Spinal Development - The First Stage

If one can understand the simple process of the developing spine, that knowledge alone will help a parent support their baby when using a carrier.

There are four stages to your baby's spine development; this blog is about the first stage; the cervical spine. 

At birth,your baby's spine is shaped like the letter C.  This is the primary curve.  As your baby moves about, his spine  develops secondary curves.   Secondary curves are necessary so that our spines can balance/distribute the weight of our body.  An adult spine has two secondary curves that give it an S-like shape.

As your baby begins to lift his head, the muscles of the neck become stronger.  The strengthening of the muscles against gravity are what help to change the shape of the cervical spine (the first seven vertebrae). Cervical spinal development is complete when your baby can rest on his forearms and hold his head up without assistance as seen is the diagram.

But before completion of this stage of spinal development, it is of particular importance to ensure that you support your baby's head. And when using a carrier, your baby is in a position that is safe and supportive.  Although some suggest using a carrier in the cradle position (the manner in which to breastfeed a baby),  it is not the safest way to carry your child.   The cradle position could restrict your baby's airflow and the position does not support hip development

To carry your baby in the most comfortable and safest way, wear your baby facing you, vertically, with his head resting on your heart and with his chin off of his chest.  By helping him to keep his chin off of his chest, it is a sure way to know his airway is open.

Vertical positioning not only offers your baby a safer option but it requires your baby to balance his head against gravity which strengthens the neck muscles required for sitting.  Vertical positioning also helps with the stimulating the vestibular system, the system responsible for balance, proprioception, coordination, muscle tone and more.

 

Supportive Babywearing

hip health

 Do you see the similarity in the leg position of these two babies? The baby on the right is wearing Pavlik Harness - a medical device used to treat Hip Dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket. To heal the hip joint, the Pavlik Harness is worn by the baby for approx 6-12 weeks full-time and the success rate is quite high. The Pavlik Harness allows the femur (thigh bone) to align with the hip joint and it keeps the joint secure. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to carry a baby in this healing position all of the time?

Posted on November 13, 2016 and filed under Development & Safety, Babywearing, Parenting.

The Fetal Tuck

Fetal Tuck

This naturally flexed position of a newborn baby is called the fetal tuck. This position reduces pressure on an infant's hips and spine and is naturally calming to your child. To promote your baby's development, allow much of her time to be spent in the fetal tuck position. To aid you with this, use a supportive baby carrier or, simply hold your baby in your arms connecting your heart to hers.

Back Carrying a Toddler through India

From conversations I've had with parents of toddlers, many view babywearing as something for only babies, but little do they know that during the walking stage, a carrier may be their best friend. Initially, we use a carrier to bond with our babies and to give them a home on our bodies to grow. Carrying our children also allows us to take care of ourselves, do tasks in the household, or attend to our other children's needs. However, when our babies become toddlers, their curious nature and their quick little steps keep us constantly chasing after them, so we need to keep them safe.  At this stage, a carrier is very helpful.

When my daughter was two and a half, I decided to venture to India. Traveling alone was not easy for me because I had a lot of weight to move around. However, wearing my daughter on my back and not having to think about her whereabouts kept my sanity. I just had to endure the trying times, and I tell you, strength training saved me. However, my greatest feat was carrying my toddler while climbing 600 steps to reach the top of the Monkey Temple.  I wanted to meditate on the sunrise and get a bird's eye view of my beautiful surroundings.  So after climbing for 30 minutes, we arrived in time for the 6:00 a.m. sunrise.  It was breathtaking to witness the magnificence that surrounded us.  Filled with beautiful green rice fields and huge boulders, Hampi, Karnataka, holds a deep, peaceful energy and a special place in my heart.

Back then I had not developed the Helina Baby Carrier, nor was it even a concept in my mind. But the experience of carrying my daughter is what inspired me to create the baby carrier.

If I never had a carrier or dismissed babywearing as only for babies, my trip to India would not have been so adventurous. Not only did it allow me to discover India with my little girl but using a carrier made life more convenient for me especially when she fell asleep or did not feel well.

If you are considering traveling with your young one(s), or a toddler who may be perfectly capable of walking on his or her own, bring a carrier. You won't regret it.