Babywearing is defined as the practice of wearing or carrying your baby around in a sling or other form of carrier. For many in the western world babywearing may be a newer concept since for many decades our culture got away from babywearing. However, in many cultures around the world babywearing is the norm and has been practiced for centuries. It is on the rise in western cultures again, and is becoming more and more common.
Are you a babywearer?
I would consider myself a babywearer. I used a baby carrier or a sling to carry Maya around almost everywhere when she was little and I still sometimes use a sling to carry her. Although she is getting a bit heavy for it now 🙂 When she was very tiny I would use my Bjorn infant carry to wear her around while I did most of my chores around the house and anytime I went shopping. When she was fussy it was the best way to calm her down. I would just put her in the carrier and walk, either around the house doing odd little chores or we’d walk outside if the weather was nice. After a while I purchased a sling and she loved it. She would ask to go in the sling when we went for walks instead of using her stroller.
I found that having the close contact with her, especially when we were first working on establishing a good breastfeeding routine, was immensely beneficial. And I discovered very early on that being close to me and being with me while I went about my daily routine was very calming to Maya and she would often stop fussing or crying the minute I plopped her in the carrier. There is something very calming to both mother and child when you carry your baby close to your body like that.
There are so many options when it comes to choosing a baby carrier. Everything from wraps, to slings, to front carriers, to hip carriers, to carriers that convert from front to hip to back as the baby grows. Choosing the right one for you can be challenging. I used the Bjorn front carrier and a sling with Maya. With my next child I will likely do the same, although I’m thinking I’ll spring for an Ergo carrier instead of the Bjorn next time since it seems to be more practical and useful as the baby grows. You may find that you have to try out a couple of options before you find the one that works best for you. There are many sites out there that can help you in your search for the right carrier for you, my favorite is, TheBabyWearer.com. They have a ton of information whether you are new to babywearing or an old hat at it.
I think babywearing should be encouraged, especially in the early months when you are establishing breastfeeding and getting to know each other. Babywearing can be especially handy if you have an infant who is colicky, or just one of those babies who fusses if he or she isn’t being held by someone. Getting things done around the house, going shopping, going out to eat are all so much easier when you use a carrier, sling or a wrap. Babywearing just feels natural and calming. And if you have our hands full with other things is a great way to still get that bonding time with your baby.