A Pediatric Chiropractor's guide to choosing a great baby carrier
Choose the best baby carrier!
Before we were even thinking about having kids, we watched the movie Away We Go. It’s a funny movie with Maya Rudolph and John Krasinsky who are embarking on the parenthood journey. Maggie Gylenhall plays John’s sister who is a no filter attachment parent. My favourite line from the whole movie was when she says about a stroller “I love my children, why would I want to push them away from me?!?!?” It’s funny that it has stuck with me this long, but I guess I hadn’t really thought about how I was going to get my kids around when they one day arrived. When Hayes had made his debut, we actually needed to think about it and babywearing just made sense to us. Holding our baby close, keeping him warm and snuggled and nursing on demand with ease were MAJOR pros in my mind. I didn’t really learn until later that the carrier I had chosen also helped support his hip and spine health too. All I knew was that it was by far the most comfortable thing I had ever tried on, and it was pretty.
Now, knowing what I know, I’d like to share some tips on choosing the best carrier for both parent and child, because if you’re anything like we ended up being, you’ll be using it for a LONG time.
1. Have the right straps & the right position for babe
The first thing you want to make sure of is that your carrier has broad shoulder straps that stay securely on your shoulders without digging in, or slipping down – yes you have to go and try some on. The next thing we recommend is sticking with carriers that promote a healthy and comfortable hip position for baby. Ideally your child should sit at the bottom of the carrier with legs splayed just like they would be if you were carrying them in your arms. This position helps maintain great hip-in-socket position for your little one and it is also waaaaayyyyyy more comfortable for them to sit on their bums instead of being dangled by their crotches.
2. No facing out!
I generally do not recommend going with a carrier where the child is facing out, and here is why: Firstly those types of carriers do not support the hip position I just mentioned. Second, facing out does not support their backs and forces them into back extension. When you’re out walking with your baby facing out, all the forces from each of your steps then goes through your baby’s extended spine placing high amounts of stress through those joints. (update:Ergo has recently come out with a 360 version of their carrier that allows a more seated position and the option for forward facing. Rule of thumb is knees above bum for a happy ride)
Some great brands!
The brands that I generally get behind are Ergo baby, Tula, Beco, and Boba. I have an Ergo, because that was what was available locally at the time, and I really do love it. We hike a lot, and both of my kids were able to comfortably be carried until they were 3 years old. Tula and Boba have some really cute patterns if you’re looking for something a little distinctive, but I would buy any of these carriers if I had it to do over again.