as too much babywearing, we asked our baby and kid expert, Dr. Aimee Ketchum, a pediatric occupational therapist with 27 years of experience working in pediatrics.
Everything to know about babywearing
Can you wear your baby too much?
Ketchum said there’s no limit to babywearing and that it can be easier on a parent’s body than carrying a baby with your arms. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees with Ketchum and adds, “babies who are picked up as soon as they begin to cry tend to cry less often and for shorter periods than do babies whose parents don’t respond quickly.” So, parents don’t need to worry about spoiling their baby, and no studies suggest that a baby’s development is affected by excess baby carrying. Ketchum also uses them personally. “It is the only way I was able to wash my floors when my daughters were babies. It’s also safer and more hygienic than placing a baby in a cart at the grocery store,” she said.
What is the proper way to wear a baby?
While experts agree that there’s no such thing as too much babywearing, Ketchum gave one caveat — ensuring your baby is positioned correctly. Ketchum advised, “The baby always needs to be positioned appropriately so their hips are not spread too wide. This can cause issues with the child’s developing hips. A baby’s legs should always be in the “M” shape, never hanging straight down or be in a “C” shape in the carrier.”
Ketchum referenced some recent studies that found that cultures that commonly wear their babies in the “M” shape have lower rates of hip dysplasia rates than other cultures that wear babies with their legs tightly swaddled together.
While babywearing is usually safe, parents also need to be careful. For example, if it’s hot outside, babies will overheat faster when they’re carried against a body. Also, caregivers must be vigilant if they’re working around a hot stove when wearing their baby on the front.
Types of baby carriers
The three main types of baby carriers are wraps, ring slings and soft-structured carriers. While Ketchum prefers wraps since they’re more versatile for all sizes of babies and allow parents to wear them on the front side or back. Any carrier is acceptable as long as the baby is in the correct position.
- Baby wrap carrier: Wrap carriers are generally a long piece of sturdy fabric that can be folded in many ways to accommodate the baby’s size and position.
- Baby ring sling carrier: A ring sling is similar to a wrap with the addition of rings to create a secure pouch without the hassle of wrapping.
- Soft-structured baby carrier: Soft-structured baby carriers look similar to a backpack, with padded straps and a pouch for a baby.
According to Ketchum, “Babywearing helps with bonding and attachment. It helps the baby feel cared for and secure because their needs are met immediately as parents are usually more responsive to their baby’s needs. This helps to build confidence and self-esteem. Babywearing also helps prevent flat head syndrome, decrease colic, and best of all, mommy and daddy have free hands!”
When worn correctly, babywearing is also believed to actually improve hip development. Ketchum said, “Interestingly, braces and harnesses that are used to treat hip dysplasia in babies typically position the babies’ legs in the same flexed “M” position as many baby carriers.”
Best products for babywearing
With six unique positions and a zip-down breathable mesh panel for hot days, parents can wear this carrier year round. It’s also suitable for newborns or toddlers with a transformational seat that can be folded small or expanded to a wider setting.
From newborn to toddler, this soft-structured carrier is suitable for all ages without the need for an additional newborn insert. For parents, it features lower back comfort with a padded lumbar support belt and padded shoulder straps.
This carrier comes with a detachable backpack that caregivers can use to store the soft-structured carrier, a pack of wipes, snacks and more. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute also acknowledges it as a hip-healthy baby carrier.
Baby wrap carrier
While it has the versatility of a baby wrap, it’s pre-wrapped with a double loop design that slips on and off as easily as a T-shirt. It’s made from 100 percent cotton and is breathable and soft against a baby’s skin.
This stretchy and soft baby wrap is ideal for keeping infants close during their first few months. It’s completely customizable, allowing parents to create the perfect seat for their baby.
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From preemies to babies up to 25 pounds, this carrier offers a secure environment for babies right out of the womb. It’s designed to evenly distribute weight all over a parent’s upper body with no pressure points on the shoulders or back.
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Baby ring sling carrier
This ring sling is easy to slip on and is designed for front or hip carrying positions. The material is breathable, durable and great at distributing weight.
Not only is this ring sling made with eco-friendly bamboo and linen material, but the company also donates part of each purchase to low-income families. Plus, it comes in 20 stylish colors.
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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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