There is always going to be an element of Babywearing that someone will disagree with. Whether it be a safety, developmental or behavioural standpoint. As a Babywearing consultant, I can only see positives to Babywearing, but I wanted to explore the reason some may say it’s bad and why science says this is not true. I also want to look if there are any legitimate negative effects of babywearing.
Baby could fall out
There is always the possibility of a child falling out of a carrier that is done up poorly. The same as a child could fall out of a buggy, highchair or off a bed or sofa. These are risks that we take in everyday life by not ensuring the safety of our children. If this reason is given to you, then you have enough common sense ammunition to provide a concise and accurate reply to this line of disagreement. Following the safety T.IC.K.S will ensure that your child is always safe.
Babies have passed away
Sadly this is true. Pre Safety T.I.C.K.S guidelines several infants died in a type of carrier called ‘bag slings’. This eventually ended with several makes being recalled and thankfully they are well-known enough that no one uses them. There has been an incidence in the last 5 years of an infant passing away in a stretchy wrap. However, this was likely due to misplacement of baby and poor monitoring of a sick child. In comparison 2 babies an hour are hurt in a buggy in the USA. With 361,000 hurt between 1990 and 2010.
It causes hip dysplasia and spine problems
We can emphatically reassure anyone that babywearing does not cause Hip or spine problems. If the child has an underlying hip issue it is advised that they should be placed in a wide-based carrier rather than a narrow one, see this great article by Dr Rosies Knowles of Sheffield Sling Surgery.
It damages the wearer
For sure a carrier poorly fitted can indeed cause pain. As would wearing a heavy backpack or carrying a weight without proper alignment. However, a well-fitted carrier should not cause any discomfort or pain and certainly no longterm damage. Humans have evolved to carry our children in arms and on our front and back, similarly to primates. Regular carrying, with a well-fitted carrier and good alignment, will benefit you greatly by increasing core strength. Even in situations where the parent has a disability or underlying health condition a carrying solution can usually be found.
It creates clingy kids
In our modern day culture, there is still a belief that allowing a child to be held too much will create a child that is too dependent or ‘clingy’. Mostly through the idea that children need to be taught independence, which is an entire falsehood. The opposite is actually true. By forcing a child away from its secure base ( usually the parent or carer) its creates a need to be closer through fear of abandonment. A regularly carried child with a parent who understands the need for a secure base and allows the child to explore the world from the safety of this in most cases is actually less clingy. Plus it gets parents through the developmental stages where a child naturally seeks the safety of its caregiver, whilst still allowing them to get on with their everyday tasks.
The child will never learn to walk
This is an idea I have never truly understand the logic behind. Children need to be transported. Whether it be in a stroller, carrier or in our arms. It’s a developmental stage that can only be rectified when the child has the ability to walk, through strength, coordination and balance. Even once this has occurred it often takes 1-2 years for the child to be fully capable to keep up with an adult without tiring. So whatever method you choose is going to have little impact on their ability to walk, as this is an innate developmental stage that happens without our input. If this doesn’t happen its due to a developmental delay or physical disability.
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