Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Practice, not product"

I wanted to link you guys to a great blog post by Arie of the Canadian Babywearing School regarding the practice of babywearing versus the product of babywearing.  It's easy to get caught up in all the material goods out there, or start putting carriers into good and bad categories.

Narrow-seated carriers such as the Baby Bjorn or the Snuggli often are called "crotch-danglers" in the babywearing community because the weight of the baby is concentrated in the area between the legs (versus a "wide-seated" carrier like an Ergo or Boba).  The legs themselves are not supported and are free, thus the dangling descriptor.  These carriers also allow a baby to be faced out to see the world.

In our meetings we've stressed the importance of safe carrying, which means that your baby's head should be close enough to kiss, the baby is able to breathe freely, and that very young babies should not be in a C-curved, chin-to-chest positon.  We talk about appropriate carriers and carries for newborns, infants, toddlers, and even preschoolers.  We've also talked about optimal seating for children, with the knees being above the hips, allowing them to be carried more comfortably.

Narrow-seated carriers such as the Bjorn and some versions of the Snugli do not get check marks for optimal seating, but they do get check marks for being safe.  Babies are well-supported and are at an extremely low risk for falling out.  And that's the bottom line, for us: is the carrier safe?  Can it do its job of carrying a child close?  If the answer is yes, we're happy to work with it.  We encourage babywearing, full stop.

Now, just because the Baby Bjorn-type carriers are safe and do their job adequately doesn't mean we can't trick them out a little bit in order to get a more comfortable carry and create an optimal seated position.  Arie's post has details on how to "pimp out" a Bjorn.  I have to say that this is a really cool trick and I can't wait to try this myself with a narrow-seated carrier.

Why is Arie Wearing a Baby Bjorn?

And lastly, when I mentioned "some versions" of the Snugli do not get check marks yadda yadda ya?  Snugli makes a wide-seated carrier called the Front Hip and Back Snugli.  It looks pretty good!  I have yet to see one in the wild so I cannot give any impressions about what they're like.  Maybe one day...