Sunday, August 4, 2013

Baby carriers 101

Hello, and welcome to Baby Carriers 101!
I have been wanting to write this post for awhile, but going to the baby store the other day to look around really fueled my fire!
What happened you ask?!
I was walking by the baby carrier section.  Of course, the biggest end display was Baby Bjorn.  The sales lady was talking to a family about how great they are.  She said, 'it's great that your baby can face out and see.'  The lady said, 'I heard it's bad for their hips?' The sales lady said, 'oh no, that's not true.'
WRONG WRONG WRONG.
My blood is boiling at this point.  I am looking at her young daughter who is very pregnant, and thinking, OH MY GOSH what if she has to go through what we did with hip dysplasia?
I couldn't take it anymore.
Like a psycho stalker, I waited for the right moment and went over to them.  I said, 'I am SO sorry to bother you, and I don't mean to be weird, but my daughter was born with Hip Dysplasia.  These are the WORST carriers for any baby to be in.  It can cause their hips to dislocate.'
I went on to explain to them that my daughter has spent close to 1/3 of her life in casts and braces due to hip issues.  Thank goodness they didn't punch me in the face, and they were very receptive and asked a lot of questions... WHEW!  I led them to the good baby carrier section of the store, and they bought a BOBA carrier.  YAY!  Made my day.
So, let's get to WHY the front facing-crotch danglers are bad for your baby.

1.  Overstimulation.  A baby is learns from mom or dad's facial clues, and overstimulation of the world around them is NOT good.
2.  HIPS HIPS HIPS!  When a baby is facing forward, there is no support around the knee or thighs.  They are simply 'dangling' from the crotch.  With no support, the hips can slip out of socket.
3.  It's awful for the parent's back!  Front facing carriers are not good for the person wearing them, or the little person in them.

The pic on the left! YIKES!


Remember Lucy's cast?  Well, the cast keeps the baby's legs apart, in a frog leg position.  Why?  That is the best position for hip growth.  It forces the femur in to the socket of the hip, which makes for a happy hip joint.
Harnesses and braces that are used to treat hip dysplasia also keep the baby's legs frogged apart.

Any carriers, bouncers, slings, chairs that keep your baby's legs together or 'dangling' are NOT good choices for healthy hips.

With that said, do we use a bumbo chair?  Yes.  My 6 month old with good hips is allowed in there for about 10 minutes a day to watch me do dishes. :)  No more than that.
Same goes for jumperoos, excersaucers, and especially walkers.  Those contraptions do not allow the legs to be free, therefore can cause hip issues.  Again, if your baby is doing well at his/her hip checks with the doctor, a little bit of time in one of these things isn't going to hurt... just not for long.

If a baby carrier has support for the baby through the back of the thighs to the knee, most likely it's a good one!  Carriers that keep the baby's legs together are not good.  Even though there may seem like the baby can move if he/she wanted to, usually a baby won't fight against the material.  You want the legs to be able to fall open, aka good hip position.

Baby's hips and joints as newborns are very laxed due to the hormone, relaxin, that the mother produces and passes on.  The more you can support the joints at the hip, the better your baby will be.

TAKEN FROM THE IHDI SITE:


After birth, it takes several months for the joints to stretch out naturally. Babies that have been in the breech (bottom first) position may need even more time to stretch out naturally. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. During the first few months of life the ball is more likely to be loose within the socket because babies are naturally flexible and because the edges of the socket are made of soft cartilage like the cartilage in the ear. If the hips are forced into a stretched-out position too early, the ball is at risk of permanently deforming the edges of the cup shaped socket (hip dysplasia) or gradually slipping out of the socket altogether (hip dislocation). Hip dysplasia or dislocation in babies is not painful so this may go undetected until walking age and may also result in painful arthritis during adulthood. The risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation is greatest in the first few months of life. By six months of age, most babies have nearly doubled in size, the hips are more developed and the ligaments are stronger, so are less susceptible to developing hip dysplasia.

The most unhealthy position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held in extension with the hips and knees straight and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the fetal position. 

The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time. Healthy hip positioning avoids positions that may cause or contribute to development of hip dysplasia or dislocation. The healthiest position for the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This position has been called the jockey position, straddle position, frog position, spread-squat position or human position. Free movement of the hips without forcing them together promotes natural hip development.


See how bent and flexed the baby's legs are?  Forcing them to stretch after birth can hurt their hips! 



I really wish pediatricians would have this discussion with new parents.  Or at least pictures describing good and bad carriers in their office.  Since they don't, yours truly is here to help:






See how the baby's crotch is the only thing supported in the bottom left photo?
See how in the slings the baby's legs are forced straight and together?
Please don't!

YIKES!  I can't believe this company can make these with a good conscious!
BAD BAD BAD!  Zero hip support.
Crotch dangling.


Zero support anywhere for the legs and hips.  Even though these are inward facing, they still have NO support!
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO





OK, Now let's get to the good ones!



HIP HIP HOORAY!
See how the baby is supported through the back of the thigh?  Total support for baby.

YEP.  Good ones!  Support!  I can't imagine being dangled by my crotch!  This  looks way more comfortable.

Super cute wraps and carriers.  Right on.

She's got it!  GOOD JOB mama.

Thank you to my beautiful model, BRIER and her amazing daughter Jocelyn for this photo!
Carrier shown is my fave, BOBA

See on the right how the baby's legs can wrap around mom or dad?  WAY better than the one on the left!




Buying a good carrier may cost $20-$30 more than a crappy one.  But trust me.  Surgeries and hip issues for life will cost you way more.  Mentally and physically!

Here is a list of brands I recommend:


BOBA- rated best baby carrier 2012
So the reason I like the Boba is this.
It doesn't require an infant insert.  
Super easy to put on.  It can support an infant all the way up to a big kid!


I hope this post has helped!  I also hope you will share it and pass it on!



- Karen

aka Lucy and Lily's mama!

43 comments:

  1. Love the post about carriers but what are your thoughts on backpack carriers for hiking?

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    1. Hi there, I am not a hiker by any means... so I googled backpack baby carriers.
      Ergo makes a backpack, which looks good to me...
      A lot of the typical backpack carriers for hiking have the kiddos legs dangling a bit too much for my liking... The legs aren't wrapped around the parent, as good hip position would be.
      I would recommend to use an Ergo or any of the ones listed on my blog, but use them on the back... Same idea, but better for hips!
      Thanks

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  2. I have a lillebaby carrier and it is very similar to the ergo but it doesn't need an infant insert and my little guy loves it! They are also a little cheaper than the ergo. I hate seeing poor babies dangling by their crotch. The other day I saw a tiny newborn in the outward facing position in a baby Bjorn so his face was up against the carrier rather than snuggled against the parent. I felt so bad for that poor baby.

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  3. Good article with the exception of the fact that she is apparently unaware that the infant carry in most slings is tummy to tummy with the baby in froggy legged either with feet tucked up and in or thighs supported to the knee and feet out - I use the maya ring sling and it is fantastic, more fashionable (great for when you want to look more put together) and most important very hip friendly

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    Replies
    1. Actually,I am aware of that. The photos I used describe that....
      Thanks for your comment though! Most people who use the slings like to wear their babies like a purse. Insanity!

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  4. Thank you so much for this information! I have a carrier that I have used once and my baby hated it. It was one of the bad ones you describe above and it hurt me as well. I am taking it back and buying a BOBA, after reviewing them further. I don't think many consumers know about this and I wish there was a way to get more informed as a mother on this kind of stuff. Thanks again!!!

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    Replies
    1. Great Kelly!!! How do you like the Boba? So glad this post helped you!!!!

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  5. I loved reading this, I used to use a baby carrier for my little man, only one day to take him out and his legs were blue, and he had really bad lines around his hips, he was losing circulation in his legs from it, thank goodness he wasn't in it vary long. Anyway I ditched the carrier and made a sling pouch that allows me to carry him with legs straddled across my tummy he is much happier, and comfy, it's a lot cheaper too!! I wish more moms would do a little more research before putting their child in a baby carrier, this is a great article because you wrote what those carriers do to a little one's legs and joints, thanks!!

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  6. I'm so glad I found this post! I work in a baby store and I have sooo many customers that go straight to Baby Bjorn. I never recommend Baby Bjorn, I have so many people complain about back problems because of Bjorn. My go to carrier is Ergo and I always point out it is the correct seating for the baby and now I can say why.
    I do have one question though--my guests have asked me this and I'm not sure. Is it uncomfortable for the baby at any age to basically sit with their legs spread so far apart?( From newborn to toddler)

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    Replies
    1. Hi! The reason it's more ergonomically correct for babies legs to be apart is this. Think in the womb..... Their legs are apart. Also, when you lay a baby on their back- their legs naturally fall out to the side. They are in the womb like that for so long , forcing the legs together before the age of 6 months isn't natural or good for them.
      Usually when they are tiny, they are more tucked up as opposed to spread apart. :)

      Thanks so much for your comment! ��

      Delete
  7. Do you recommend one Boba carrier more than the others?

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    Replies
    1. I do, but only because that's what I have used and liked… I haven't played around with too many other brands… A lot of my friends love their Ergo.

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  8. I'm am in search of a carrier and and glad I stumbled on your blog. Thanks so much for the info!

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  9. We live in the southwest in New Mexico. We have a lot of Native Americans here who were raised being put in cradle boards. These require the legs to be perfectly straight and tied down, as well as the arms. When I had to take a first aid class the instructor was talking about the high incedence of hip problems in the older Navajos, which she believed was from being in the cradle boards as infants. Fortunately, the younger generations have gone to the car seats etc. Still don't see that many infant carriers per se, but at least no cradle boards.
    May I just take a moment to say I believe that babies are left too much in baby car seats etc. I hardly ever see anyone 'wearing' their baby. I would like to encourage that much more, so thank you for the article and the new awareness on these matters.

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  10. Thank you! Thank you! I am pregnant and have been wanting to get a front carrier so that I can have my baby with me while I am getting stuff done around the house and out shopping, etc. But I have been worrying about safety and comfort for me and my baby. You have answered my questions and have sent me in the right direction, so that when I go looking for a carrier I can get a good one.

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  11. Love this! My baby is 7 months old and two carriers I have tried she and I have hated because we are both uncomfortable and now I know she also wasn't sitting correctly with her hips...so now I am searching for a good carrier :) I am stuck between the BOBA CARRIER 4G and BECO GEMINI (which allows a child to be facing out). Which do you prefer?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there! The facing out is going to be uncomfortable for you and hard on your back. Plus the overstimation. I wouldn't recommend outward facing.
      Boba air and the g series are awesome!!! Thanks for the comment! ;)

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Replies
    1. Yep! It's great- as long as you aren't putting your baby's hips at risk! Baby online store, do you sell good carriers?

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  14. it is fantastic, more fashionable. .Thank you so much for this information! I May I just take a moment to say I believe that babies are left too much in baby car seats etc. I
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  15. it is fashionable and best for both the mom and baby. As a soon to be a mom, i find this guide very helpful! thanks!

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  16. I have read so many articles on the topic of the blogger lovers but this piece of writing is really a fastidious article, keep it up.
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  17. Baby Bjorn now make the "One" carrier. It has the option of "normal leg position" and "wide leg position" and also gives the options of inward and outward facing. I have bought one as I found it more comfortable to wear than the Ergo or Boba; I will just choose to always wear my baby inwards facing with a wide leg position. It's at least a step in the right direction for Baby Bjorn!

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  19. Great. Above post is really informative but I care very much about baby safety so my friend recommended me hugabub baby carriers as they are very safe to use.

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  20. I love carrying my child around, but traditional baby carriers are all the same – heavy, uncomfortable and after one our you even can't feel your back. This hip seat (www.hipseat.ca ) for baby allows parents to comfortably carry their children, while relieving the pressure on their back, shoulders and hips – and provides babies with the comfort of being close to their parents on their very own baby hip seat.

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  21. When you are in travel, child's carrier is really important for you to enjoy and farther and longer. Try to have Piggyback Rider carriers, i bet you'll never regret using it then appreciate the quality and usefulness of our child carrier. :D

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  23. different carries you can do with it. Normaly we do tummy to tummy with my lo legs in the frog position. But sometimes he enjoys facing the world. With my wrap I can pull the fabric so that his legs are still in the frog position. Is this OK? Is there any way to do a front facing position proper?

    August 31, 2015 at 1:40 PM

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  24. For long actual hiking, we have used one of those aluminum structured baby backpack carriers. I liked that it was even lighter than my moby wrap (nylon and aluminum, plus breathed well). My husband and I noticed that not only can baby move, but hips and legs looked open, comfy, relaxed, even had a place to rest feet (also a place of leverage to adjust self). Plenty of adjustment options to accomodate size and position. We have two boys close in age. They took turns between the back carrier and jogging stroller as they seemed to get restless (4G min average). Thank you for the fascinating read. I've loved wraps and carriers of many sorts. I never thought of hip dysplasia. I just felt that if there was only crotch support, then legs would lack good circulation.

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  25. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don’t mind. I’ll give you a link on your web blog. I recently came to know about http://toysuae.com/, their Baby Carriers are very effective.
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  26. So if you have a newborn and get the ergo with infant insert it doesn't let their legs spread out. Is that safe? The insert looks like it would keep them with legs spread a little and knees to their chest.

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  27. So if you have a newborn and get the ergo with infant insert it doesn't let their legs spread out. Is that safe? The insert looks like it would keep them with legs spread a little and knees to their chest.

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    Replies
    1. It would seem to me that if you read the blog you could answer your own question. The topic of the entire blog was that if their legs aren't spread out it's not safe. That answers your question.

      Delete
  28. Hi, I just wanted to point out that while this may be true for most babies, children with low tone (Down Syndrome, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Benign Joint Hypermobility, etc) should not be carried around with their hips apart like this. Our daughter has both EDS and DS and we were told to never carry her on our hips, as her ligaments were already too loose, and this would cause them to worsen. DS is easy to recognise, but the others are often not diagnosed for several years. So if you have a family history of being "double jointed" you might want to avoid baby carriers altogether, or at least stick to slings where the baby is fully supported with legs together.

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  29. This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.
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  30. Carolyn - Thoughtful information re EDS, Down Syndrome etc. One needs to be very considered when making any decision. Blogs like this help new parents realise that there is a lot more to factor than may first seem apparent e.g. in the 3rd series of photos with the Mum on the right (black shoestring top & white pants), baby appears to be in a chin to chest position, this can reduce oxygen saturation levels - not good.

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  31. Thanks for this very useful info you have provided us. I will bookmark this for future reference and refer it to my friends. More power to your blog.
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  33. Interesting post. I bought a front carrier for my baby too. I've read a lot about it because I wanted to buy the best one ( I've read some blogs and http://rocketparents.com/front-facing-baby-carrier/ ). It is very important to choose the right front carrier.

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  34. So I think I have a good carrier, just checked the website but wanted your opinion. I have the ergo baby 360. I also don't wear my little guy that often. I also have a balboa baby sling- bad? And an infantino front2back- bad as well? Why are the walkers/bouncers/exersaucers bad if their feet are touching the floor? Thank you!

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