Ellie: Touch is so important to a newborn's development.
Melissa: And to the bonding between parent and child.
Melissa: (pretty music)
Ellie: One way that both mom AND dad can keep baby close throughout the day is in an infant carrier.
Ellie & Melissa: We're Ellie and Melissa, the Baby Planners and we're here to help you sort through the options, step by step.
Ellie: There are two basic kinds of carriers for baby's first year: the traditional front carrier; and the sling. For safety reasons, backpacks shouldn't be used until after one year of age.
Melissa: Traditional front carriers are designed for hands free use. Most models come with back and shoulder support – and are a great choice for a heavy baby or a parent with back issues.
Ellie: Newborns should ride in a seated position facing your chest, with their knees as high as their hips.Be sure the model you buy has a padded headrest to support baby's head and neck. As neck strength improves, baby can face forward to see the world as you walk.
Melissa: Slings are hammock-like pieces of material that allow baby to ride at your waist in a comfortable sleeping position.There are a variety of styles and fabric choices available, adjustable to one size fits all.
Ellie: Because it's so quick and easy to access baby, slings are also a great choice for a nursing mother.
Melissa: But slings do require more awareness because there are no safety straps.
Ellie: And there's another issue. There have been cases of very small babies suffocating in slings.
Melissa: That's why the Consumer Product Safety Commission advises parents to be extremely careful.
Ellie: When using slings with infants younger than four months. And remember always keep baby's face uncovered and in view
Melissa: and check on them often.
Ellie: If you decide a baby carrier is a purchase you need, look for the following features:
Melissa: Size and adjustability: you want to be sure the carrier fits both mom and dad well;
Ellie: machine washable — it's guaranteed to get dirty;
Melissa: back support — test various carriers to see what works for you;
Ellie: price — more expensive models will come with lumbar support and extra padding, so don't automatically choose the least expensive option.
Melissa: And above all, be safe. Follow manufacturer's directions carefully.
Ellie: Remember, carriers should never be used while driving, riding a bike, jogging, using exercise equipment, or while cooking.
Melissa: Never get on a step stool or reach for things in high places while wearing a carrier.
Ellie: When you lean over it's important to bend with your knees or use your hand to hold baby securely in place.
Melissa: And watch baby's temperature —
Ellie: studies have shown that babies can become overheated.
Ellie & Melissa: For WebMD, we're Ellie and Melissa, the Baby Planners.