ALL THOSE INFORMATIONS ARE IMPORTANT FOR THE SAFETY AND COMFORT OF YOUR BABY.
Classic sling, wrap or Duo baby carrier, there are many options for physiological babywearing. Even backpack carriers and more besides if you prefer, depending on what you and your baby need, for as long as you need, as often as you need... But you have to be careful to do it right and follow good practice. So we've put together some ideas and advice for you to find out everything there is to know about physiological babywearing.
Physiological babywearing means carrying them in a natural position: knees higher than the buttocks thanks to a tilted pelvis, back not too straight, head-pelvis-spine aligned, hands can touch the face. Other factors add to this list, such as the fact that the child is at the right height for kissing, or that they can breathe unobstructed.
Being familiar with a newborn's physical characteristics is an essential prerequisite for understanding and implementing the rules for babywearing, especially soon after birth.
We talk about physiological position because it is the one which best respects the child's natural curvature. In the womb, the baby lies in a fetal position, with its back curled up. At birth, babies have a totally rounded back, said to be in complete kyphosis, or C-shaped. The back is not yet mature and the spine will straighten out as the back muscles grow.
At birth, babies have a totally rounded back (total kyphosis), a situation which reflects the infant's anatomy. It relieves vertical pressure on the spine and intervertebral discs.This situation will change as the infant grows. As the baby learns to hold its head up, the curvature of the spine will straighten out, and baby is able to hold their head up while lying on their tummy (cervical lordosis). By working on rolling over and getting into the four-legged position, the child straightens their back and learns to sit up unaided (dorsal kyphosis). Next, the baby tries to straighten up and discovers standing on two feet and being upright (lumbar lordosis).
So as the baby grows, the wearing position will also change - not so curled up and not so close to the carrier's body, to allow greater freedom of movement.
UP TO ABOUT THREE MONTHS: knees as wide as the pelvis, and ankles in line with the knees.
FROM ABOUT THREE MONTHS (baby can grab their feet on their own): knees can be wider apart, and they can then hug and kiss whoever is carrying them.
FROM ABOUT 4 MONTHS, the baby's back is no longer likely to curl up when awake, even when sitting properly.
There are two main reasons why experts don't recommend facing out. First of all, facing out is not physiological as it exerts too much pressure on baby's back and joints.
Furthermore, this position risks too much stimulation for the baby, especially visually. This way of babywearing, very common in the West, should be practised sparingly and only for short times. Alternatively, you might choose to carry baby on your back or on the hip.
To enjoy the best carrying conditions, it is important to respect a number of rules and to be attentive to the child's needs:
- When fitting the baby sling, make sure that the child's respiratory tracts are always unobstructed from the fabric, to ensure proper air flow. The baby’s face must always be visible to the carrier.
- Dress the baby according to the weather, especially if it is hot, and consider the sling fabric as a piece of clothing, in addition to your own body heat (37°). Cover the extremities (head, feet) to protect them from the sun and/or cold.
- Regularly keep the baby hydrated if it is warm outside, and be careful with exposure to the sun.
- In all positions, make sure that the baby can freely move its head. The head must be in the axis of the backbone.
- Be attentive to signals in the baby's behaviour: answer its needs and make the necessary adjustments position-wise.
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Babywearing is a convenient way of keeping your hands free and moving around more easily.
Babywearing comforts baby, soothes tears and helps with sleep.
Baby's head should always be outside the sling or wrap, with their nose and mouth clear.
Avoid baby carriers where all of baby's weight is supported between the legs.