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BabyBjorn is the only thing I can get the hang of! But what are the objections to it?(9 Posts)
I remember hearing and reading that BabyBjorns are not good for babies' hips/spines, but am hoping someone can shed more light on the subject. Given that the company's website says they're approved by "medical experts", the NCT sell them, and that either through savvy marketing or generally being well-known they're mentioned in films and pictured in babycare books, they can't be that bad, surely?
I ask because I have a six-month old son and the only carrier I have really got to grips with is the Bjorn. Whilst it has not been comfortable for me for a few months due to his weight he seems to like it. I have a classic but am getting a Comfort one.
Unfortunately I really regret I didn't do much research into slings before he was born. It's mostly through doing some reading since then that I have learned about the whole philosophy of "babywearing" and that sling can be used as a verb.
I have since tried a Wilkinet (16 steps of instructions for the front carry, vague instructions about straps - which strap? blurry youtube videos, but I'd like to try the back carry), Calin Bleu wrap (can't seem to get it tight enough or in the right position), Baba sling (too much weight on one shoulder). I feel safer with things with buckles and just want something that I can get on off really easily and quickly if, for example, I want to pop to the shop or he gets fractious.
I don't know the details of why BB's are not considered good for spines (some vague memory that its about all the weight going through the baby's pelvis - most slings get them in the frog position which spreads the weight). Anyway I've tried (and have been lent) various slings calin bleu (lovely but a faff - well for me who finds tying her own shoe laces hard!!!), a close - again nice but my 6mth old feels a bit insecure when I lean forward and I've had another which I can't remember the name of came in two parts - anyway DS1 never felt secure it. Currently I've been lent a patapum - its very simple - has buckles and feels v.secure and comfy - not especially pretty but so far seems good and not dissimilar from a BB I suspect except that it gets the baby in the froggy position.
Hope that ramble is of some help.
I have an ergobaby, which has lots of buckles, nothing to tie. It holds the baby in the "spread-squat" or frog position, so they are not carrying all their weight on their crotch, and their back is curved in the right sort of way. I goes on back or front, i've only used on back, i used a wrap sling on the front when dd was smaller.
I feel sad when i see babies in the "wrong" position, just hanging from their parents, especially facing outwards. It doesn't seem as snuggly and close as a frog style one.
I think the objections to a babybjorn has to do with the way the legs 'hang'... Ie, the weight should be spread out so the legs look more 'frog like' (like it would be if you were hand carrying your baby, with his legs around your waist). Having said that we have a babybjorn and my DS (who is now 3.5 years old) was in it for a long time (till he was 2?) and my DD is in it when daddy carries her (she's 8 months). we have another carrier, which is the Connecta and it's lovely. It's got the buckles like the babybjorn, but carries the baby's weight evenly (frog-like spread)... so best of both worlds!!
There is some info here on Mass Produced Carriers (ie. Baby Bjorn-style carriers) and Spinal Stress.
There are so many different slings available, and you will find one that works for you and is more comfortable than the Baby Bjorn. The fact you are finding it uncomfortable already, and your LO is only 6mo says it all.
To put it in context, I can still comfortably, and I honestly do mean comfortably, carry my 35lb little girl for 4hrs+ at a time. We use woven wraps which, once I learnt how to tie them properly, have proved to be the best type of sling for us.
However, there are lots of different styles. Plenty of them are similar to the Baby Bjorn in looks, but have proper back support for you, and a wide seat for LO. Have a look at things like the Ergo, Manduca, Beco, Patapum... All these are quick and easy buckle carriers. All of these will be more comfortable than a Baby Bjorn. All of these have back carry options. I don't think they are any more expensive than the "Comfort" model of Baby Bjorn
Do you have a Slingmeet (www.slingmeet.co.uk) nearby that you can attend and try some of these carriers out?
TBH, I've only ever come across the one paper written by scientists to say why they're thought to be potentially bad for developing spines, but I think that the fact that they're horrible for your own back is reason enough to avoid them and their ilk! Babies seem more comfy if they're 'seated' in a sling or carrier - with something supporting under their bum from the back of their knee to the back of the other knee. If you hold a small baby tummy to tummy against you, they usually assume this sort of posture - legs cocked up like a frog's. The best carriers are thought to be those that mimic the way you would hold your baby in your own arms, and few people would dangle a baby with legs straight down. And also, BBs can only be used a few months - other soft structured carriers can be used for years and in different ways.
If you like the 'ease' of putting on a BB, try a soft structured carrier like a Bondalino, a Beco, Ergo, Manduca or COnnecta. I haven't worked my way through my local slingmeet's SSC holdings yet, but so far I like the Bondalino and not keen on Beco, as it has too many buckles for me and isn't as comfy. Think of using a Mai Tai too, if someone can lend you one - you like buckles but might like straps too!
Does anyone actually know of any babies affected badly in real life by being in a babybjorn type sling? Or is it all just hypothesising?
For what it's worth I used (and sometimes still use) a Babybjorn Synergy. DD was very happy from early on, facing in and with her legs up. I've pretty much always had her facing in as she seems more comfortable that way and it's easier for her to sleep. The Syngery spreads the weight for you across your wasist, DD is now 10.5 kg and I can still carry her for quite some time in it. It's also easily adjusted for DH.
halfdrunktea, I was told (on a forum, so no, it wasn't an expert opinion) that it was the facing out position in the Bjorn that might be a bit spine-unfriendly.
All this 'hanging by the crotch' thing never made sense to me with DS facing inwards in a Bjorn Active (which I found very comfortable). He wasn't hanging by his crotch at all. He was sort of sitting, as he would when I carried him with my hand under his bum, and his legs hanging down either side.
I suppose I would like to see some proper research based evidence that carrying a child facing inwards or outwards in a Bjorn style carrier was harmful. Or potentially harmful. It's something that gets repeated so often (as I have done here to start with), but 'someone told me' isn't what I'd base other decisions in life on.
I had a quick read of CosmicMouse's link, and it's interesting, but then the writer says this - "When a baby wants to be more upright to see the world around him (usually around age 4 to 5 months), the carrier should allow him to sit cross-legged, so his weight is dissipated through his legs and hips, as opposed to the style that has the legs hanging down, where the young spine has to bear the entire weight."
I can't imagine carrying DS in a cross legged position, upright. Maybe I've misunderstood, but he'd've got very cramped and unhappy like that.
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