All of the options when it comes to babywearing can be so overwhelming! All these different carriers, blends, wraps and then their "abbreviated" names! Hopefully, I can simplify it for you.
What are they, what is the difference, pros and cons to each and how they are worn can all be found here
This blog post is all about the basics though and most importantly, the babys health and safety.
I love babywearing and I love seeing other parents wear their babys too because it gives our little ones exactly what they (and sometimes us) need, and research has shown it is extremely beneficial for babys. However, the one thing I see all the time and it makes me absolutely cringe...... the childs legs just dangling straight down. This is bad for more than one reason. It can't be comfortable for a child to just hang from their crotch essentially, but the biggest is due to hip health. In order to help reduce the risk of hip dysplasia, The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has advised a babys leg and hip position should be in an ergonomical "M" position when being worn. What is the "M" position? Babys bum should be the middle of the M with their knees higher at the top of the M and their legs form the left and right long sides of the M.
Here's an example:
This should be the babys knee and bum position regardless of whether they are facing forward or facing in.
There are several reasons why this position may not be achieved; wrong sized baby carrier, position needs to be adjusted, baby is too young for a certain position or, in some cases, the carrier is just not made to meet the guidelines of The International Hip Dysplasia Institute and so the base to create the seat isn't wide enough. If you're currently looking at a particular baby carrier, check their website to see if they've been endorsed by The International Hip Dysplasia Institute. I'm not saying you can't ever make your own carrier or buy one someone else has made, like a shop on Etsy, but until you're familiar with proper positioning, for your childs safety, I recommend sticking with a carrier made by a company that has been endorsed. On that same note, if you'll be wearing your baby when they get bigger or if you plan on also using it for an older child, please pay careful attention to weight limits which are typically not given if you purchase a carrier made by a smaller company like you may find on Etsy. Larger, more well known companies have tested their products and can provide the maximum weight limits based on the fabric it is made out of and durability of the stitching. There is one type of carrier that has no weight limit and can be worn right from day one which I cover for you in Types of Carriers & How They're Worn Lastly, it is very important to make sure your babys airways are always open (keeping babys chin off of his/her chest) which coincides with age appropriate positions. Details on these positions are in the link below. Here are some quick links in case you're looking for something specific:
Choosing The Best Way To Babywear (this may change as your baby grows) ***Coming This Week