You probably have a strong instinct to hold your baby a lot, especially newborns. That’s a great instinct.
For one, it’s a nice way to limit exposure to viruses. Other people aren’t breathing on him/her. Holding your baby also keeps him/her warmer and is calming. Infants thrive on this contact for many reasons. No need to worry that it’s spoiling your baby.
However, it can be tiring. ‘Wearing’ your baby is more comfortable. It’s better for your posture because the weight is centered. Your hands are free to do other things. The continual checking of your infant is woven into your daily life more easily.
- Here are general guidelines for safely ‘wearing’ your baby.
• Place your baby belly to belly.
• Tuck your chin and kiss the top of your baby’s head.
• Check that you can see your baby’s whole face.
• Your baby is resting against the firmness of your sternum.
Those points confirm that your baby is positioned high enough and there’s ample space for their airway. Make the carrier snug so that the baby isn’t sagging outward or down and you’re good to go… or stay.
A carrier makes it easier and safer for another person to share the holding. Two families I met had partners in wheelchairs. Each benefitted from the front carrier.
One father had limited arm strength and could not hold the baby by himself. With help, they arranged the front carrier and baby. He was able to sit and hold their infant for hours. That meant a lot to the whole family.
The other father had good arm strength. He could put the front carrier on and carry their daughter throughout the day.
One grandmother was concerned she was too weak to hold the infant. Wearing a front carrier, while seated, worked well. It was more rewarding and safer than watching the baby in a car seat.
Please note that a car seat on the floor is not safe for sleeping babies. That’s because it is positioned differently than in your car. The problem is that the baby’s head tends to tilt down and that can obstruct their airway. Swing chairs are not safe for babies to sleep in, for the same reason.
Any carrier, sling, sofa or seat that allows your baby’s head to slump forward, chin to tuck down, can obstruct their breathing. The important fact is that babies need to sleep on a firm, flat surface with nothing blocking their airway.
Let’s return to what is simplest and safest.
• Wear your baby in a secure front carrier.
• Put your baby on a firm, flat surface to sleep. The floor is fine. You are fine!
Now…take a deep breath.
Wearing your baby is safe and comfortable. Enjoy holding your baby a lot, it is an excellent instinct.
Congratulations on your new baby, may you enjoy a safe and healthy new year.
Happy Birthday, KSD (that handsome baby in the photo.)