What makes a good baby carrier?
Since there are now so many different carriers on the market, it is difficult without prior knowledge to recognize which carrier now generally allows an ergonomic posture for baby and wearer and which carrier is perhaps not quite optimal. However, I would like to give you a few suggestions on what you can look out for. If a baby carrier does not meet a certain criterion, it does not mean that the carrier is bad or even harmful. In the end, it doesn't matter how it is worn, parents and children always, and really always, benefit when both feel comfortable with it.
1. adjustable bar width
In order for a carrier to be able to provide the so-called Anhock-Spreiz-Haltung (ASH for short), the fabric of the carrier must sit in the hollow of the child's knees. By the way, the " Anhock-Spreiz-Haltung " is the optimal position for the development of the child's hips. In this position, the baby's knees are slightly crouched (at about belly button height) and the legs are spread apart. To ensure that the fabric continues to sit in the back of the knees even as babies grow, and can also be made smaller beforehand so that it fits at all, an adjustable bar width is important. There are several ways to do this. Most carriers do this with Velcro, some have cords or additional inserts to adjust.
2. sufficient back and neck support
A baby carrier should provide adequate support for the baby's back, neck and head. To do this, it is important that the child cannot "sag" to the side. Sometimes, however, the problem here is that the carrier has not been put on tightly enough. At the same time, the back should be able to round in the carrier, not to be confused with a pathological hunchback. For this, the fabric must be soft, but a special"sling fabric" is not necessary. The head must also be (be able to be) supported well enough, even if the children actually already have secure head control. During sleep, not even an adult can hold the head. It is often advantageous to be able to adjust the width of the neck, but there should be no pressure at any point, such as from a drawstring. 3.
3. little pressure on the back
The spine of a newborn baby straightens gradually with motor development. Therefore, when buying a carrier, care should be taken to ensure that as little pressure as possible is exerted on the child's back. In practice, this means that the straps should not be attached to the back, but to the abdominal belt. This allows the back to take a healthy curve, as already mentioned above. This point is one of the most common points that the"carry police" accuse of being harmful. As a result, parents are sometimes told very rudely that they are harming their child with the Manduca or similar carriers. This is not the case! If you have such a carrier at home, you are welcome to use it even before sitting age. In addition, it cannot be said across the board that every baby carrier puts pressure on the baby's back when the straps are attached to the back. This always has to be looked at individually.
4. face to the wearer
In contrast to the point above with the buckles or straps that are attached to the back part, I find less potential for discussion on this point. It is important that babies and children are carried facing us, i.e. the person carrying them. This is the only way to allow an ergonomic posture of the back and hips. Further, at first we think that it is very nice when our children see a lot, but we do not notice fast enough how quickly they overstimulate. They do not have any possibility to retreat when carried in this direction. When they are carried on their backs, they naturally also look forward, but they can also snuggle up at the back of their necks at any time. By the way, carrying on the arm with the face to the front is less of a problem, because very few parents can do this for more than 10 minutes without support. Carrying face forward I think is fine for a brief moment in a quiet environment. However, care should be taken to ensure adequate support and no overstimulation.
5. comfortable for the wearer
An important and often underestimated point is the comfort for the wearer and unfortunately I can't find this in any forum or parents group. Everybody feels something different as comfortable, has other preferences and proportions and there only helps to try it out. This can be done in a baby carrier consultation or in the form of a rental package from an online store. In large cities, there are sometimes also stores, such as Helden-Tragen in Augsburg, which have various recommendable carrying aids in their range.
6. quality, e.g. without harmful substances
Actually, this point should be above all other points before, because it goes without saying that a baby carrier should be free of harmful substances. The fabrics should be dyed so that they are saliva resistant. Buckles should be tested that there are no qualitative defects that jeopardize the safety of wearing. Furthermore, the fabrics should be free of synthetic fibers if possible, i.e. of natural origin and little treated. These points are now considered very carefully, not only by the manufacturers themselves, but also by various testing agencies, so that we as users no longer have to pay attention to it as a main point.
Based on these criteria, you can get a first impression of whether a baby carrier is suitable for you or not. Unfortunately, the comfort of the wearer in particular can only be determined by trial and error.