Babywearing do's and dont's and bag-carrier warning

Bag carriers have been linked to suffocation in babies. They were quite trendy when I was pregnant and I actually own a JJ Cole Premaxx bag carrier. A lot of people were buying them at the time because some celebrity had been seen with one.

We hardly ever used ours, Liam prefers being either in the Mei Tei carrier or in the wrap. I actually never figured how to nurse with the bag carrier ! I guess it was all the better for Liam, who spends a lot of time being worn either by me or his dad. 

But, babywearing should not be blamed for these deaths. Babywearing has been traditionnaly used to soothe, nurse, carry babies all around the world and actually has a number of benefits for the wee ones. If bag-carriers have been associated with infant-deaths, other means of wearing babies have not and are still very safe to use. As Dou-la-la wrote very sensibly about in her blog, these trendy new carriers may just not have been conceived with baby in mind but more to meet a bottom-line:

This is pure opinion on my part, but there's something about all these slings, not just the most notorious Infantino, that bother me, aside from the deeply flawed design. It seems to me that these are inauthentic slings at the core. What the heck do I mean by that vagueness? My gut feeling is that these particular brands were created in a response to a trend, without much if any real research, and without a fundamental belief in babywearing as a practice. I don't think Eddie Bauer executives happened to be reading Dr. Sears and decided to start promoting attachment parenting tools; I don't think Boppy was out for anything more than another product in a different aisle of Babies R Us. I think these companies saw a growing number of consumers purchasing Maya ring slings and Mei Tais and Moby wraps, not to mention the burgeoning legions of WAHMs putting their own lovingly created wares up on etsy, and they decided to try to get in on the action.

So you may as well try a sling designed by a thoughtfull mom instead. There are scores of wonderful options available, with different designs and fabrics. You are sure to find one that will suit you and your baby. Check out our resource section for links to great babywearing gear made by mamas.

The most important thing to recognize is that wearing babies is like everything else: it should be done mindfully and properly. Safety instructions should always be read and followed and common sense should not come as an option! I really loved what Justine at State of the Heart wrote on her blog (emphasis mine):

By all means, let’s please include warnings that your sling is a parenting tool, not a replacement for common sense and observation…but saying that no one should ever use a sling is NOT a reasonable recommendation on the part of the CPSC or Consumer Reports. Shame on them.

As much as I feel for the parents who lost their child in such terrible circumstances, I can't help but notice that more and more parents want to rely on "things" to parent their children for them and then lay all the blame on objects or third-parties when something bad happens. I see it as a dangerous trend in our societies. Babies should not be left unsupervised and putting them in a sling or a carrier entails that you actually keep a very watchful eye on them and on their breathing patterns. 

Whatever the carrier you choose, babywearing does take some practice at first. Try taking a class to learn all the different and safe ways you can carry your baby, or practice with a soft doll to get a hang of it. At first, have a friend or a partner close by who can check that you are doing it properly. That person can also help you hold baby or reposition baby if needed.

Positioning baby in a ring-sling:

More information about sling safety on Sleeping Baby with some great visuals and links.


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