I hope you'll find the below article written by Dr.Pande informative.
If you look at photo's from all over the world babe's in slings, wraps and Mei Tai's are always in a proper position and are never shown forward facing out. Maybe they know something we don't?
Happy Babywearing and Happy Babywearing Safely!
How carrying your baby front facing out affects the spine and moms pelvic floor
By Dr.Maya Pande
I want to touch on two specific complications that may be prevented by carrying baby facing in instead of facing out.
Spinal Curvature: First a tiny anatomy lesson. Don't worry, it's easy!
When a baby is born, their spine is shaped in a "C" curve. As they get stronger and older, their spines develop into the "S" shape that is normal for adults.
If the baby is forward facing out(FFO), the "C" curve is decreased. Why?
Mainly because the middle of their spine is being pressed up against the hard breast bone of the adult who's holding them. This is basically like being backed up against a wall.
This straightens out the "C" curve prematurely putting unnecessary stress on their spine and nervous system. Depending how often and how long a baby is held facing out, this can affect the development of their spine.
Why do you want to avoid this? The spine protects the nervous system which is an extension of the brain. The nervous system is used to transmit information from the brain to the rest of the body and therefore controls all of the body's systems. When the a bone of the spine is misaligned, or compressed or compromised in any way, the nervous system gets stressed and overloaded. This affects the body's overall ability to be healthy.
By carrying a baby facing in with their knees bent and their bum lower than their knees(see picture below, also known as the "M" position), their "C" curve is supported and this allows their spine and nervous system to develop normally.
|photo courtesy of JePorteMonBebe|
|The "M" position in Manduca, knee's higher than bum|
|A closer look at proper positioning in a TULA carrier.|
Same "M" position
Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is basically a deformation of the hip joint which can cause decreased mobility and affect walking. This is more commonly heard of in older adults, but it can also happen to babies. After birth, it takes a few months for the hip joints to naturally stretch out from the fetal position. Until their hips stretch out on their own, it's important that they be supported in that fetal position. Some FFO carriers can force the baby's legs to dangle and hang straight which stretches their hip joints prematurely. This may lead to hip dysplasia or even dislocation, in susceptible individuals.
(edit: June.1/12 by Dr.Pande)
These two conditions can go undetected because neither of them cause pain in your little one.
|One of the left is not optimal, picture on the right is the ideal position|
photo from hipdysplasia.org
Research supports that hip dysplasia can increase the risk of developing arthritis in later years and hip dysplasia is one of the risk factors associated with the onset of hip osteoarthritis.
Carrying your baby facing out also may force you to push your hips forward when you walk. This puts more pressure on the already weak pelvic floor. Using a FFI carrier position makes you use core muscles to support yourself, and decrease the pressure placed on the pelvic floor, better allowing it to heal after birth.
Regardless of which position you carry your baby, what do you do if you start to notice a problem
with you(such as back pain, easily tired when walking, can't get comfortable) or the baby (such as excess fidgeting while in carrier, trouble crawling or walking, uneven muscle tone in legs).
1) Carrier: If you are carrying your baby in the FFO position, try switching to forward facing in. Depending on the age and head control you can wear baby on your back or even on the hip.
Erica can help you with that and/or show you other carriers to help ensure you're babywearing comfortably.
This change may be enough to make the difference.
2) Health Care Practitioner: Consult your provider to see if there's something more serious going on.
3) Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic care is gentle enough for little spines and there are chiropractors who focus on infants and children in their practice. They gently assess your baby's spine to find out of there are any misalignment's or constraints to their development. Then they explain what they've found and what can be done. The adjustment is a slight pressure on their back. No popping or cracking at all!
Carrying your baby is important for bonding, and let’s face it, it’s just wonderful. I mean, who doesn’t like to hold a cute, sweet smelling baby? By carrying your baby FFI, you’re supporting his or her spine and hips, providing comfort and getting a good cuddle out of it too!
About Dr.Maya Pande
Pande Family Wellness Centre
2221 Yonge Street, #504
Toronto, ON M4S2B4