Firstly, I get the irony. I am about to say I don’t really like blogs and how they can cause hysteria when it comes to slings. But, I also realise how blogs can be educational and beneficial. They have a place but it is our job as a reader, and in the case of me and other babywearing educators to point out their flaws and often fire fight the consequences of their publication.
The sling world can be highly opinionated. The launch of the Ergo 360 for example was a prime example. Babywearing enthusiasts from around the world were up in arms after the company who had advocated Forward Facing In for so long had ‘given in’ to mass market pressures and made a carrier that allowed baby to Forward Face Out. The Ergo 360 has turned out to be one of their greatest successes: an ergonomically designed carrier with the ability to forward face out but with clear advice on time, age and the issue of sleep. Other blogs like those written by Rosie of Sheffield Sling Surgery use detailed medical knowledge and training as a babywearing consultant and busy sling librarian to provide clear and fact based articles. I too like to ensure that if I am stating something as ‘fact’ that I have the links to evidence to back it up.
So you can imagine how I feel when I logged on the computer this morning to find an article stating that forward facing carriers should be burned because they ’cause hip dysplasia’. This said article has been floating around on the internet for at least a year (and I will not link to it here for fear of stoking the fire) and each time it is posted it causes controversy. It is a sad story of one mums experiences but that it. One mum, one baby, one sling. It is not a medical research paper, its not really a case study. It is one mum angry at professionals who worked with or came into contact with her baby. It does not make it right. The fact it was shared on a Facebook page by a well respected Attachment Parenting focused organisation was even more worrying. 1) Forward Facing out cannot cause hip dysplasia in babies with normal development of hip joints and 2) surely any carried baby is something to celebrate. We should not criticise or disown those who chose to use high street style front packs and we should definitely not say that they are going to ‘harm’ their babies. There is simply no proof. Not until the judgements stop will those of us who advocate ergonomic carriers be seen as a mainstream choice. If people continue to jump on Facebook threads where a new mum posts a photo of their little one facing out, we will be forever viewed as judgemental and hippy. Lets celebrate all carried babies and stop the berating of parent and remember most of us will have started our carrying journeys with high street carriers.