It may appear that the concept of baby wearing is new to the world of parenting but, the truth is, many cultures have been practicing it for many, many centuries. I guess somewhere along the line in our culture, strollers and swings and all those other “fancy” devices become the height of parenting convenience.
While the thought of finagling a child into a carrier may seem like anything but convenient, there are definite benefits of carrying your child as often as possible versus leaving them in cribs, pens and swings throughout the day.
The Benefits of Baby Wearing
The obvious benefit of wearing your baby is that you can keep your little one close and still have full use of your hands. While you probably aren’t going to want your child attached to you 24-7, being able to comfort a fussy baby while sweeping the floors is the epitome of multitasking magic.
And speaking of fussy babies, babies who are worn regularly actually cry less because they are kept content for longer periods of time. They also have easy access to breastfeeding, making it less likely they will cry to be fed (since the boob is right there).
Because baby wearing means that your baby is close to you more throughout the day, the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is greatly reduced. The less time a baby spends alone, the less likely SIDS will occur.
Lastly, baby wearing helps to create and solidify the bond between parent and child. Placing a high importance on bonding between baby and parent is at the center of a parenting style known as Attachment Parenting.
Baby Wearing and Safety
As a parent, you know there’s always a wrong way to do something. In the case of baby wearing, there’s only a few simple things to keep in mind to make sure you are wearing your baby correctly and safely:
- Make sure your baby’s head is close enough to kiss.
- Position your baby so you can easily see his or her face.
- Your baby’s tummy and chest should be against you with his or her back supported in a natural position.
- Be sure your baby is situated so that his or her hips, thighs and legs form an “M” position where the knees are bent and higher than the bum.
- Your baby’s chin should be off his or her chest to ensure a clear airway.
Types of Baby Carriers
There are 3 main types of baby carriers and each has its own pros and cons. Some are better suited for infants while others are designed to hold your child until they are a toddler.
- Wrap Style
Wrap style carriers are simply a long piece of fabric that wraps around your baby and your body, keeping the baby snug and close to you. They accommodate a variety of positions include front carrying, back carrying and hip carrying and are suited for infants, babies and toddlers. However, tying them properly takes some practice.
- Ring Sling
Ring slings are also long pieces of fabric but have 2 rings at one end. You simply thread the free end through one ring and tuck it under the other ring. These carriers are easily adjustable to fit your size as well as the size of the baby. Because they are designed to wrap around only one of your shoulders, they may cause shoulder strain or discomfort.
- Soft Structured Carrier
Soft structured carrier are designed with padded shoulder straps and waistband. You simply place your child in the carrier and fasten with buckles. They are ergonomically sound and provide a healthy position for both you and your baby. They can, however, be quite expensive.