So, we all know that we need a buggy of some sort to ferry our little passengers around. But, when we just can’t be bothered to cart it around, or need both hands handy at home & our little munchkin is being difficult, a sling or carrier may soon become your new BFF. #sorrynotsorry buggy.
When it comes to wearing them, it’s perfectly normal to suffer from sling & carrier safety confusion - it’s a jungle of info out there. But we’ve gone in to help you. You’re welcome…
Let’s get started with safety & how to hold your little one.
1. The M-Position
Babies have been curled up while they’ve done 9 months inside & now it’s time for them to really stretch their legs. Their hips are also developing meaning that you need to make sure that you put them in a position that doesn’t stunt this when you place them in a sling or carrier.
Everyone welcome the M-position, otherwise known as the frog-position or spread-squat (it may sound like a nasty bootcamp position but it’s not - we promise!), this way to carry your little one centres their femur head right in the middle of the hip socket. This helps with the development of their little hips, means that their knees are higher up than their bottom & that their legs are spread apart at 90 degrees.
Basically, you’re little passenger should be kicking their legs out to your sides, not kicking you in the groin - one way to remember it, right?! Still not sure? Use a mirror the first time you put the carrier on to help you with the positioning. It’s also really important to look out for carriers & slings, which have been certified as “hip-healthy”.
Below are images on how you should be holding your little one:
2. Watch that weight
Ok, it’s not rocket science, but it’s a mistake many of us make. Many moons ago, we once tried to get our tot into a carrier he was slightly too heavy for. A trip around B&Q was more like a scene from the Hunchback of Notre Dam as we bent forwards trying to save our backs. To put it simply, stick to the minimum and maximum recommended weights when it comes to this. We were silly so you don’t have to be…
3. Make sure they’re sitting wide & pretty
Your baby may not come with a manual but these slings & carriers sure do. Make sure you read about how to adjust the carrier or sling so your little passenger stays comfy as they grow. This means making sure that you adjust the carrier to make it a wide seat base for your little one.
4. Don’t be silly about it
Just because your tot is attached you, it doesn’t mean they are invisible. Avoid dangerous activities such as ice skating, horse riding and biking with your little one attached. We can hear you scoffing but it’s been seen!
5. Make sure you’ve got them covered
Literally! Many carriers come with covers, which protect little passengers from the elements, so it’s worth investing in one of these. Because they are hanging around in winter, they may get cold so make sure you layer them up. However, it’s also worth remembering that because they are so close to you, they could get overly warm in the summer - planning on using this in warmer climes? There are carriers specially made of mesh - just don’t forget that sun cream.
6. TICK all the right boxes
Like with anything baby related, you need to be super careful, and slings & carriers are no different. To make sure your baby stays safe the The Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers have come up with some tips based on the T.I.C.K.S.
- Tight - Slings and carriers should hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. Any slack/loose fabric means your little one could slump down in the carrier & this could interfere with their breathing.
- In view at all times- You should always be able to see your baby’s face as soon as you glance down. The fabric of a sling or carrier shouldn’t close around their beautiful little faces. In a cradle position your baby should face upwards not be turned in towards your body.
- Close enough to kiss - not that you needed any reason to do this but by tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.
- Keep chin off the chest - Your little one should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing.
- Supported back. If you’re buying an upright carrier, always make sure your little one is held comfortably with their backs supported in their natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. (This can be tested by placing a hand on your baby’s back and pressing gently - they should not uncurl or move closer to you.)
Our IDEAS articles are based on our own experiences as parents & a need to find gorgeous, genuinely useful stuff for baby. That’s why you’ll always find our fave picks below our tips. Yes, we’re good to you ;)