Baby Wearing is a term to describe carrying your baby on your body with the help of some type of baby carrier. It’s an awesome way to stay close to baby, enhancing bonding and get stuff done. I thought I would post about it because it’s not something that everyone is familiar with, but there are just so many benefits!
Here are a few of the important ones…
Newborns have irregular breathing and heart-rate patterns. When they are close to you their patterns start to mimic yours and become for steady and regular. This is especially important for babies who come early. It’s also very soothing to all babies because the rhythms of your walk, breath and heart are all familiar to them from their time in the womb.
Being close to your baby releases hormones like prolactin and oxytocin which helps you fall even more in love with your baby.
Babies who are held close, cry less, gain weight better and have more quiet alert time. The time that they would be otherwise fussy, instead they are sleeping and growing or quiet and alert which is baby’s prime learning time.
Babies who are “worn” are intimately involved in your world. They get to experience the variety of sights and sounds as they travel around the house with you. Plus you are more likely to interact with baby because he or she is literally right under your nose. They learn more!
You get stuff done! When baby is held close in a carrier, your hands are free. You can still move about and get many household chores done. If you have more than one child this is crucial. It’s a great way to be able to hold baby and still attend to the needs of a toddler or preschooler (or maybe both if you’re like me).
Baby wearing always means that you spend more time close to your infant and that results in knowing your baby better.
For the baby who is slow to gain weight, baby wearing means that they are close to you and will nurse more often. This will generally help them to gain weight more easily. You can even breastfeed them in the carrier, depending on the type.
Hopefully you’re convinced!
So to start you need to find a baby carrier which works for you. There are so many different kinds on the market. Each has pros and cons. Some are more versatile but only carry the weight of baby on one shoulder. Others carry the weight of baby over your shoulders and hips but baby might only face inward. It’s worthwhile to invest in at least one carrier, but quite possibly two. I own 4 and I love them all for different reasons. Some are great for newborns (like my pocket sling), others are great for my husband (like the ring sling and baby backpack), and others are good for baby as baby grows (like my Ergo) and some have it all… like the cuddle wrap which is just one long long piece of fabric (good for any size, evenly distribute baby’s weight, baby can face out or in), but take longer to put on. So my advice… ask around, borrow from a friend and go to the store and try out several different models. Then you will have a good idea which one is the most comfortable for you and baby. If you have a sore back, but still wish to wear your baby, then consider wide or padded shoulder straps, a belt or strap that goes around your hips or a design that distributes some of the weight onto your hips, and look for a carrier in which baby is positioned facing inward toward you and fairly high on your body. And finally make sure that baby is sitting in the carrier, not dangling from it. Ideally the carrier should support baby from one leg, across the bum and to the other leg. It is only covering baby’s crotch area, then it would be comfortable for him or her either. Comfort is key! The more comfortable you both are, the more likely you are to wear your baby.
Happy baby wearing to all!
Marie, currently wearing Markus.
And to make you smile… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU84rDbdu8Q