If like me you were one of the many people who rushed out and bought the WHOLE baby section of your local department store when you found out you were preggers, without doing a whole lot of research beforehand, then you may have ended up with a baby-carrier that doesn’t quite meet *puts on glasses and clears throat* ‘safe baby-wearing standards’.
Narrow based baby-carriers, such as the popular, big brand Baby Bjorn are deemed controversial in the baby-wearing world. Evidently these are often referred to in the healthcare profession by the term ‘crotch dangler’ (actual LOL – sounds like a fun name for a penis if you ask me) and are not considered ideal in terms of comfort or support for either baby or the wearer. Despite their flaws, these willy-dubbed carriers are widely available everywhere and are often the first carrier an expectant parent tries. That’ll be me then. The not-so-proud owner of a second-hand Baby Bjorn crotch dangler…
While they are not actively harmful when used to carry babies with healthy hips, there is some evidence that this type of carrier can increase the risk of hip dysplasia due to the non-supportive narrow ‘seat’ this type of carrier offers.
As the International Hip Dysplasia Institute explains on their website, it can take a while before babies adjust to life with more space, along with other more sciencey stuff:
After birth, it takes several months for the joints to stretch out naturally. Babies that have been in the breech (bottom first) position may need even more time to stretch out naturally. If the hips are forced into a stretched-out position too early, the ball is at risk of permanently deforming the edges of the cup shaped socket (hip dysplasia) or gradually slipping out of the socket altogether (hip dislocation). Hip dysplasia or dislocation in babies is not painful so this may go undetected until walking age and may also result in painful arthritis during adulthood. – I.H.D.I.
Soft structured carriers like the popular Ergo or Babyhawk offer a wider seat and better weight distribution, but can be a little on the pricey side, even for a second-hand bargain hunter like myself.
10 minutes here and there in a crotch dangler probably isn’t going to do any long term damage to your baby’s hip-a-roos, but if you use your baby carrier a lot because, just hypothetically speaking, you cant be bothered getting your pram out of the car every ruddy time you need to go and get some bread/tampons/ice cream or whatevs, then it’s worthwhile ensuring your little lovegoblin is secured comfortably in a way that isn’t going to cause them walking like John Wayne for the foreseeable future.
So my baby-wearing friends, if like me, you ended up with a crotch dangler (starting to grow on you isn’t it), fear not, the internet is here to save you.
- Take a wide-ish scarf and wrap around baby’s bum from knee to knee, lifting up those legs, then pull the top of scarf up to their armpits and tie securely behind your back. It really couldn’t be simpler. You can do it under or on top of the carrier
Any easy rule to remember is that you want the knees bent (baby’s not yours) and hugging your body, with their knees higher than their poo pouch. Your baba should be kicking their legs out to your sides, not kicking you in your lady-space. They’ve already done enough damage there, thank you very much.
Ta-da, money saved for something else you probably don’t need! You are welcome.