As human babies are the least developed of all mammals at birth, they require the most care. Carrying your baby in a sling or baby carrier promotes all areas of an infant’s growth and development. Because they are absolutely dependent on us parents & caregivers, it's imperative that your newborn is positioned safely in slings and baby carriers.
IMPORTANT: a baby with chin-to-chest is at risk of positional asphyxia, when a baby’s airflow is reduced. Preemies are at an increased risk due to their under-development. Positional asphyxia can also occur in car seats & strollers, if an infant’s head slumps forward and their neck muscles are not strong enough to pull up their head or they are asleep.
Key points for safe sling/ baby carrier positioning (check often!):
- baby’s head at your chest.
- make sure you can get 2 fingers under their chin.
- ensure their is no fabric covering their face.
- should be able to kiss baby’s head (if not then your sling/ carrier is too loose/ low).
- monitor their breathing- if your baby’s breathing sounds irregular, remove them from the sling or carrier immediately.
After the birth of my second baby, I had new insight on how to ensure a floppy newborn is positioned safely in a sling. I learned the only way to get a brand new baby into a safe position in a sling is to start from a burp position with baby at your shoulder.
TUMMY TO TUMMY (LEGS OUT)
TUMMY TO TUMMY (LEGS IN)
A ring sling is ideal for the upright tummy-to-tummy position as you can tighten the rails to provide head support and bring the baby high on your chest. Notice that the baby’s face is clear of the fabric and can breathe optimally.
This helpful article clearly illustrates how to position a newborn safely in both stretchy wraps & woven wraps.
Soft Structured Carriers have generally been recommended for babies 3 mos+, since some SSC’s require a baby’s legs to straddle the parents torso with their legs out of the carrier. New babies will not find this comfortable until 3-4 mos due to the width of the carrier seat.
Innovatively, many new SSC brands have uniquely adjustable seats so that both a newborn & older baby can be legs out in an ergonomically correct position like the Tula Free-to-Grow (pictured above).
Some SSC’s are designed with an infant insert like the Tula Standard, Manduca or Boba 4G. An infant insert allows the baby to have their legs “froggied” inside the carrier. The insert also brings the baby higher in the carrier so the baby is supported & positioned safely for good airflow.