You've just got back from a lovely walk with your baby in your sling or carrier. You take them out for a nappy change and discover they've got red marks in their knees and on their legs. Oh no! You panic and start googling what it could be and scaring yourself in the process. Sound familiar? Rest assured, you're not the only one who's responded like this - I did with Dexter! They are simply pressure marks, similar to bra strap marks or sock marks round your ankles. They don't hurt and they go away after a few hours. Nothing to worry about.
So what causes them? Summer brings about shorts and dresses, vests and rompers for our babies and children - along with thinner more breathable fabrics. This combination means that these harmless red pressure marks are more likely to occur. Bare legs and thinner fabrics means that the cushioning thicker clothing provides is no longer there and so the pressure marks appear. As long as your baby's leg doesn't change colour or swell up, then it's absolutely fine.
Can I stop it happening? Whilst you can't stop it completely, there are things you can do to ensure the pressure is the minimum it has to be.
1. Make sure the fabric is fully fitting knee to knee
When the knee to knee area is fully supported by the fabric of your sling or buckle carrier, the pressure marks will only appear in their knee joints instead of their soft thigh tissue.
If you feel behind your knee when it is bent, you have two ligaments either side of it. Between these is where your blood flows to your lower leg. Now take a scarf, hold the tension of one edge tight in your hands and bring it up to your bent knee.
You can feel it pressing on your ligaments behind your knee, but it's not painful and your blood is still flowing. 2. Ensure your baby's bum is lower then their knees
With their bum lower than their knees, all of your baby's weight will be secure in their bum and NOT on their knees. This in turn, will reduce the pressure on their knees and reducing the red marks created. If their bum is above their knees then all their weight will sit on their knees and potentially hurt them.
3. Make sure you've done a good pelvic tuck
Slip your hands through the leg holes of your buckle carrier and scoop their bum towards you, tucking their tailbone under them. This should adjust their pelvis so that it is flat against you, and all their weight will be in their coccyx not on their knees. If your buckle carrier has padding around the leg holes then this will help reduce the marks too. If your baby is facing outwards, make sure you pelvic tuck away from you to keep those knees high!
Red pressure marks are an inevitable part of carrying your baby, we don't tend to notice them in the winter because we dress our children in warmer fabrics and more layers so we don't see them. As long as you're doing your best to minimise the pressure on the legs, and your baby's leg isn't changing colour or swelling up then you're absolutely fine. You can always come and see us for a Fit Check if you're worried. They're only £5 and can be online or in person. Or why not book into our Free Drop In on a Thursday morning at the ToyBox Cafe and get a Free Fit Check with Stella? Lysanne x