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There has been much interest in the media about carrying our babies. Outside of the variety of car seats (being awkwardly used to carry the baby) and the traditional stroller, many parents are now opting to “wear” their babies.
Numerous baby carriers are now available to choose from. In general, parents are looking for greater insight in choosing the methods of carrying their infants. Here is some insight from the chiropractic perspective.
Structure Determines Function
In chiropractic we frequently say, “structure determines function;” primarily, the spine determines the function of the nervous system. In chiropractic we recognize that the nervous system controls all body systems. Therefore, a nervous system stressed by a compromised structure will affect the body’s overall ability to be healthy. One significant way our spinal structures become impaired is through irregular, repetitive postures. New parents need to be aware that the means they choose to carry their babies has postural effects on both themselves and their children.
Baby Carrying Overview
Car seats are for the car! The frequent use of car seats as carriers outside of the car are known to cause undue postural distortions to both the mother and baby. Just watch a mother struggling to remove the seat from the car—it is almost impossible to get directly in front of it when lifting it from car and the torsion and twisting to the spine during this struggle spells potential injury. Once she finally gets the seat out of the car, her body posture is forced to lean to the side she is carrying the seat on. As the baby gains weight, this task becomes more and more difficult. Once again, this repeated spinal stress could lead to injury.
Strollers seem to be most convenient for the mother’s body, but they do not allow contact between mother and baby. It is well known and documented that close contact between baby and parent is important for babies’ physical, emotional, social, and neurological development.
The phrase “baby wearing” is being used to describe the revived custom of carrying infants in cloth carriers on the parent’s body. There are numerous benefits to baby wearing for both the parents and the infant. From a chiropractic wellness perspective, we recognize that baby wearing contributes to a healthy neurological development for the baby in many ways. Two of the most significant benefits are parent–baby contact and varied baby positioning.