Is baby’s airway free?
This is the most important thing to check. Is baby’s face covered by fabric or pushed deep into your chest? Is baby’s chin pressed against their chest? Be sure to frequently check that baby is able to breathe freely.
You wouldn’t hold baby in your arms in a way which could compromise baby’s breathing, would you? The same applies for using a carrier. Baby should ideally be upright or seated sideways. A slight recline is ok but no more than 45 degrees. The sling or carrier should be tight to avoid baby slumping.
You should not carry baby under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription medicines which may inhibit you or impair your judgment in any way. Do not use a carrier when participating in any form of strenuous physical activity.
It is currently against the law to use a baby carrier on a bicycle in the UK. A baby carrier should never be used in place of a car seat.
Risk of mother falling over
If a mother was to fall with baby in sling, she will have her hands free to brace herself. Appropriate footwear should be worn when carrying babies, and parents should be wary of their surroundings, possible obstacles and the terrain.
Risk of mother falling asleep
There is a risk of baby moving into a position which may compromise its breathing. If mother is asleep, she may not be aware of baby’s shift in position. At Sling Babies we do not recommend parent’s sleeping with a baby in a carrier.
Baby Carrying and breastfeeding are two skills which should be mastered individually before trying to combine them. Breastfeeding in a sling involves moving baby from the optimal upright position, to a less ideal cradle position. Risks of the cradle position include suffocation, closed airway and fabric covering baby’s face. It is not recommended that mothers use a sling to feed ‘hands free’. It is possible to use the sling to support baby’s body, and mothers arm to support baby’s head.
Unless you live in an extremely cold part of the world, there is no need to layer baby up with things like snowsuits. Your body with help to regulate baby’s temperature but to do that, you need to be in close contact, not separated by several layers of clothing. During the summer months, a simple vest will suffice for baby, with the added protection of suncream and a sun hat. In the winter months, normal indoor clothes plus extra protection on hands and feet, along with a warm hat. Big winter coats are not ideal for carrying babies. You can buy a variety of coats and fleece jackets designed for baby carrying which go over you and baby.
Babies with Additional Needs
Extra care should be taken with babies who were born prematurely, with a low birth weight or with any other medical conditions. Your health care professional will be able to advise you about carrying a baby with additional needs.