What’s the safest and comfiest carrier for your baby’s hips? Can a carrier or sling damage a baby’s hips?
If you’re researching baby carriers and slings online then you’re likely to come across the idea that certain brands and carriers are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for babies’ hips. But what does that actually MEAN?
Here’s what you need to know.
The ideal position for your baby’s hips, in any carrier or wrap, is for them to be supported across the whole of their seated width; along their thighs; from one ‘knee pit’ to another; with the knees slightly higher up than their bum; in an ‘M’ position. This is the ideal position to support your baby’s developing hip joint.
If you have a family history of hip dysplasia, or if health professionals have any concerns about the development of your baby’s hips…
…then this optimum, M-shaped, ‘spread-squat position is especially important to maintain. In fact, one common treatment for babies with hip concerns is a Pavlik Harness, which holds their legs and hips precisely in this position. You CAN still babywear! We can help you choose a carrier to fit around harnesses – get in touch if you need advice on this.
If there are no particular medical concerns: Please don’t fret too much about The Hip Thing
Even if your carrier does not have a wide base offering lots of support – either because it’s not well designed, or because you haven’t correctly adjusted it – there is no evidence you will have caused your baby any lasting damage!
Dangling legs are simply not IDEAL. For either of you. Your baby will feel much heavier than they need to.
A well-adjusted, wide-based carrier is simply MUCH comfier for your baby – and for you
It will take more of your baby’s weight, holding them snugly into your chest, with no undue pressure on their body. With your centers of gravity matching, they’ll feel LIGHTER. So you don’t get an aching back or shoulders and you’ll be able to carry them for longer.
You never need to force your baby’s hips apart to achieve this position.
Note how far apart your baby’s knees are when you cuddle them against your chest: that’s exactly how wide your sling, wrap or carrier should be.
Here’s my full video explainer and tutorial for the best way to ensure your baby’s hips are fully supported in your carrier.
Read more on healthy hips and babywearing from Dr Rosie Knowles.
Further information from the International Hip Displasia Institute.
Our bestselling baby carriers – all optimised for healthy hip development
Updated March 2022