This is the ultimate guide to the best carriers for a baby with Down syndrome!
This post was written with the advice from many, many mamas (and some papas too!), and all carriers in this post came recommended by families who actually used them with their babies with Down syndrome.
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Babywearing has never been more popular in recent times, and for good reason: it’s a practical way to transport a baby, and it allows the person carrying the baby freedom of movement.
It allows for easy breastfeeding, constant nurturing and comfort. It is inexpensive and sensible. It provides the baby with touch, loving interaction and an opportunity to organize their environment and strengthen their muscles
There are a plethora of carriers for babies out there, and the question of which carrier will be right for whom is always something a new parent faces. This becomes a little more complicated with the presence of Down syndrome, and some of the unique considerations that babies with Down syndrome have. So, let’s talk about those considerations.
Things to Be Aware of With Infants with Down Syndrome
Low Tone (Hypotonia)
Infants with Down syndrome – and indeed, most all individuals with Down syndrome – have low muscle tone (hypotonia), and loose ligaments.
What this means:
In layman’s terms, this means that most babies with Down syndrome will feel floppy when you hold them – their muscles don’t have a great deal of control.
This means that they often need more support to hold themselves upright, and may tend to slump down in a baby carrier. We need to be sure to choose carriers that supports their upper back as well as their tailbone through the base of their neck.
It also means that we need to be careful as we hold them in a carrier so that their ligaments don’t stretch further. We want to keep the ligaments together. These are the ligaments in the hips (especially) as well as in the neck.
2. Greater risk for respiratory problems
What this means:
Because babies with Down syndrome are at a greater risk for developing respiratory problems, it’s very important to follow safe airway practices in carrying them.
These practices may need to continue beyond the normally recommended three month period.
3. Loose Joints
Infants with Down syndrome have increased joint laxity – loose joints. This means that their joints are more flexible.
What this means:
The normal spread-squat in a child carrier of approximately 90-100 degrees may not be the best for a baby with Down syndrome. Keeping the baby’s legs closer together will help prevent hip dysplasia (- dislocation of the hip joint).
4. Slower Growth
Children with Down syndrome usually grow more slowly than their typically-developing peers.
What this means:
The carrier will be used for longer than it would for a typically-developing child. This means that paying attention to the low tone and loose ligaments is more important than ever – it will really make a difference in the hip development of the child.
The physical pieces are important with our kids, and should definitely be taken into consideration as we discern the best carriers for a baby with Down syndrome.
The short list of options in the table below should be checked by your child’s physical therapist or physician for your child’s unique needs.
But bear in mind that while choosing your child’s carrier might be more involved when your child has Down syndrome, baby-wearing is still usually the best option! Baby-wearing provides your baby with so much that is virtually impossible to gain unless your baby is in close physical contact with you throughout much of the day.
With that in mind, here are popular options for carriers.
Best Carriers for a Baby with Down Syndrome
|Full Body |
|Length of Time
|ErgoBaby||$126||Yes, with the infant insert||Yes||Yes - 6 positions||Birth - 45lbs|
|Baby K’tan||$50||Yes||Yes||Yes - 5 positions||Birth - 35lbs|
|LILLEbaby Complete||$120||Yes, with the infant insert||Yes||Yes - 6 positions||Birth - 45lbs|
|Tula||$160||Yes, with the infant insert||Yes||Yes - 6 positions||Birth - 45lbs|
|Moby Wrap||$35||No||Yes||Yes - 2 positions||Birth - 35lbs|
|Ring Sling||$35 to $97||No||Yes||Yes - 2 positions||Birth - 35lbs|
|Boba Wrap||$40||No||Yes||Yes - 2 positions||Birth - 35lbs|
|Beco Gemini||$180||No||Yes||Yes - 4 positions||Birth - 35lbs|
This table makes it obvious that there are some really great carriers out there for our babies with Down syndrome.
One thing to note in many of these is that the infant insert is a real game-changer. The insert is basically a little stool that you sit your tiny baby on and allows them to nestle in the carrier with their legs closed. This prevents anything negative happening with their joints or hips.
Another great thing to note is that most of these carriers can easily be purchased – and returned – online. It’s also easy to add them to your baby registries.
Good luck! We look forward to meeting your little one!