Friday, November 1, 2013

Top Hospital Endorses Baby Bjorn Baby Carriers

Baby carriers in various forms have been in use for centuries. Their great virtue for many cultures was that they allowed a parent to move freely about while keeping a child attached and safe. Obviously, baby carrying allows a child's care-giver to more easily work or travel.Modern baby carriers serve contemporary parents in much the same way. Of course, we aren't out working in the fields or migrating across the Steppes, but modern moms and dads still juggle household and child-rearing tasks all day long. Plus, the rise of Attachment Parenting as a movement among progressive parents reinforced the benefits of parent-child closeness, and modern baby carriers provide a great way to keep baby close without having to hold him in your arms.The benefits of keeping an infant in close physical proximity are many, according to so called "baby-wearing" or attachment parenting advocates, Dr. William Sears most notably. (To be precise, baby wearing is both its own movement and also one of Dr. Sears attachment parenting "ideals." For more information about attachment parenting, see the Ask Dr. Sears website.) Some of the claimed benefits of baby-wearing for both the parent and infant include the following:Mothers' progesterone (mothering hormone) is increased through physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness.Infants who are carried are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone is constant.Infants IQ and brain mass are measurably greater when primal needs are met since babies spend more time in a quiet state of attentive alertness, which is ideal for learning, rather than in a panicked survival mode.Infants are more organized. Parental rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) have balancing and soothing effects on infants.Infants are "humanized" earlier by developing socially. Babies are closer to people and can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and be familiar with body language.Developmental milestones such as learning to walk, talk and toilet train are reached earlier.Contrary to western cultural myths, independence is established earlier.Aggression is diminished.Attachment between child and caregiver is more secure.Decreases risk of positional plagiocephaly ("flat head syndrome") caused by extended time spent in a car seat and by sleeping on the back. Sleeping on the back is recommended to decrease the risk of SIDS. Cranial distortion resulting from non-vehicular time in car seats has shown to be more severe than in children who develop plagiocephaly from back-lying on a mattress. Concern over plagiocephaly has also lead the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that infants "should spend minimal time in car seats (when not a passenger in a vehicle) or other seating that maintains supine positioning. None of the babywearing positions require infants to lie supine while being carried. Infants can even be worn while sleeping, also decreasing sleeping time spent in a supine position.Although there are some who argue that the expectation of increased involvement with children inherent in attachment parenting and babywearing practices may create undo stress on parents, particularly on working mothers, most parents will attest that infants are happiest when close to their parents, especially to their mothers.Given the benefits of babywearing, it comes as no surprise that Baby Bjorn, one of the pioneers of the modern baby carrier, is often recommended to new parents. In fact, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the top ten rated pediatric hospitals in the country according to both Child Magazine and U.S. News and World Report, recently endorsed the use Baby Bjorn baby carriers. Dr. Avroy A. Fanaroff, Chairman of Pediatrics and Chief Medical Officer at Rainbow, wrote the following:Since 1973 BabyBjorn has designed baby carriers that strengthen the infant-child relationship. The intimate fit of all BabyBjorn baby carrier models help baby feel "at one" with the parent. Carrying baby close can ease stress for both parents and child, and a parent's natural movements can calm a fussy baby. BabyBjorn baby carriers help position the baby comfortably and at the same time provide the proper support for the infant's spine and hips.As Dr. Fanaroff notes, all of the Baby Bjorn baby carriers provide the key benefits of babywearing Baby Bjorn's current styles include the still-popular Original Carrier, the Active Carrier with enhanced back support, and the Air Carrier for more comfortable babywearing in warm weather.Beyond the pleasures and benefits of keeping your baby close by using a baby carrier, most parents find that the added mobility and being able to hold baby "hands free" while using a baby carrier are indispensable. I know that among our friends, we've passed one particular Baby Bjorn Original Carriers around for over five years, across four different children. We couldn't live with it.