Chiropractors recommend wearing your baby facing inward. Here is why:
In recent times, there has been a rise in the ancient, natural practice of parents ‘wearing’ their babies. That being said, the modern world too often looks at fashion and convenience than what is right for the parent or baby. They take natural ancient customs and modernising it with style. In turn sacrificing the health and well-being of mum and bub.
Such is the case with infant carriers where the baby faces outwards. Telling parents that babies ‘want to look where they are going’ is one such marketing ploy. This has created a generation of forward-facing carriers. Unfortunately, the marketing is unsubstantiated by facts, and the position is not better for the baby. In truth, this baby style of wearing has some major drawbacks for the baby’s developing neurology and structure.
7 reasons why we recommend not using outward-facing carriers:
- These carriers are not designed to support the child’s developing hips.
The hips of babies and infants are still forming. When born these areas are cartilaginous and depend on optimal positioning to help develop the joints. In an outward facing carrier, the legs hang down. They have no support and the joint has less chance of developing correctly. The optimal positioning for a baby’s legs is with the knees up above the hips in a squatting posture. This allows the legs to be separated in a straddle like position. This puts the correct angle into the hip to develop the joint. This is why when you pick up an infant, they will instinctively draw their legs up into this position.
- Increases stress on the child’s spinal curvatures
Babies are born with what is called a primary curve, which is a c-curve of the thoracic spine. They do not have the secondary curves in the neck and low back until later in development with specific self-activated movement. First the neck lordosis/curve develops its inward curve, as the baby is to hold its head up when laying on their belly. Then, as they develop and get stronger and their nervous system starts to wake up, then begin to crawl, the neck curve strengthens further, and the lumbar lordosis curve starts to develop. When a baby is forward facing in a carrier, the primary c-curve is forced into a reversed position before it has gone through the normal developmental stages. This has detrimental effects on the spinal alignment in these critical stages of development and could have lifelong effects on the child’s spine, nervous system and overall well-being
- Babies bond with human faces
They just love watching facial expressions especially their own parents. Facing outwards deprives them of this natural, innate need which will enhance communication, security and optimal development of their neurological system. The early years of bonding, lays the foundations for empathy and the ability to relate to others
- Babies like to nurse on demand
In an outward facing carrier, it is impossible for babies to have that quick snack in such activities as nursing. Nursing is just more than a quick snack. It is an opportunity for babies to ‘reconnect’ with their source of assurance – mum in most cases – as they are observing and learning in their new environment.
- Babies like to nap frequently
Baby wearing helps mum and dad to go about their everyday activities whilst have their bundle of joy close-by. When a baby falls asleep whilst being carried on their parent’s chest, they have the security and comfort that comes from touch and feeling the parents breathe and heartbeat through their face and body which provides security and reassurance. It also has the benefits of an opportunity to sleep with the head gently turned to one side or the other. The posture stimulates an incredible amount of neurological integration and development in the baby
- Wearing babies facing out hurts
When the baby is forward facing, the wearer’s center of gravity shifts forward, which puts extra pressure on their spines. In other words, forward facing carriers are not ergonomically designed for the parents either.
- Babies are off-balance when facing outwards.
Take a look at the next baby you see that is forward facing. You often see the parent either holding the baby’s legs or the baby grasping the parent’s fingers. This is because the babies feel off balance in this position and feel the need to hold onto something. To compensate they lean their pelvis back to help with balance. This puts undue stress on the low back and affects the structural development. It is just another additional stress to their spines and nervous systems
All too often in a consumer-driven world parents can be confused about what is going to be good for them another little bundles of joy. It is always important to look deeper into products and make an informed decision not just by the packaging and sales pitch. The team here at Neurohealth choose options for families’ that will only benefit their health and well-being, looking first at what is most natural and physiologically sound. Wearing babies facing inwards is the safest, natural way to carry a baby, and has been practiced for centuries by our ancestors.
By Steve Cannon – Chiropractor – Neurohealth Chiropractic