It is an indisputable fact that baby carriers have made life very easy for new parents. They are available as slings or the more common traditional harness which allow the baby to be carried either inward towards you or forward facing.
The advantage of carrying a baby front facing is that the baby can look outward in this position. The personality of a baby is determined by how connections are formed by various stimuli the baby experiences. Visual stimuli are considered to be the most profound of all.
Each time a baby sees or experiences something, the neurons in her brains fire up and start connecting which results in making her that bit smarter. This increases her ability to grasp things going on around her. Thinking processes are honed which leads to better psychological development.
What parents are not too sure about, however, is if the front-facing baby carriers are physically safe for the baby?
What age can my baby be in a front facing baby carrier?
A baby can be transitioned to a front-facing carrier as soon as he/ she is able to steadily hold their head. This usually happens at around six months of age. Anything sooner can prove to be disastrous for your baby. Their neck and hip bones may not yet be strong enough for the forward facing carrier.
You will see signs of readiness in a baby who constantly keeps fussing or crying till she’s carried face forward. It is wiser to keep trying this position for short intervals at a time.
Sometimes a baby may seem ready to be carried front facing but may revert back to preferring the inward facing mode after a few weeks. Keep going back and forth to what eventually makes your baby happy. It is best to let your baby decide.
If you feel that your baby is ready for a front-facing carrier, there are many safe options available today. The more popular ones are Mei Tais, Ring-Slings, Beco Gemini and ERGOBaby 360.
Safety guidelines on hip dysplasia in a carrier
Babies younger than six months, benefit from the inward position as it instills in them a sense of comfort. When transitioned, they will need a carrier that will provide them with the same comfort feeling too.
Hip Dysplasia or Developmental Hip Dysplasia is a very serious problem in babies. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has issued a very strong directive on carrying very young babies when they are not yet ready for it and we are about to find out why.
The bones of a baby, younger than six months, are very malleable and if the baby is carried in an incorrect position, over a period of time, the joint in the hip (a ball and socket joint) will not align correctly and cause serious problems later on in life. It advises parents to exercise extreme caution while choosing a baby carrier.
Your goal should be to avoid a carrier that will make your baby dangle from the crotch. The carrier should provide support to the baby’s upper leg while keeping their knees and hips well bent. Also to be noted here is that, if the person carrying the baby is large, it would be best to hold this off for a while. Parents should allow babies frequent breaks from prolonged sitting in the carrier so that baby can move its hips, knees, and the rest of the body around freely to allow circulation. Stop carrying your baby forward–facing right-away if she shows signs of distress. You can view more about the correct way to carry your baby in the carrier from International Hip Dysplasia Institute
Ergonomic front facing baby carrier
Image source https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q3I25NI?aaxitk
An ergonomic front facing carrier is a good choice as it allows your baby adequate space to sit and move comfortably. An ideal one should give you the option of switching between both front and inward facing positions for you to choose according to your baby’s needs.
Babies are able to nap and cuddle while in the inward facing position unlike the forward facing carrier. This is quintessential for your baby in certain situations such as, when you are traveling. The Ergobaby four position 360 is a very popular model in this category.
A baby carrier that has been certified to be ‘Hip Healthy’ is the safest way to go. This certification means that the carrier supports your baby’s weight correctly and encourages good joint development. The certification provided by Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1 is something that you should not take lightly.
3 Tips for choosing an Ergonomic Carrier
1. The harness - Look for broad and well-padded shoulder straps, as well as a broad waist strap. These will help to distribute your baby’s weight evenly and keep the pressure off your shoulders. It will also keep the baby in place and not sway from side to side.
2. An infant insert - Will provide you with the flexibility to adjust the harness as your baby grows. The ideal position is one where you are holding your baby close to your face and being able to easily kiss the top of his head. Babies can be safely carried in such carriers until they are 12 kgs in weight.
3. Comfortable Materials - Get a carrier that is suitable for different weather changes, keeping your baby warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. The carrier should be made entirely from baby-friendly materials and from any toxic materials.
Check out these highly reviewed ergonomic baby carriers
1. Ergobaby ALL Position carrier
This highly versatile baby carrier can be used for facing in or facing out, depending on the stage of your baby. With proper padding and support, it can be used for long hours without aches.
2. BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One air
Well known for good back support with a waist belt to reduce shoulders and back discomfort, BabyBjorn Baby Carrier is excellent for parents with sensitive or injured back.
3. Lillebaby SIX-Position, 360° Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier
Comfortable, fuss-free and ergonomic, with emphasis on good air flow so that it does not get warm for both parent and baby.
4. TULA Ergonomic baby carrier
With multiple designs to choose from and equally contentable ergonomics features, the Tula baby carrier has been a popular choice with parents.
5. Stokke® MyCarrier™ Front Carrier
Ergonomic with parent and outward facing or back carrying, your child is supported and safe to explore the surrounding view.
Above 5 baby carriers have been ergonomically designed with the best features that suit the millennial parents today. They are built specifically for parents as well as the best interest of the baby.
Front facing baby carrier with seat
A mum with her baby in a forward facing baby carier with seat.
Images Source https://www.amazon.com/BabySteps-Ergonomic-Comfortable-Positions-Adjustable/
If your baby has surpassed the weight limitation of a front facing baby carrier then a baby carrier with a seat is a good option. Designed to carry babies weighing up to 20 kgs, the carrier transfers the weight of the baby from the back to the wearer’s waist, which makes it a healthier choice for the baby wearer as it distributes the baby weight evenly and provides much comfort for the baby.
The BabySteps ergonomic baby carrier guarantees an even weight distribution around the waist, back and hip of the wearer.
It is easy to put on and take off and transfer your baby to different positions safely. Some of them come with additional pockets to hold your baby’s bottles, soothers, keys and other indispensable items you need. Some of them even come with removable hoods for protection from the glaring sun or gusty winds.
The bestselling forward-facing baby carriers are ones that provide maximum comfort to the baby, pass health and safety regulatory standards, have baby safe materials in their construction with fabrics that are easy to clean and are also breathable. Durable fixtures and zippers that stand the wear of time also matters. Many of these carriers have hip-seats that come equipped with styrofoam inserts that have to come out before washing.
The Ergo Omni 360 all in one leaves your hands free for other important things.
A baby carrier leaves your arms free and provides a sense of closeness to your baby, unlike a stroller. Strollers are difficult to maneuver in crowded and uneven spaces. With a carrier you have the advantage of multi-tasking, something pushing a stroller doesn’t offer. It also places your baby in a higher position so that she can see and interact better.
As a mum, you know your baby better than anyone else. If your baby shows signs of being ready for a front facing carrier and has met the requisite eligibility criteria, there is every reason for you to pick one.
A baby who is always curious about what is happening in front of him is ready for a switch. Be mindful of signs from your baby if she is in any discomfort or having a jolly good time. By following the golden rules and transitioning to a forward facing baby carrier, you will open up a whole new world for your little one.