What is baby wearing
Baby wearing, put simply, is wearing your baby in a wrap, sling, or carrier. Baby wearing is used by many parents instead of placing their baby in a stroller our other item designed to hold a baby.
And you don’t have to be Montessori or even remotely familiar with the term “Attachment Parenting” to baby wear. Parents, mothers in particular, all over the world have been wearing their little ones since the dawn of time.
*To this point, it is important to acknowledge that though wearing babies has become popular in recent decades, it has never stopped being the norm for many marginalized cultures.
From the Selendangs used in Indonesia to Cradleboards used by Indigenous People in North America, these beautiful and functional items and garments are significant pieces to non-whites.
So, while wearing our babies has created a culture in and of itself in western society recently, let’s give a nod to the fact whites considered it taboo as recently as 50 years ago.
It is healthy and biologically normal, though. I advocate for it. I also advocate doing it respectfully, avoiding cultural appropriation in favor of cultural appreciation.*
The benefits of baby wearing
So, why should you consider wearing your baby?
The benefits are many and it may end up being the one thing you choose as a new parent that will make the first year of parenthood (and beyond) a whole lot easier.
It cuts down on the crying
It’s no secret that babies tend to stop crying when they are picked up, held, and have their needs tended to.
Studies have shown that wearing a baby can decrease crying and fussiness by up to over 50%.
Mothers of particularly fussy babies can tell you how a 50% decrease in fussiness would have helped them, I have no doubt.
We have all heard about the benefits of breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is something you do, or are planning to do, wearing your baby can help you meet your goals.
Why is this?
It is because many carriers, slings, and wraps allow you to adjust the height and position of your baby for feedings. So, you don’t have to stop what you are doing in order to feed your baby.
Having your baby close against your body also makes it so you are able to be more attentive to your baby’s feeding cues.
Promotes health in premature babies
Premature babies are some of the most fragile of little ones. Luckily for these precious babies, hospitals are catching on to the health benefits of the skin-to-skin contact wearing babies promotes.
Parents, nurses, and volunteers can be observed baby wearing in nurseries and NICU’s all over the world!
Though an explanation for the health benefits such as regulated breathing and heart rate have yet to be thoroughly explained by scientists, the benefits are there.
It’s a bonding activity
Physical and emotional connection isn’t just a desire in babies. It is developmental need.
Carrying your baby close in a carrier meets the need for physical connection. The bonding hormones experienced by the parent when holding their baby close, encourage loving gazes and friendly smiles.
It can make life easier for parents
It frees up your hands for other activities. The right wrap, carrier, or sling, worn correctly and within the specifications for weight, can also be a major back-saver.
There is no ergonomic way to carry your baby around for more than several minutes at a time that won’t leave your back hurting after a few weeks. Wearing your baby can prevent back pain.
Best brands of slings, wraps, and carriers
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After you have decided that wearing your baby is something you are interested in doing, the next step is deciding what type of gear you want.
Many parents choose multiple items to baby wear, as each has it’s own benefits.
Slings are the most versatile and can be used into the toddler years. They make breastfeeding a cinch no matter where you are, modesty or none.
WildBird is great brand of hand-made slings. My favorite sling is a WildBird.
What attracted me to the company is that the slings are made at home by seamstresses and the scrap fabric is used to make bonnets, totes, and play slings for kids, all of which are available on their website.
Work-at-home-mom friendly and eco-friendly. There isn’t much more you could ask for from a company that produces some of the most beautiful and well made slings in the world.
Except for great costumer service, which they also have!
Moby makes a nice light-weight ring sling, as well. If you are unsure about whether or not you would like to commit to a sling and you want to try one out, this is a great option.
There is essentially no difference between the two brands, but Boba is slightly less expensive. Many parents are have brand loyalty to Moby, though, so you will see it recommended more on parenting forums.
I can’t stress the help stretch wraps are for the newborn phase.
LÍLLÉbaby 360° is a true back-saver for when you are out and about. I have owned a single LÍLLÉbaby 360 and used it for multiple children. It’s even adjustable to where breastfeeding is possible with a simple adjustment.
Ergobaby carriers have a lot of similarities to LILLEbaby’s and are extremely popular in babywearing circles. They are known for their durability and resale value.
Both of these carriers have features like lumbar support and are adjustable to support your growing baby.
While wearing your baby has many benefits, it is crucial that you follow the weight/size specifications for the carrier you choose and that you follow the instruction for the carrying system you choose.
Making safe choices while wearing your your baby is important, as well.
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