iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A photo showing Jill Duggar Dillard carrying her newborn in a sling-style carrier has fans of the 19 Kids and Counting star in an uproar.
The photo appears to show the new mother with her 3-week-old son, Israel David, and some critics said the baby seemed to be placed too low in the sling that was resting at about mid-stomach level on her body. The child’s entire body, including his head, appeared to be completely wrapped up by the sling.
Commenters on Facebook took the new mother to task, saying that carrying the baby that low in the sling could be dangerous.
“Someone needs to tell her it’s a baby sling, not a purse,” one poster wrote, while another added: “Please remember a baby shouldn’t be carried that low. He should be close enough to kiss, so he should be at your chest.”
Dillard, 23, is a midwife in training.
Holly Ann Cordero of Wild Was Mama, a Brooklyn, New York, store that sells slings and helps mothers learn the proper way to carry a baby in a sling, told Good Morning America that the type of sling Dillard was using could be difficult.
“It’s great that she wants to wear the baby in the sling. It is really hard carrier to understand with written instructions and a pamphlet. … It is difficult to position the baby right,” Cordero said. “Usually in a ring sling, the baby should be a little bit higher up on her body.”
She added: “You want to have the baby either upright or in a cradle position. You want it high enough so it is at heart and you want to be able to see her face.”
There are serious risks associated with incorrectly carrying a baby in a sling. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has identified 14 infant deaths with sling-style carriers in the past 20 years.
Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, spoke about the dangers.
“The big issue with a sling is the risk of suffocation,” he said. “There are some babies who are at greater risk. If your baby’s premature or small for their age, or [in] the first four months of life or they have any cold at all, don’t use a sling.”
Besser added that incorrect use of a sling can lead to hip problems. When they are used correctly, slings are a good way for a mother to have her child close while having her hands free.
Jill Dillard declined to comment when ABC News contacted her for this story. She gave birth to Israel on April 6.
She and her husband, Derick, had planned to have a home birth but the baby was delivered by C-section at a hospital instead after she labored for 70 hours.
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