Is There a 'Right' Way to Wear Your Baby?
Check out this shot of Jamie Oliver's wife Jools carrying the couple's adorable son River in an infant carrier:
Pretty cute, right? The celeb chef posted the pic to his Instagram feed in honor of Jools' 42nd birthday. But the comments regarding the mom-of-five's use of a front-facing carrier quickly turned nasty thanks to a healthy turnout from the perfect parent brigade.
"Poor baby looks so uncomfortable!" wrote one. "With all the money you have, you'd think you'd listen to the advice, not put your baby in danger and buy an ergonomic carrier!"
"Plz do ur research," added another. "Narrow based carriers are not only dangerous but also uncomfortable for baby! Should never front face!"
And from a third: "My son had undiagnosed hip displaysia and it was not fun for him being in plaster for months and then having surgery. This is most definitely the wrong kind of carrier!"
Wow—tough crowd. And I gotta plead ignorance on this one. I used an infant carrier with both of my kids, and both of them faced front all the time. I can only imagine the kind of heat I would have taken for this pic—taken way back in 2005—that my daughter recently unearthed from somewhere up in our cloud:
Yup, that's an empty beer bottle my kid is nibbling on. And it's Thanksgiving day and he's not wearing socks. You can go ahead and call me a bad mom a million times over, but what I remember most about this day is being awash in the feelings of pride and joy and love as I carried my little guy close to my heart and introduced him to all his far-flung relatives.
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Look, there's no such thing as a perfect parent—we all make mistakes. And TBH, I'm not super-proud of this moment. But shaming each other is never the right way to go. Still, the comments on Jamie's post do bring up an important issue about baby-wearing safety, so here's what you (and I, apparently) need to know:
While the International Hip Dysplasia Institute does not endorse nor advise against any particular baby carrier, it does encourage parents to choose a model that allows healthy hip positioning—meaning when babies are carried, their hips should be allowed to spread apart in an "M" shape with the thighs supported and the hips bent:
Here are a few other safety tips courtesy of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance:
- Read and follow all manufacturer's instructions for use.
- Ensure you can see baby's face at all times. Do not let baby's face press into your body. Do not cover baby's face with a blanket or sling fabric.
- Baby's head and neck must be gently and completely supported, with chin off chest. If baby's chin is pressed tightly to baby's chest, this can restrict baby's airway. Check to ensure you can slip your finger between baby's chin and chest to check for correct positioning.
- Consult an expert if your infant was born with a low birth weight, such as a preemie or twins, or if your infant has respiratory illness or other respiratory problems. Extra vigilance is required with these babies.
- Attend to and check on baby often, especially those under 4 months of age.
It's a lot to digest, isn't it? No wonder there's so much confusion!
Check out more resources on the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance's website.