Expectant parents are told how beneficial baby carriers are which is why they are an item that is to be added onto baby registry lists. But are baby carriers safe for newborns?
First of all, “babywearing” isn’t anything new. Tribes in Africa were reported using baby wraps / baby carriers for thousands of years.
Baby carriers allow the parents to multitask while they are keeping the baby held by them. Therefore, these carriers are like an extra set of arms told to keep the babies ‘held’ by the parents while they are having to do their chores such as cooking, cleaning, or even when it comes to talking on the phone and writing something down.
Additionally, they are also recommended for parents because of how baby carriers provide the same type of comfort and other benefits as actually holding the baby provides. These benefits are provided for both the parents and the infants.
They also make it a lot easier for parents than pushing a stroller around, for example. Adding to that, they give the opportunity for both parents and infants to bond. They also allow infants to feel secure and comfortable by being in close contact with the parents as they can still hear the heartbeat and breathing as they did while they were in the womb. That is a huge reason as to why babies need to be held by their parents during the earlier months anyway.
However, even though the benefits of baby carriers have been spread around through numerous sources, there are certain things that parents should question before investing in them – or adding them to their registry lists. So, are baby carriers safe for infants?
Long story short: Baby carriers are safe for infants as long as you protect their head. Infants do not have firm control on their neck, so choose an infant carrier that offers sturdy protection to your baby’s head and neck.
We will cover this issue in this article so that parents can then make an educated decision on whether or not they want to invest in a baby carrier – as well as the type to get. Parents of older infants (6 months and older) will not be as concerned about the safety of infant carriers. However, when it comes to newborns, that is a different situation altogether.
Is It Ok To Use a Baby Carrier Straight After Birth?
All types of baby carriers are technically safe to be used even for infants that have been just born. However, the one thing that parents need to keep in mind is that infants are not able to fully hold their heads up until they are at least 4 months old as that is when their neck muscles are strong enough to do so. Therefore, they will need to make sure that the baby carrier can fully support the baby’s neck muscles right after birth.
And the issue with traditional baby carriers is that they can be too rigid for the infants which means they will not be the best choice as far as comfort goes for newborns. This will result in the result that is not the desired result – the newborn resisting to go into the carrier. This will also cause stress for the parents as well. Therefore, a traditional baby carrier is not the best option for newborns that have literally been born.
Therefore, the better option for carrying newborns is by using the sling or the wrap, which will be covered more later on in the article. The sling will be able to keep the baby’s neck muscles properly supported, even after birth.
Though, moms that had C-sections will want to hold off using a sling or any type of baby carrier for several weeks after birth. A C-section is major surgery, and that area needs to heal up well. A baby sling can potentially cause delays for healing, and other complications that are unwanted. This is something that moms that had delivered this way will need to keep in mind. Therefore, using a baby carrier right after the C-section is not recommended.
After the first check-up, however, this is something that the OBGYN or any care provider will need to give the green light on to make sure that the site is healing well.
For moms that did not deliver by C-section and delivered naturally can use a baby sling after birth. But they will need to know exactly how to use it properly so that the baby is kept safe and comfortable. And dads can use it any time they wish. Parents also often wonder how long it is recommended to keep a baby in a baby carrier, as to how long is too long.
Baby Sling vs Carrier
Even though baby slings can be a lot less practical than baby carriers, they are often cosier for babies, especially for newborns. The con in this case is they have a steeper learning curve. But yes, newborns feel completely embraced like they actually are in the womb.
When it comes to safety however, both are equally safe. If you follow all safety instructions and use them properly, they should be equally reliable to wear your baby in. So, it is simply a matter of personal taste.
How Long Can You Carry A Baby On A Baby Carrier?
The short answer to this question is, as long as the baby is okay and happy, and as long as you are comfortable, then it does not matter for the length of time to carry a baby in a carrier.
If your baby is becoming antsy and restless after being carried around for over a half an hour, for instance, then you will want to end the babywearing for that time.
On the flip side, if you find that your back is becoming uncomfortable, and you are getting tired, then you will want to also end the babywearing. You and your baby’s comfort are what is important.
Therefore, there is no set duration for how long you can babywear. But if you are also wondering how long you should carry a baby in a carrier by age, then what you need to do is pay close attention to the weight limit of the carrier.
If you have a baby carrier that can hold up to 36 lbs, then that is in the toddler phase, and therefore, you can use it to carry your toddler – as long as you can remain comfortable while doing so.
Then again, parents may not want to use a baby carrier for their toddlers even if they are within the weight capacity of the carrier. Toddlers are past the point of needing to be held for security and they are at a phase when they are able to walk and explore on their own.
However, if you are not using a stroller for your toddler and you are out somewhere, and he or she is getting tired, then this is when the carrier can come in handy. For temporary relief and rest for the toddler, it is useful.
But as the baby becomes bigger and larger, and older, you will find yourself not needing to use the carrier as often nor wanting to. Additionally, as the baby grows and matures, he or she will become more secure in time in the world. And it will not be needed as much.
You may also be concerned about potential injuries to your hips by using a carrier too often. Let’s go over this issue now.
Do Baby Carriers Cause Hip Dysplasia?
The short answer to this question is, that it can if it is used for prolonged periods. According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, if parents are using any type of baby carrier which includes slings and wraps for long periods of time, it can cause the baby’s hips to dislocate. That will not just cause a lot of pain, but a lot of complications that the child will endure in the future.
With that said, they recommend that parents use baby carriers of all types in a certain way to minimize the risks of hip dysplasia. Many times narrow-based carriers are not recommended as they do not support the baby’s thighs and knee joints.
Therefore, it can increase the chances of the infant ending up with hip dislocation problems as a result. The best position to place babies in these types of carriers is to allow the baby’s thighs to spread around the parents’ torsos. Then the hips are bent which means that the knees are a little higher than the buttocks as the thighs are properly supported.
Additionally, the cradle position with the use of a baby wrap is not recommended either because it will force the baby’s legs to stick together which will not allow the hips to properly develop.
This can increase the chances of dislocation. Slings should allow the baby’s thighs to spread so that the hips are kept in a good position. And what is really better, a traditional baby carrier or a wrap?
Are Baby Wraps As Safe As Baby Carriers?
Baby wraps are just as safe as traditional baby carriers and are even more versatile because it is basically a large string of fabric.
However, the fact of the matter is, they are not easy to use for first-timers. It is one of those things that require a lot of work, getting, used to, and patience while working with a baby wrap whereas a traditional carrier is very easy to use right away.
This is why many parents opt to use traditional carriers. Without the practice and knowledge of how to use a wrap is what makes it unsafe rather than the wrap itself.
However, for parents that are confident and know exactly how to work with a wrap and to use it properly, they are excellent carriers.
Parents love the benefits that baby carriers provide and offer. However, at the same time, they need to be aware of the ins and outs, and the risks of baby carriers and wraps if they are not used the right way. A happy baby is a baby that is safe and comfortable, and that is the objective that every parent has for their babies to be safe and comfortable.