Babywearing with Scoliosis

As a chiropractor, I see scoliosis in my office regularly. From behind, the spine is normally a straight vertical line. Scoliosis is a lateral (to the side) curvature of the spine that leaves the head, shoulders, and hips unbalanced. Most people with scoliosis have visible changes, with the most common being an uneven shoulder height and asymmetrical rib cage.

A common statement is that a custom fit in a soft structured carrier (SSC), like an Ergobaby, is not possible. This is simply not true. There are many adjustments that can be made to an SSC to allow for balanced wearing. Although in people with scoliosis, this may mean that it is an asymmetrical fit when looking solely at the carrier. As you can see from the pictures below, the adjustments are not symmetrical but however are custom fit to her spine and physical imbalance.

How to get the most comfortable fit in an SSC if you have scoliosis:

Start by picking up your child and finding the spot on your chest that is the most comfortable for you. The spot where you feel the most balanced. This will vary based on the type, direction, and severity of your curve. Remember this spot!
Lie the child back down.
Pick up the carrier and buckle the waist belt on your body so it will sit directly below where the child’s bum just was.
Pick the child back up and begin to put the carrier on both of you. Pull the carrier panel up, put straps on your shoulders, and then buckle chest clip. Do not tighten the straps yet.
Holding the child and the carrier against you, remember that spot that was the most comfortable and shift the child and carrier if needed.
Still holding the child and carrier, tighten one strap at a time. Remember your straps might not be even when tightening but will feel balanced.
Lastly, check for the safety requirements while babywearing in your end position – baby’s airway is open, breathing can be monitored, and they are close enough for the wearer to kiss.

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The adjustments may be uneven due to asymmetries as a result of scoliosis. The shape of your body is going to require adaptations that someone with a straight spine will not need. Some may find it to be more comfortable to carry slightly off center. This may help your balance and provide a more comfortable ride for the wearer. This is completely alright! There is no rule that says an SSC has to sit completely in the center of the body when wearing in a front carry.

Remember, there is no reason you cannot get a custom fit in a soft structured carrier. You are seeking a balanced fit over a symmetrical adjustment of the carrier. Also,pay attention to your body and remember the muscles of a wearer with scoliosis may fatigue faster than someone without. As always, please consult with your physician if you are currently under supervised care.

 

Please use caution when attempting any of the carries, exercise or activities highlighted on this blog, social media or any other content channels.  Please use common sense and caution when using a baby carrier.  You should consult a physician before starting any diet or exercise program.  For more information, see our Disclaimer.

Dr. Dara DaCunha

Dr. Dara Lynne DaCunha is a chiropractor, doula, and mother of two who practices in Arizona. She focuses on pregnancy, post-pregnancy, and infant care. She is known for her treatment protocol that solidifies nursing relationships. Her blog is focused on the 4th trimester and a mother’s healing body.

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July 18, 2016

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