AIRWAY is vital. Babies’ heads are heavy and it takes time for their muscle strength and tone to develop enough to hold up their heads and support their own airways; until then, it is our job as parents to be as caring and careful as we can. A baby’s head should be resting against the caregiver’s chest, with the windpipe straight, not curled over. A good guide is at least two fingers being able to fit between baby’s chin and his chest. Air should be able to circulate freely and the face should not be obscured by fabric, or buried within cleavage. Baby’s cheek can rest against parent’s chest, and hands should be accessible to the mouth for sucking if needed (and not trapped down the side of the sling)
BODY POSITION is important to protect the airway as well. The upper body should be supported against parent’s chest, to ensure no slumping (this is why carriers should be tight, to make sure that babies do not roll up into a ball). The pelvic tilt into the M shape with knees higher than bottom will help support baby’s back as well as being very comfortable. The back of the head should be supported where possible to avoid backwards lolling. The pelvic tilt and using a rolled muslin cushion can be helpful if babies resist head support. See below for diagrams of the correct shaping.
COMFORT comes last – I would rather see a child in an uncomfortable carrier that was safe, than fast asleep slumped into a tight ball or folded over in a cradle carry, however comfortable it is. However, you and your child are likely to enjoy and appreciate a carrier that is pleasant to use, fits well and does not cause back pain.
(With thanks to Sheffield Sling Surgery)
When you come to the sling library, we will show you have to position your baby safely and comfortably. At first, we will show you using one of our weighted sling dolls so that you can practise before trying with your own child.
You will receive one of these leaftlets reminding you about sling safety. It goes over the "ABCs" and also reminds you about the correct clothing in a sling. There is also a section that goes over what should and shouldn't be done whilst wearing a sling- for example, whilst our friends in the Netherlands often wear a sling whilst cycling, we cannot promote this in the UK as the cycling infrastructure is not there. The general rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't do it whilst holding a baby in your arms, you shouldn't do it whilst wearing a sling.
We will not leave you unsupported once you arrive home. When you are with us, we will discuss which baby carrying videos are best for your needs- whether you are interested in learning how to breastfeed in a sling or need to remember how to adapt a sling for your child's needs, we will send you an email within 24 hours of leaving us.
Please get in touch if you have any queries about baby carrying or the sling library.
The Big Red Bus Club Charlton Park Road London SE7 8UB
10:30 – 12:00