All parents know that babies are fragile and so carrying them the right way is just as important as caring for them as they grow up. But not everyone knows the lasting effects mishandling can have on their long-term health.
Chiropractor Dr. Jason Hare enumerates some of the conditions he's encountered related to not carrying babies properly.
Also known as congenital hip dislocation, it occurs when the hip joint has not formed normally, or when it is too shallow, making the femur (thighbone) prone to dislocation.
Dr. Hare believes swaddling makes this more likely. His advice? Don't swaddle their legs to tight and straight before carrying them because it hinders the hip joint from forming naturally and normally.
Swaddle your baby's legs a bit loosely, he advises, which is contrary to popular practice but he believes it is worth noting. When carrying your baby, make sure their knees are flexed and turned outward, or what is more popularly known as the "frog position." Let your baby wrap their legs naturally, digging their toes into your waist or torso, with their knees flexed.
This is a serious spinal cord injury due to constant stress that causes fractures. It is a painful lifelong condition, says Dr. Hare, which may eventually require surgical intervention.
To avoid this, refrain from placing your baby in "rigid high backed baby carriers." Yes, you can still carry them upright as long as you use a carrier that encourages their spine to be curve outward instead of inward. A spine curved outward is normal for babies under the age of 6 months.
So what is the right way to carry your baby?
Use a soft fabric carrier, like slings, or wraps, but you still know best! Choose a carrier that's safe and comfortable for you and your little one. Just keep these important things in mind as you hold your baby close to your heart.
- Keep your baby's hips in a position that encourages their hip joint to develop naturally
- Make sure the head is supported softly
- Support the lower spine's natural curvature
Here are some things to avoid, according to Pure Chiropractic.
- Don't place babies in jumping chairs attached to a door frame. You might be subjecting your baby's spine to assume a weight bearing position before it's fully prepared.
- Minimise carrying your little one facing outwards because facing in helps their hip development and it allows their neck to assume the best sleeping poistion.
- Avoid baby carriers that let your baby's legs dangle freely. Make sure it's soft and secure for good hip development.
- Be on the lookout for "hip clicking," leg length difference, or uneven skin folds and contact your paediatrician immediately if hip dysplasia is suspected.
*Republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.