Babywearing is the GREATEST THING EVER. No joke. If I hadn’t learned about the magic of babywearing with my first son, I would probably never do the dishes or the laundry, and I would rarely be able to leave the house to go shopping or visit friends.
What are the benefits of baby wearing??
Holding your baby HANDS FREE!!! woohoo!! Yes – you can hold your baby close to your body, but still be able to function like a normal human being.
Easier to nurse in public!! Most wraps and slings make it VERY easy to breastfeed while wearing your baby – and still discreet!!
Comforting for your baby. During the “fourth trimester”, baby craves your skin-to-skin contact, your body heat, and the sound of your heartbeat. They want the feeling of being inside the womb. Being close to your body (especially in a wrap) is wonderful, especially for young infants. And many babies will fall right asleep when they are being carried!
Helps your arms and back!! Holding your baby in a carrier is MUCH easier on your body than carrying them in your arms all day long – hands down!! (pun intended.)
Makes it easier to get out and exercise!!! It is easier to go out and go on a walk, go shopping, wander the farmer’s market, etc…. So you don’t feel stuck inside trying to calm your baby all day long.
It’s CONVENIENT!!! Much easier and less bulky than carrying around a great big carseat everywhere you go!!
Being held upright helps to prevent ear infections, and reduces the symptoms of reflux/GERD. And being on a parent’s chest helps to reduce sleep apnea, as the baby will hear your breathing patterns and it will stimulate their own breathing.
Babywearing helps to regulate baby’s body temperature and stabilize their heart rate!
Babies who are carried will cry less – which means less stress for them, and for you!!
^^ Pictured above is my Boba wrap. It sure saved my life!!! Anytime I had trouble getting Lucas to sleep for the first few months of his life, I would just slip him inside the wrap and voila!! Super sleep!
No straps or buckles, and it is just one piece of stretchy fabric – easy to wash, and very easy to learn how to tie. (You can check out Boba’s instructional videos on Youtube!)
Once Lucas started getting bigger, we also got a Mei Tai. ^^ I like it because it doesn’t have any big bulky clips, and ties easily – but has padded shoulders and is a bit more heavy duty than the wrap. With this carrier, baby can be worn against your chest, front facing, or even on your back!!
Types of Carriers:
There are MANY different types of baby carriers on the market today. From stretchy wraps, to ring slings, mei tais, buckled carriers, pouch slings, rebozos, and more…. You want to choose the carrier that is best for you and your baby at their current stage.
Some things to keep in mind when selecting a carrier:
Baby’s size/weight – make sure that the carrier is appropriate for your baby’s current size
Positioning – do you want to be able to wear your baby in a variety of positions (front/hip/back)? How comfortable would you feel carrying them on your back?
Your comfort – do you want a sling that will put pressure on one shoulder? A wrap that will distribute the weight? Or padded straps with a buckle carrier?
Is the carrier bulky? Easy to travel with? Easy to put on?
Carriers come in a variety of colors and designs – do you want something that you like, that matches your outfits, or a nice unisex pattern to share with your partner?
Many couples nowadays even get his/hers carriers!
Some important notes on baby wearing:
Babies should always be carried in an upright position.
They should be on your chest, high enough that you can kiss their head.
Always make sure that they can breathe at all times, and that their airways are not obstructed by your chest or the fabric of the carrier.
Never jog or run while wearing your baby – you don’t want them to experience violent bouncing or shaking movements, which can cause damage.
Always check to make sure that your carrier is appropriate for your baby’s current size and weight.
Avoid activities where you are at increased risk of falling!! (If you can’t do it while pregnant – don’t do it while wearing your baby.)
Always be aware of your baby – if you are wearing them on your back, be sure that they are not grabbing things that could harm them or that they could choke on.
Be cautious when consuming hot foods/beverages!!
What about Hip Dysplasia? (photo courtesy of ergobaby)
One thing to keep in mind when selecting a carrier is the position of baby’s hips.
It is better for your baby’s legs to be wrapped around you, in a natural seated position – this helps to support their hips and prevent pain or damage to the baby. Be sure that the thighs are supported at the knee joint to promote healthy hip positioning.
Want to try before you buy??
Guess what – now you can!!! Find a local babywearing group (there are BWI chapters in most major cities across the country, and several international chapters!!). You don’t have to be a member to attend – but with your membership, you are able to check-out carriers to try for yourself. How cool is that?? Meetings are designed to support parents with any questions they may have, including finding the right carrier, positioning, and much more.
(With many carriers, you can wear your toddler too!!)