A German association of paediatricians advises against carrying a baby in a carrier while facing forward, as it is considered harmful for the hip joints. However, they jumped to this conclusion, and did not expound on their statement. First of all, it is very important to know that you can only carry your baby this way when it can keep its head up straight itself; in other words, that the neck muscles and vertebrae are strong enough. For both newly born and very small children, this way of carrying is strongly discouraged.
But when babies can keep their head straight up themselves easily, which is mostly after about four months, and start to become curious about their surroundings, they are just glad and happy when they finally get to see something other than dad’s or mom’s chest. Various medical experts have written reports that recommend this. The key to this is that the hip joints should always be in an open position, preferably in the so-called ‘M-position’, with the knees higher than the bum. By the way, in the United Kingdom an article appeared stating that doctors were worried about tightly strapping babies, with their legs against one another in a straight position, restricting any movement. This can lead to a higher risk of hip dysplasia! See http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/news/general-news/2012/march/tight-swaddling-linked-to-rise-in-baby-hip-problems.aspx