Tight and snugly held to you
In view at all times
Close enough to kiss
Keep baby’s chin off chest
Support baby’s back.
This is my summary of the TICKS guidelines for safe babywearing – you can find a more complete description here, but they’re the essentials.
Then today I see a magazine cover which contravenes all of these except I (in view at all times) and S (well, she IS supporting the baby’s back with her hand).
Why is this so terrible? Why is this worth jumping up and down? Because every new mother is looking for help. Every new mother wants to make their transition into parenthood as smooth as possible (because -let’s face it – we all get so many horror stories).
In the last two years babywearing has grown massively in popularity (trust me on this!) and more carriers hit the market every day. It’s because of the wide variety of carriers and the isolation many moms find themselves facing (we don’t have the same physical village community that nurtured breastfeeding and babywearing ‘education’ generations ago) that we NEED clear and accurate information.
Don’t push a bag sling on a new mama. Don’t show her a bad carry. Provide her with the most appropriate carrier for her circumstances, whether that be a pouch sling for her sitting baby, a ring sling for her newborn, a stretchy wrap for her small infant, a bjorn, beco, ergo, kinderpack, mei tai, tula, or a simple piece of cloth that can be tied in an endless assortment of ways (why yes, woven wraps, I AM looking at you). Education if vital – who knew that stretchy wraps AREN’T appropriate for premature babies or those with respiratory issues? Soft structured carriers are wonderful – AFTER your baby has gained head control. Not every carrier is okay for every circumstance.
We do need to hold the media responsible for the images they publish and provide feedback so that informed and aware parents can enable others to acquire these skills.
We do need to help journalists, photographers and editors understand that their information is being taken as gospel and correct them when they get it wrong. Most of all, we need to help each other. Don’t do nothing.
** The publication featuring said cover image has been contacted for comment.