I had no idea about baby wearing when Riley was a baby, well she still is baby-my baby, but I guess other people would consider her a toddler. We had a baby carrier though, a structured one and I think I only put her in it once or twice, it was awkward for me at the time, but then again, so were the first 12 months of motherhood for me in it's entirety. With Raigan though, the shock of being a new mommy had worn out, and I was pretty comfortable with the big aspects of motherhood, and had time to focus on the smaller things like baby wearing. Even though I think it's pretty important, feeding and sleeping probably take precedent.
So it all started when I went to a baby wearing class at the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center when Raiggie was a few months old and have not looked back since.
Before that class I was a little overwhelmed with all the baby waring options:
Structured carriers, Mei Ties, Ring Slings, Baby Bjorn, Hawk.... what did all this mean?!
After much research and a lot of walking up to moms at Target and asking them about the carriers they were wearing, I think I finally got a grasp on the world of baby wearing. I am by no means an expert, but I will share with you my little packet of knowledge I have on the topic.
In this post:
The benefits of baby wearing.
It is easier to nurse when wearing a baby. It's easier in a bunch of ways. The babe is already right there so it's easily accessible. When the baby is so close you are able to pick up on hunger cues like rooting more easily. The smell of the baby allows your letdown to flow more easily. I remember the first time I had Raigan in a Moby Wrap and was able to nurse her hands free, I thought I had discovered a new world, which I guess I had in a proverbial sense. Also, there have been many times out in public when I felt awkward nursing Raigan, but I just covered myself and her up with the wrap or sling. You don't have to stop and sit down either, you can just keep going around say the Zoo looking for animals all while feeding your baby, which is super convenient, plus no one can even tell what you are doing. (I'm not saying either that one should hide what they are doing, but some of us just choose to be more modest about it than others.)
It's exercise for you and your baby. When babies are worn it provides them with more time to practice using their neck muscles than say in a car seat and they gain head control more quickly. As for you you're carrying around the weight of your baby, which is pretty much like weightlifting right? Ok, maybe no, but it does provide you with exercise by holding the extra weight.
You can snuggle your baby and still do pretty much anything. Much more doesn't really need to be said about this one. I mean you could even go to the bathroom while snuggling your baby, not that I have done that before.. just saying. haha
You baby feels safe and secure. Physical contact plays a huge part in the development of babies and children. An example would be the use of Kangaroo Care with preemies, and how they thrive with human contact. Such is true for your full term baby. You are essentially recreating the womb for them. They can sway with your walk, hear your heartbeat, and be be close to you. Also when a babies needs are met, it makes the baby feel secure. Babies that are worn are actually more apt to play by themselves and not need mommy in other areas because their needs are already met by being held closely.
It helps your baby fall asleep: Raigan often falls asleep when I wear her:
Sometimes a carrier is a lot easier than a stroller. Carriers are much cheaper than strollers, a lot easier to transport (you can just throw them in your diaper bag), and it's easier to walk around carrying your baby than negativing a crowd or climbing stairs with a stroller.
It allows the baby to engage and interact with the world. When wearing a baby they are held up at the level of the rest of the world. There is so much more going on up at chest level than down at feet level where a baby in a car seat or stroller would be at. Most carriers face allow you to face the baby in many positions and can either face you or face outward like this:
Her legs are tucked up, which looks uncomfortable, but she loves to carried like this. Or on the hip like this:
These are just a few of the many benefits of baby wearing.
Do you wear your baby? If not, you should try out, you'll fall in love.