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What is ergonomic babywearing? What does it mean? Let’s start by understanding the meaning of the word ‘ergonomic’. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Ergonomic means ‘designed to make people’s working environment more comfortable ant to help them work more efficiently’. In babywearing, ‘ergonomic’can be defined as something which is designed to minimise physical effort and discomfort, and hence maximise the practice of carrying your child. So how does this fit in with babywearing and carrying and how can you choose which carrier to wear?
An ergonomic carrier will support baby in a natural position, it will have a wide base for baby to sit and have their hips in a supported ‘M’ position. The carrier will spread baby’s weight across your body and allow baby to feel almost weightless. In an ergonomic carrier or even a wrap, baby’s bum will sit lower than their knees, like the position of a hammock and offer full back support. Baby will be supported close to your body as they would if you were holding them in your arms.
To ensure you are carrying correctly, check that baby is well supported with your chosen sling or carrier. You want the panel or fabric to support up to baby’s neck and full support to baby’s knees. Ensure that your carrier is tightened so it feels like you are giving baby a secure hug, but not so tight that it feels you have pressure on your neck or shoulders.
When tightening straps on a carrier, make sure they are tightened equally to prevent pain or tension on one side. Do this by tightening slightly one side at a time and working your way back and forth until it feels secure. Getting the straps sitting on the flat of your shoulders will ensure they are wider, offering more support across your back too. Unless you are doing a hip carry, you want baby’s body to be central on your chest, imagine that your spines are parallel to each other and make sure baby is not leaning or slumping.
Safety checks for babywearing are as follows:
Tight – Ensure baby is secure. An easy way to check is to support baby’s head and learn forward gently. If there is a large gap between you both then you may need to tighten some more. If you cannot take a deep breath comfortably, then you may need to loosen.
In view – You need to be able to always see baby’s face, no fabric or straps must cover baby’s face. Be mindful of this when using a babywearing jacket as you need to ensure baby has plenty of air flow, but you also want to protect them from the elements.
Close enough to kiss – This is the height that baby will be on your body. Baby needs to be high enough that you can easily kiss them on the head without leaning. Keeping baby nice and high will offer more back support and prevent any shoulder strain.
Keep chin off chest – This is especially important for newborns and smaller babies that have no or little head control. Ensure baby’s head is turned with their cheek on your chest and tilted upwards. This will keep baby’s airways open and prevent slumping.
– A well fitted and adjusted sling or carrier will offer full support to baby’s back ensuring they are supported in their natural position which will be curved into your body. This is created by forming the ‘M’ position with their hips. If the sling or carrier doesn’t support from knee to knee, their knees will point down, creating a straighter back. This will also result in no head support and you may feel like you need to support baby’s head with your hand.
Wombat & Co. London is on a mission to spread the word about babywearing. As parents, we know that it could not be more important to foster a connection with your little one both during your pregnancy and throughout their early years, and we believe that babywearing is the best way to do this.
We have experienced firsthand the relationship-building benefits of this thoroughly enriching practice, but we know that this is not limited to mother and child – babywearing can strengthen ties between mums and dads, and the family as a whole. As a family-owned business, we are driven by a passion for babywearing, and by offering items of the highest standard, we strive to pass on this enthusiasm on to the mums, dads and families that we serve.