Ryan Reynolds’s Father’s Day photo scored loads of likes on Instagram — from fans who didn’t realize that he’s unfortunately using his baby carrier incorrectly. Experts tell Yahoo Parenting why the position really matters. (Photo: Instagram/blakelively)
With his proud smile and the postcard-worthy waterfront setting, Ryan Reynolds’s Instagram photo with 6-month-old daughter James is pretty perfect. Only trouble is, he’s carrying the infant incorrectly in a way that is potentially harmful.
Related: The Way Jill Duggar Carries Her Baby Stirs Controversy
An outpouring of concern for the baby flooded the comments section accompanying the photo posted by his wife, Blake Lively, on Sunday. The infant’s feet are sticking out the bottom of the carrier, and her head is totally obscured. Although the photo received 327,000 likes, many of the 6,800-plus comments encouraged the actor to get acquainted with the carrier’s instruction manual.
“Poor baby looks so uncomfortable and unsafe. Please have hot hubby read the instruction manual,” wrote one fan. “Guys I’m stressed, the position isn’t ergonomic enough for the baby :((” Another chimed in, “How did he even manage that anyways since you secure it around your waist first THEN put the baby in? Oh my!” marvels yet another commenter in a typical remark.
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If all this alarm sounds similar, that’s because another celebrity, Jill Duggar, elicited similar concern online just a couple of months ago after a photo surfaced of her incorrectly carrying her infant son in a sling. But these two are just the latest celebs who were called out on social media for questionable parenting moves. Kim Kardashian was schooled in March after she uploaded a photo of daughter North wearing a pearl necklace as she slept. Even England’s Prince William got a royal takedown back in 2013 when he drove away from the hospital with Prince George not properly secured in his car seat.
So how should Reynolds have positioned his baby in his Lille Baby Complete All Seasons carrier? Babywearing Institute president Beate Frome tells Yahoo Parenting that the baby’s legs need to be in a froglike, spread-squat position. The fact that James’s feet hang down below the carrier bottom means that her position is “totally against the way this carrier is designed,” says Frome. “Her legs should be spread apart 90 degrees and 100 degrees up. Having the legs together is essentially like having baby on a cradle board, which can lead to hip dysplasia. In a straight-leg position like this, the hip is essentially pushed out of the socket.”
Reynolds also should have secured James higher up on his body so that his lips could touch her head. “This baby seems low,” says Frome. “If baby’s head is close enough to kiss, a parent can sense distress immediately and can act. A baby’s smell even changes when baby is in distress, and a parent’s sense picks up on it immediately.” Height also helps in terms of breathing, Adriane Stare, certified babywearing educator and owner of New York City’s Wild Was Mama (formerly Caribou Baby), tells Yahoo Parenting. She shared a how-to video from the manufacturer. “A wearer should always be able to clearly see their child’s face and ensure that baby’s airway is clear.”
Mind the hip belt on soft carriers, too, cautions Frome, who notes that Reynolds’s is “too tight for a healthy circulation in baby’s legs.” The belt is designed to carry baby’s weight, not to strap baby to the wearer’s body, she adds. “Baby’s bum needs to be in the fabric, supported by the fabric, which acts like a suspension to absorb shocks and jolts. James’s weight right now is supported by the strapped-in legs and knees, which means that her spine has to absorb any shocks and jolts.”
Still, Stare gives Reynolds props for trying. “Although baby James is not in the most ideal position for this carrier, it’s really wonderful to see a happy dad trying his best to follow his instincts and snuggle his baby close,” she says. “When a baby is carried heart-to-heart on mom or dad’s chest, even when not perfectly positioned, a parent is much more able to be attuned to how baby is doing versus when their babe is away from them in a stroller.”