It seems that since the beginning of time humans have carried their babies close to their bodies from infancy. There is no question that the most comfortable, secure and natural spot for a baby to be, upon entering the world from the womb, is to remain close to the body of his mother or father. The closest we can come to mimicking the world of the womb is by baby wearing.

Baby wearing is a term that is used to describe carrying a baby, in cloth, close to the body. It is not a new concept but it is one that is re-gaining popularity as we are coming to see the benefits of baby wearing for both baby and wearer.

There are many benefits to baby wearing and the most notable, to a doctor of chiropractic, are the neurological benefits and the bonding benefits. Baby wearing is beneficial for a sense of security to the baby and helps parents to bond with their baby. Babies who are worn tend to be happier and calmer. They can adapt their body temperature and respiration rate more efficiently and have more ease within their digestive tracts. All making for ease and harmony within their nervous system.

Positioning in carriers also aides in proper neurological development. Babies now spend more time on their backs, mostly, because of the back to sleep campaign to reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). This, along with prolonged time spent in car seats and such things as swings, has put strain on the nervous system. We are seeing more and more children with plagiocephaly. Plagiocephaly is the flattening of the skull (generally flattening of the back is seen). This is not only a cosmetic issue. The soft, malleable skull bones of the infant flatten putting pressure on a delicate neurological system. This can cause dis-ease within the infant and lead to health issues.

The perfect carrier for your child will depend on multiple scenarios. Things that need to be asked are the age of the child, the size of the child, the length of time the child will be carried, the ease of getting the child out of the carrier if they fall asleep, the comfort of the carrier on the person carrying the child and the budget one has to buy a carrier are just a few. But, some general guidelines for choosing a good carrier are:

1) The carrier offers more than one position to wear your baby. Variety in positions is a must.

2) Comfort of the carrier on the wearer. An improperly fitting carrier can put stress on the wearer as well as the child and cause harm.

3) Does the carrier place the baby in the proper position. That position will depend on the age of the child but one thing for certain is to see if the carrier is supporting their pelvis and spine correctly for the age and development of the child.

Baby wearing with proper parent and baby positioning is important. I am more than happy to help answer your questions about positioning and carriers for you and your baby. And if you are pregnant, how to wear your carrier for the health of both of your babies! Baby wearing helps to promote optimal neurological development of your child. Choose a good, supportive, sound carrier and enjoy the months or years of wearing your child.

Cheryl Schmitt, D.C., CACCP

Dr. Cheryl Schmitt, CACCP