The Importance and Safety of Babywearing

I have written pretty extensively about my love for babywearing since beginning this blog.  There is nothing in the world better than snuggling your little one close to your body, with their sweet heads right under your face within easy kissing reach.  Safe babywearing is the ideal way to spend time with your baby, keep your sanity, chase a toddler, make a sandwich, and get things done.

I’d like to say I wore my son because of the many benefits to babywearing, but for me, it was truly something to save my sanity.  He didn’t want to be put down, and I couldn’t carry him everywhere.  I have worn him all over.  I used to take plane trips with nothing more than my baby, my Ergo, my Ergo Backpack stuffed with diapers, and an ID.  Seeing other moms pushing their strollers through security made me realize how convenient babywearing made travel.

I wore him during fireworks for 4th of July.  He was wrapped up and slept through it all.  I know that he felt safe and loved.

I have worn my son and nursed him while navigating through busy festival crowds and no one was the wiser.

To me, not babywearing (unless your child truly hates it, a rare but possible problem) is crazy.

The thing is, we need to do it safely.  I think the majority of mothers who even use the term “babywearing” are doing it safely.  These moms are using wraps, slings, soft-structure carriers, and so on.  They are not usually wearing Baby Bjorns or the recalled elastic pouch slings.  They didn’t get their carrier from Wal-Mart.  These moms are in the know.  But there are others who don’t know the correct positioning for a baby who is being worn.  Just yesterday I saw a father wearing a very new baby, tummy to tummy, in a Baby Bjorn.  The baby was practically down to his waist, and the back was not crossed correctly.  How he figured this was how it should be done is beyond me.  Did he even read the instructions?  And, if you want to know my opinion, I feel the Baby Bjorn is far more dangerous than any properly made and used sling or SSC.  Every time I see a baby dangling from their crotch, hardly even touching their parent’s body, I cringe.  Who are these pediatricians who are endorsing this product as safe?  Would you want to ride around on your crotch for hours?

To the CPSC has recalled a few slings recently, but their warnings made it seem that ANY baby carrier was unsafe.  This sent a shockwave of panic amongst parents who worried that their carrier might be unsafe.  Now it seems the babywearing industry is under further threats from the CPSC.

The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance is in need of monetary donations and help to spread the word.  The BCIA can help standardize safety standards for slings and is very close to doing so.  Hopefully this, along with better education about babywearing and how to do it safely, will prevent any further unnecessary infant deaths.  Thanks to online videos and very descriptive illustration tutorials, I was able to learn how to wear my son safely and comfortably.  I also don’t take for granted that there are local resources willing to teach classes on babywearing.

You can read the BCIA’s Position Paper on Babywearing/Kangaroo Care. This is a wealth of knowledge about the benefits of babywearing besides just the practical convenience of it.

If you are able and willing, please consider donating to the BCIA to help their legal fees.  If you can’t but you still want to help, share their page on Facebook, tweet it, or blog about it.

Let’s be clear: Proper babywearing is safe!  It is wonderful!  It is beautiful!  Don’t let all baby carriers suffer for the sins of a few.   Let’s use common sense when babywearing.  It really isn’t that hard!

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  • Great pictures!

  • Amanda

    Good post! Love the pics.

    I’m a mom of a baby that did NOT like to be worn as a newborn.

    I did my research about BWing before my baby was born. I got a Moby and a Zolowear sling (and I just have to give a mention about all the great videos showing proper BWing on the Zolowear website). My child would scream his head off if I tried to put him in either. He loved being held, but he would not tolerate being worn for even a second. Around 4 months, he would let me wear him in the RS, but he refuses to let me position him the way he really should be even now. He won’t ‘sit’ in it and just want to be stick straight up against me. It makes wearing him very difficult, but he really does enjoy it now and stays happier longer when we are out. I’m renting some becos to see if those will work better for us. I’d love to feel more secure when carrying him. Because safety is key!

    • Amanda, maybe the Beco will work wonders for you! I hope so!

  • Beautiful photo slideshow!!!

    Steph

  • Olivia

    I agree with your post and have loved babywearing myself since my daughter was born 18 months ago.

    Just one point of contention, I did not find the baby bjorn comfortable, but my husband did. For him, it was easy and comfortable to use. While I know there is some concern from the more knowledgable babywearers among us about the baby “dangling from the crotch” I was happy that our baby was being carried in a bjorn rather than a carseat, and our daughter seemed just as happy to be in the bjorn as she was in the sling with me.

    If we want to increase the number of babies who are worn instead of lugged in a carseat, it would be prudent to not knock carriers unless they are truly dangerous to the baby.

  • kristenbobbitt

    What kind of carrier would you recommend for hiking with your baby. My son is 8 months old. Thanks!

    • I love the Ergo for that age!

  • Jessica Hughes

    Love this post! I wish I had known about babywearing when my oldest was still a baby. I wear his sister all the time, and it has truly been a godsend! It’s saved my sanity on more than one occasion. More than that, though, is knowing that I can give my daughter a safe, secure place to shut out the rest of the world when she becomes overwhelmed. That’s truly invaluable to me.