Babywearing International of Portland welcomes you to International Babywearing Week! Each day from October 5th-10th, we will posting mini posts for those who cannot make our in-person events. This year's theme is "Best Seat in the House,", so we are starting the series with an overview what a good seat looks like in a baby carrier.
Getting your baby in the optimal position in any carrier is key. Baby will be the most comfortable and happy. You will be comfortable because baby's weight will be evenly distributed over your body. The optimal seat may look a bit different depending on your child's age and the type of carrier, but there are few basics to keep in mind.
BWI's official stance sums it up nicely, "It is also important that your carrier provide adequate support for your infant’s developing neck and back. Ideally baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee although with older babies and toddlers full knee to knee support is not always possible or necessary. An ergonomic carrier (whether a soft structured carrier, Asian-style carrier, sling, or wrap) will provide better support for baby and will be more comfortable for the caregiver as well."
You can an optimal seat in almost any carrier. Here are a few examples:
Newborn in a ring sling legs in. Sitting on bottom with hips rotated forward. All the weight is rest on baby's bottom and not on their hips.
Newborn in a stretchy wrap. Legs are out in this case. Wrap is supporting baby's knees are higher than bottom in a M position. Fabric is also supporting baby's seat knee to knee.
Newborn in a woven wrap. Similar to a stretchy wrap, weight resting of baby's bottom with knees higher than bottom.
Newborn in a ring sling in a cradle carry. Baby is in a check mark position---head upright with chest flat and airway clear, baby's weight resting on their bottom, and knees higher than bottom.
Infant in a woven wrap front carry. More fabric is tucked between caregiver and baby to support baby's larger body. Baby is still supported knee to knee with weight rest on their bottom.
Infant in a stretchy wrap hip carry. Even in a hip carry, optimal position is knees higher than bum.
Infant in a hard frame carrier. While some hard frame carriers are designed to have baby sitting in the optimal spread-squat position, like this in the picture. Others do not fully achieve this position, and that's okay. Just make you follow manufacturer's instructions and that baby is comfortable in the carrier.
Infant in a SSC front carry. Baby's legs are supported in the M position without being hyperextended. A designated infant insert may need to be used until their knees fully clear the sides of the panel.
Infant in a pouch sling. A deeper seat with baby supported knee-to-knee.
Infant in a mei tei front carry. Whether the shoulder straps are spread like in the picture above or bunched, make sure baby's weight is resting on their bottom and supported knee-to-knee.
Infant in a woven wrap back carry. Fabric is supporting baby knee to knee.
Infant in a SSC back carry. Similar to a front carry, panel support's baby knee to knee without hyperextension.
Toddler in a woven wrap front carry. More fabric to under bottom to make sure their knees are fully supported in the optimal m position.
Toddler in a woven wrap back carry. Similar to front carry, knees higher than bum and weight resting on their bottom.
Toddler in a SSC back carry. Knees should be higher than bottom, though this optimal position is harder to achieve as their legs get longer. Make sure their weight is always resting on their bottom.
Toddler in a mei tei back carry. Similar to SSC back carry. The m position is very possible even with long legs.
The optimal position is a guide to help you and baby to be as comfortable as possible while using a carrier. Keep working on those seats and check back tomorrow for the next mini post!
Samantha Reddy, ABE