My Back is Killing Me
Baby-wearing is a proven benefit to the health and well being of your little one. But what do you do if you have a bad or weak back? If you choose to use a baby carrier (and believe me, it IS a choice), it might be time to start thinking and researching good baby carriers. Many baby carrier models are designed to keep baby safe and supportive, but many baby carriers don't take into account the physical stress and weight the baby can put on the person who's wearing the baby-high back pain can be a real bummer. Don't they know that babies are heavy like a ton of bricks and not light like a feather? The straps put unnecessary strain and pressure on the shoulders and back.
Also, baby carriers do not need to cause your back so much pain that you need to take medication. If you're wearing your baby in a good carrier, you'll feel the weight of baby, but the weight should be evenly distributed through your back, hips and shoulders.
The Best Baby Carrier: Boba Baby Carrier
A Few Baby Wearing Tips for Those with High Back Pain
1. Be cautious when LIFTING your little one into the carrier. Lifting is something we do on multiple occasions, everyday.
2. Bend from your knees when lifting your child into your carrier.
3. This sounds silly, but avoid unnecessary twisting or jumping while using the baby carrier.
4. Start out slow with baby wearing, and start out with short walks with the carrier.
5. Babies should be worn close to you and as high up as possible. If you use a Bjorn style carriers, (I don't recommend these, especially if you have back issues), be sure to cross the back below your shoulder blades.
What Types of Carriers to Avoid
It's best to avoid baby carriers that place a lot of stress on your neck, shoulders and mid-back.
The types of carriers that a lot of people complain about are the Bjorn-style carriers (Baby Bjorn, Snuglis ect). The design of this carrier is a pouch with a waistband that baby fits into and the pouch is attached to 2 shoulder straps that go over the shoulders on either side and cross over your back (under the shoulder blades). The straps are all attached by a series of clips.These types of carriers keep the baby facing outwards, away from you or for some Bjorn styles the baby can be facing towards you.
-The strap configuration places the weight of baby on your upper body.
-The waist straps (for the most part) are thin (ie: not a lot of padding), which makes for an uncomfortable journey for you, every time you take your baby for a ride in the baby carrier.
-The baby-facing-outward model (not all Bjorn style models) is not ideal for young babies who can't support their own heads.
Ring slings or conventional slings
A sling is a piece of fabric (padded or unpadded) that you wear across your torso and over one shoulder. Don't get me wrong-slings are great, if you get the right type, and if you use for light-weight use(newborn babies). I remember being excited to use a really cute wrap-style sling for my first born and I brought the sling with me to the hospital. I tried to stuff my "little" newborn (he was 11 lbs) into the sling and he was spilling out of it (probably a sizing issue). My husband just laughed at me. But seriously, even if the sling was the right size, I immediately felt the weight from baby on the one side of my neck and shoulders.
See below for some recommended slings regarded as more comfortable than traditional slings.
Ergo Baby Carrier
Best Baby Carriers for Those with Bad Backs
The ideal baby carrier is one that doesn't put all the weight on certain parts of your body, but one that evenly distributes the weight of the baby. There are a few good carriers on the market that have the same basic structure. Some brands (Ergo) have been around for more than others.
As I mentioned before, you want to have a carrier that holds your baby close to you and as high up as possible. The most widely used and comfortable/supportive style of the best baby carrier on the market seem to be Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs). SSCs borrow from hiking pack technology (baby backpack carriers) and people who use this type of carrier are using it in malls, parks, hiking trails, the zoo (basically they are VERY versatile). This is a quick and structured product that just works seemlessly. People who use SSCs say they are easier on their back since you don't have to tie anything. Another bonus is you can use these carriers from birth all the way up to older toddlers.
Baby Positions for the Ergo
Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs)
Ergo Baby Carrier
The best part about the Ergo baby carrier (besides all the ways you can wear your baby-see photo on the right) is you can wear your baby for much longer because the padded shoulder straps and the padded waistbelt ergonomically distributes the baby's weight between your shoulders and hips. There's also a hood cover that snaps in place and you can wear your newborn in the Ergo, with the use of the infant insert (sold separately).
The Ergo allows your baby to be in a natural seated position, which is actually helpful and good for THEIR hips.
Boba Baby Carrier
This baby carrier also has an ergonomic design, allows your baby to sit in multiple positions and has padded shoulder and waistbelts. This product acts as a baby backpack carrier (just like the Ergo). Some of the "extras" include foot straps for your child and a removable and washable hood cover.
Comparison between the Boba and the Ergo
Baby wrap carriers are great, especially for newborn babies, as they need to be held close to the parent and they need to be supported. A baby carrier wrap offers both of these features.
The Moby has the added benefit of having no straps, buckles or fasteners to deal with. The fabric (which is triple wrapped) goes over your entire back and both shoulders, evenly distributing the weight across your back and hips.
This wrap uses high quality, strong and supportive fabric and it fits all body types,allowing for a custom fit for your body. This baby wrap carrier doesn't put pressure points on your baby and it craddles your baby's head and neck effectively.