Baby carriers are very popular - but a recent newborn death of a baby boy in a sling has put the spotlight on choosing the right one, and using it properly.
When it comes to safety, first things first. A baby carrier/sling is not something to purchase before your baby’s birth. Not is it something to give as a present before the baby is born - however well-meaning. The reasons being, carriers are very individual as to what feels both comfortable and safe for a parent to use - and you need your new baby with you so that you can check for proper fit (for both you and the baby).
The most important safety issue when choosing and using a baby carrier for a newborn, is be sure that you can constantly see the baby (never wear it under clothes), ensure their head faces outwards and that there’s no fabric covering the baby’s face. The chin must not rest on the chest, nor should the nose and mouth be obscured in any way. Always check to see if the manufacturer has issued any specific instructions for use - and bear in mind that, as yet, there are no safety standards for baby sling manufacture in this country - and there are safety concerns around their use. Some experts go so far as to recommend that newborns under 4 months don’t go in carriers, but only lie-down prams.
Above all, do not buy a sling or pouch that claims to keep baby in a `foetal-like’ position - it’s normal for the baby to lie like this in the womb, but not OK when he needs to breathe independently in a pouch! A pouch should hold the baby as a parent normally would.
Basically, there are 3 main types of baby carrier:
Padded pouch worn at the front Made to position either face-in or face-out is normal. Generally speaking, face-in for small babies, face-out for older babies. More often for everyday use.
Soft fabric sling/wrap worn across the front Depending on how you wear the sling, baby can face into the sling or out of the sling, or can be strapped across your body.
Frame backpack carrier worn on the back Rigid frames and suitable for older babies and toddlers. Usually for outdoor activities, not everyday use.
Before you buy a carrier, make these decisions:
Who will be the primary user of the carrier? Buy it to fit them. Most carriers are adjustable to be used by others - however the primary wearer must be the most comfortable user.
Will you be using the carrier primarily on your own? If so, it’s crucial to be able to undo the carrier straps easily - preferably one-handed while you support the baby. Clips are better than straps with ties.
How old is the baby/child in the carrier? Each baby carrier has weight/age requirements. The carrier must be able to support your child’s weight properly. Some will support up to 12Kg, others up to 18Kg.
What activities do you want to do? Breastfeeding is usually done best in a fabric sling rather than a pouch. Lots of walking will be more comfortable with a pouch. Check for a broad hip or waist strap to take some of the weight off shoulders and limit sideways movement of the carrier.
Find baby carriers on Lasoo.