“What are you’re wearing your baby in?”
“She looks so comfy and content!”
“What slings, wraps, carrier would you recommend?”
These are the most common questions I get on Instagram, Facebook, Email, and pretty much everywhere we go. Let me start by saying –
I am NOT a babywearing expert, I just know what worked/works for us, and what didn’t!
But the time has come, I can’t keep up with messaging everyone privately, so I thought I may as well make a blog post.
I shall call it: Babywearing 101, Babywearing for Dummies, Babywearing for the Newb, Wear all the Babies
So let’s start with WHY to wear your baby!
Here are some reasons, stolen from my favourite evidence based breastfeeding resource- KellyMom.com
Using a baby carrier can make life easier for you and is good for your baby. Following are some of the advantages of “wearing” your baby (from The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears):
- It’s CONVENIENT. You can breastfeed discretely in most baby carriers while working, getting things done around the house, shopping or eating in a restaurant. If you have a baby who wants to be held all the time, this is an easy way to meet her needs while doing other things.
- It helps moms care for older siblings. Carrying your baby in a carrier can give you the MOBILITY to care for your older children.
- It helps some babies to BREASTFEED better. Some babies, particularly those who are tense or tend to arch their backs, breastfeed better while moving. Also, babies who are slow to gain weight (for no apparent reason) have been known to gain better if carried in a carrier for several hours a day, since proximity to mom encourages babies to eat more frequently.
- It reduces crying and colic. A 1986 study of 99 mother-infant pairs (reported in Pediatrics) showed that carrying babies at least three hours a day REDUCES CRYING AND FUSSING 43% during the day and 51% at night. Babies are happier because they have less need to cry, and parents enjoy their babies more as a result.
- It ENHANCES LEARNING. Carried babies have enhanced visual and auditory alertness, and increased “quiet alertness” times. Carrying a baby promotes cognitive development and speech development, since babies are exposed to more experiences and conversations.
- Carried babies are involved in their parents’ world. They PARTICIPATE IN LIFE, rather than see it as a spectator.
- Carrying your baby PROMOTES BONDING and enhances parents’ feelings of competence. A higher frequency of feeding and touching stimulates mothering hormones, and frequent carrying encourages and speeds the development of a mutual reading of each other’s cues.
I’d have to agree with all of these reasons. Babywearing has made my life SO much easier, and my kids happy! I will also add
- It has saved my back. Carrying around in your arms all day is so exhausting, your back aches, your shoulders ache. It’s the worst. Finding a carrier that’s comfortable makes those fussy baby days 100 times easier on your precious back
- Naps & Freedom. We can hop on transit, have some fun Vancouver adventures, go on walks, grab coffee. Having a carrier has enabled us to bring our kids places, without worrying about nap times, they just nap on the go!
What KIND of Carrier?
Structured Carriers/ Buckle/ Backpacks
These carriers are the ones I would say I see the most “in the wild”. The soft structured baby carrier, looks like a backpack, and you can wear baby on front, and on your back.
My husband loves these carriers! They are so easy to use, comfortable, and fuss free.
TULA is also super popular. People become Tula obsessed, they have so many different patterns and a lot of people trade and buy all kinds!
BOBA same idea as the other two brands. Comfortable, easy to use, versatile.
LENNY LAMB Babywearing doesn’t have to end when your babe gets older! We ordered a toddler sized carrier from lenny lamb and we’re super happy with it! Tula & Kinderpack also have a toddler/preschool option
We didn’t have a ring sling with my first daughter, but thankfully the wonderful Kate from Spincycle Yarns gifted us one when we welcomed our little Sadie into the world.
I LOVE ring slings. They are so easy to use, so fast to put on, and super comfortable!
Purple Elm Baby has an awesome selection of Ring Slings
This can be the most overwhelming part of the babywearing quest. Wraps are basically a long piece of fabric. You’ll have to watch a few youtube videos, but a lot of people love love love wrapping.
Moby Wraps are stretchy, easy, and awesome for a newborns
Woven Wraps are made from different fabrics (linen, cotton, hemp, wool) and come in different lengths and a ton of different patterns. It’s really a personal preference with what wrap works for people, take a look online to see what you like best.
Things to remember:
It’s important to find a fit and carrier that works for you AND your baby. If either of you are uncomfortable, the babywearing relationship won’t last, or be as enjoyable as it could be!