By the time baby arrives, you may have already received or inherited an assortment of baby gear that includes more than one infant lounger, bouncy seat or infant car seat. And you may realize rather quickly that nothing works for your family, and you add to your collection until you find one that’s just right. Baby’s happy, you’re happy. Every parent needs a break and a safe place to put baby while you tend to household chores, older children, pets, your own needs, etc. etc. But it’s very important to follow a few simple guidelines to insure that baby is positioned properly and safely.
Tips for Proper Alignment
When you place baby in an infant lounger or other device, it’s important to help baby maintain a straight head, neck and torso position. Look at the baby pictured on the right, and it’s clear to see that his head is tilted to one side causing his neck and spine to be out of alignment. Use a blanket roll or washcloth to prop baby’s head on one side to achieve correct body position.
It’s also important to alternate baby’s head position. Flat spots can develop when baby consistently places her head in one position. During the day when baby is in the bouncy seat, use toys to encourage her to look to both sides and at you in the middle.
And, no matter what device you’re using, remember to always keep baby’s chin away from the chest and shoulders. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against children sleeping in baby gear because the head can slump forwards and inhibit the baby’s ability to breathe safely.
Using a Baby Sling Properly
Baby wearing is a fun and convenient way to bond with baby. If you’re wearing baby in a sling, keep in mind T.I.C.K.S. for safe positioning:
|Tight||Hold baby tightly, but gently against you|
|In View||Always be able to see baby’s face|
|Close enough to kiss||Be able to bend down and kiss baby|
|Keep chin up||Baby’s head should never slouch down|
|Support||Baby’s back should be supported|
The Importance of Tummy Time
With time spent in the crib, infant seats, loungers, bouncy seats or other devices, babies spend a lot of time on their backs. It’s important to minimize baby’s time in devices and to incorporate tummy time as a part of baby’s daily routine. Tummy time helps strengthen baby’s neck and back muscles, improve their head control, and most importantly promote a nice round head shape. Use a mirror and toys for your baby to practice reaching and looking in both directions.
If you notice a flat spot or your baby has one consistent preferred position, seek help from a professional. We are happy to discuss your concerns and answer your questions!