As baby-wearing is becoming more and more popular, there is no doubt that you have seen someone “wearing” their baby and wondered if this is a new fashion trend or if this fad really does hold benefits for the baby (and the mother too). When comparing baby-wearing with carrying babies in a car seat, the car seat just doesn't stack up.
We must give it to the baby seat companies- they have made it incredibly easy for parents to transport their child in a car seat from the house to the car and to the final destination without ever having to move the baby. This is such an easy thing to do, and with manyfamilies with multiple kids, working parents and crazy schedules rushing from here to there, it is completely understandable as to why parents would choose to carry their kids like this and remain as undisturbed as possible. There are, however, many reasons why pediatricians and chiropractors do not recommend this type of baby carrying. Along with improved emotional connection between mother and baby, lowered anxiety levels in the baby, improvedregulation of baby body temperature to facilitate antibody formation to fight off illness, and facilitated position for breast feeding, the reasons why baby-wearing are so important go all the way down to the structural level.
Structurally, your newborn baby’s spine is in the shape of a big “C”. Your baby’s posture is completely flexed, just as her posture was inside the womb. As your baby’s postural muscles get stronger, they will be able to hold her head up and your baby will develop her proper curve in her neck (along with daily tummy time). As your baby begins to move and crawl around, she will develop the proper curve in her low back. These curves develop over her first year of life and this proper spinal structure is very important to ensure proper development of the spinal cord and nervous system. When babies are properly worn by their parents, they are in a better biomechanical position for spinal and muscular development- while the baby is being worn, gravity will assist in the development of proper muscle tone. In contrast, when babies lie flat on their backs in their car seat for an extended period of time, their spine begins to straighten, rather than develop those three very important curves.
Putting your baby in a car seat for car rides will not have a detrimental effect on your child’s spinal development, however, it is recommended that once you park your car, you should leave the car seat in the car, strap on a carrier and wear your child!
Dr. Jennifer Yakimishyn has additional education and certifications in pregnancy and paediatric care from the International Chiropractic Paediatric Association.
Dodge A. The wearable baby. Pathways Magazine. Summer 2014, Issue 42.