Navigating your way through the ‘language of baby’ can be tricky enough, but reading the recent news reports about babies being suffocated while in a sling just throws a whole new anxiety curve ball into the mix. What’s a safe sling to use? What’s the correct position to carry baby in? Who better to ask than Christine Kininmonth, founder of baby carrier distribution company Fertile Mind, trained Babywearing consultant and Australia’s board representative on the international Baby Carrier Industry Alliance.
When it comes to slings, Christine admits she is a fierce advocate for sling safety and educating mums.”I’m a bit like a reformed smoker,” explains Christine. “I am so passionate about something I did badly, and that mistake was dangling my babies around my crotch thinking I was some hotshot earth mama. Now I know that carrying a baby correctly means mimicking ‘in-arms’ carrying position, or to parrot the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance motto, ‘The best place for a baby is in a parent’s arms where they are Visible and Kissable.”
Megan Gale recently posted pics of herself and her newborn son, River Hampson, saying “Finally got around to trying out my @hugabubcarriers. It is like learning how to do origami… But once you have it on and bub inside OH MY GOD. Such a relief and a load off my shoulders, arms and back plus it’s almost like having him in my tummy again! Also, I have my hands freed up to get more stuff done!” Check out the range of hug-a-bub wrap carriers at Fertile Mind.
How to hug-a-bub standing position. Visit Fertile Mind for the full range.
Like Megan, many parents want to carry their baby, but are confused about correct positioning. “Nearly 2000 parents took part in our annual Babywearing in Australia Survey (13) survey, with 70% using a carrier or sling saying it was primarily for ‘convenience’ and ‘comfort, while ‘health benefits’ for baby came third – all great reasons to wear your baby,” explains Christine. “However, 50% of respondents said that information about optimal and safe Babywearing was ‘not adequate’ in Australia, and that midwives, doulas, lactation consultants and early childhood centres should provide that service. That’s why Fertile Mind, along with many others in the Babywearing industry, are trying to achieve this.” Here’s Christine’s sling safety tips….
First to sleep wins 40 Winks…. Mum, Dad and Bub having a lazy Sunday arvo siesta in their hug-a-bub wrap carriers. Available at Fertile Mind.
The five most important things you need to know about Babywearing:
- It’s so, so good for your baby. “Carrying your baby is among the very best things you can do to kick start all that potential, and the benefits are medically proven,” explains Christine. It’s also great for mum and dad. Search some of the hundreds of articles on ‘Babywearing’ and be amazed.”
- It’s easy to do it right. “Your baby should be in the same position as if you were holding him in your arms,” explains Christine. “A simple check – embrace your baby in your arms. If it’s a good carrier worn correctly, they shouldn’t move much.”
- Bub should be Visible and Kissable. “Ensure you can kiss your baby, and can see your baby’s face at all times.” suggests Christine.
- Keep your baby’s chin off their chest. “Avoid a horizontal ‘cradle’ carry,” advises Christine. “This is easily achieved if the baby is carried in the upright position, close up against the wearer.”
- Stay alert. “Attend to and check on baby often, especially those under 4 months of age,” says Christine.
The T.I.C.K.S Rule for Safety Wearing.
The benefits don’t stop there: Here’s a few more reasons slings rock for your little bundle…
Babies love to be picked up…
“We all know they don’t like to be put down, right?!” explains Christine. “So have you ever stopped to wonder why? Baby guru Ulrike Hoewer, from Germany’s prestigious Baby Carrying School, has collated medical research* to show that humans are ‘clinging mammals’. Unlike a ‘hider’ (think kitten) who cries when taken from a nest, or a ‘follower’ (think foal) who cries when they can’t see their mum, we ‘clingers’ cry when we are detached from our parent.”
Physios and chiropractors love baby carriers…
“The Hip Dysplasia Institute is leading the charge on getting parents to choose their baby carrier or sling wisely to promote strong, healthy hip development,” explains Christine. “A good baby carrier will seat the baby upright in an ‘M’ or froggy position, with baby’s knees around their belly button height, and their bottom in a nice deep seat. A good bone structure early in life is a great gift you can give your child.”
Perfect positioning…. Check out the manduca baby carrier range here.
How has Fertile Mind worked to raise sling awareness?
“We’re part of a huge, growing band of medical and health professionals that includes Government and not-for-profit organisations, other Babywearing carrier companies and tens of thousands of passionate Babywearers, who are united in their wish to see more parents carrying their babies safely,” explains Christine. “This year we’re spearheading the formation of the Australian Babywearing Association, with links to the latest events, training, news and research on Babywearing from around the world.
Fertile Mind’s proud to be a Trained Partner with one of the world’ leading Baby Carrying Schools, and we bring out their founder and expert trainer Ulrike Hoewer each year to educate Australia’s growing group of Babywearing consultants.
We’re also a long time member of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance, which works with many countries to promote to and educate parents on Babywearing – we’d love to hear from any midwives or early childhood centres who’d like to find out more
Joking around at the Fertile Mind Babywearing staff training days with (from left to right) with Babywearing expert Ulrike Hoewer from Germany, Fertile Mind staffer Dallas Gentilcore and Christine. Fertile Mind’s graphic designer Michelle Burns in the background.
For more information about safe Babywearing see:
- Baby Carrier Industry Alliance
- Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Product Safety
- Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Baby Slings
*Source: Ulrike Hoewer, Die Trageschule Dresden, “Sling Safety Workshops, Australia” 2014.
Christine Kininmonth is the founder of baby carrier distribution company Fertile Mind, a trained Babywearing consultant and Australia’s board representative on the international Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. Fertile Mind is a leading online baby, maternity and post preg clothing.