Friday, January 15, 2010
2:17 AM | Edit Post
How comfy does my little meatloaf look? She's a newborn here, but about 2 seconds after this pic was taken, she grew so rapidly that people wondered if I'd had an affair with the Michelin Man. Despite her abundant rolls and my wussy back, she and I were always comfy. Baby-wearing is da bomb, I'm tellin' ya! So awesome, it makes me use descriptions like "da bomb", yeesh, heaven help me! I personally used a MetroMamma Wrap, which comes in some super cute "bling" designs (like mine with the wings) as well as solid colors. I must admit, I'm naturally a blond, in addition to being clumsy and uncoordinated, and those carriers with all those straps and buckles were always just too complicated for me to use. I honestly was never able to get one on and baby in it without help from my hubby. Pretty pointless when he's gone at work much of the day! Fortunately, prior to having my 2nd daughter, I'd discovered the wonderful world of baby wearing beyond the ugly store-bought contraptions of confusion!
As we were saving tons of money by co-sleeping and breastfeeding, I decided to splurge on my dream baby carrier: The MetroMamma bling wrap. OMG, the wings! I totally geeked out. Besides the adorable-ness, even weight distribution and multiple possible positions were the key selling points to me. The instructions for wearing can look daunting at first, but just like tying your shoes, once you get it down, you can do it without thinking, even if you're a closetted blond like me ;-P
This thing was a life-saver as a 2nd-time mommy. Other companies sell wraps that come in different designs. Moby Wraps get rave reviews too. If you've never heard of baby-wearing before, please check out the "10 reasons" below, and consider getting a wrap or sling! Baby-wearing mamas, please feel free to share your experience or even photos! I really wish I'd known about this before I had my first baby, so maybe we can reach a new-mom-to-be and make her and her baby's life a lot more comfy :-)
10 Reasons to Wear Your Baby
by Laura Simeon, MA, MLIS
by Laura Simeon, MA, MLIS
|1. Wearing a baby is convenient. When we carry a baby in a sling, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a stroller. Plastic "baby buckets" and removable car seats are heavy and awkward for parents, babies often look uncomfortable, and they are kept at knee level. A sling can block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby, and it allows for discreet nursing in public places. A sling can also double as a changing pad, blanket, or cushion when away from home. I've found my sling especially handy when negotiating busy airports with a small child and several bags! |
2. Wearing a baby promotes physical development.
When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes – walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The sling is in essence a "transitional womb" for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not1. Mechanical swings and other holding devices do not provide these same benefits.
|3. Babies worn in slings are happier. Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss2. In indigenous cultures where baby-wearing is the norm, babies often cry for only a few minutes a day – in contrast to Western babies, who often cry for hours each day. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby's developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones.3 Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close. |
4. Baby-wearing is healthy for you!
It can be challenging for new mothers to find time to exercise, but if you carry your baby around with you most of the day or go for a brisk walk with your baby in her sling, you will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and "weightlifting". A long walk in the sling is also an excellent way to help a tired but over-stimulated child fall asleep.
5. Toddlers appreciate the security of the sling. Slings are usually associated with infants, but they can be very useful for toddlers as well; most slings accommodate children up to 35 or 40 pounds. The world can be a scary place for toddlers, who feel more confident when they can retreat to the security of the sling when they need to do so. Toddlers often become over-stimulated, and a ride in the sling helps to soothe and comfort them before (or after!) a "melt-down" occurs. It can be very helpful in places like the zoo, aquarium, or museum, where a small child in a stroller would miss many of the exhibits.
6. Baby-wearing helps you and your baby to communicate with each other.
The more confidence we have in our parenting, the more we can relax and enjoy our children. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our baby's cues successfully. When we hold our baby close in a sling, we become finely attuned to his gestures and facial expressions. Many baby-wearing parents report that they have never learned to distinguish their baby's cries – because their babies are able to communicate effectively without crying! Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction enhances the mutual attachment between parent and child, and makes life more enjoyable for everyone.
7. Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers.
Slings are a useful tool for every adult in a baby's life. It makes me smile when I see a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby is becoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Fathers don't have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn't mean they can't make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents and all other caregivers. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!
8. Slings are a safe place for a child to be. Instead of running loose in crowded or dangerous places, a child in a sling is held safe and secure right next to your body. Slings also provide emotional safety when needed, so that children can venture into the world and become independent at their own pace.
|9. Slings are economical. Slings cost far less than strollers, front-carriers or backpacks. Many mothers consider the sling to be one of their most useful and economical possessions. Inexpensive used slings can be found in consignment and thrift stores, and new ones can be bought for about $25 -$50 (U.S.) - not bad for an item many parents use daily for two years or more! A sling can also be sewn for the price of a length of cotton, some rings and batting; sling patterns are available.|
10. Baby-wearing is fun.
Who doesn't love to cuddle a precious little baby? And when your baby is older, having her in the sling makes conversations easier and allows you to observe her reactions to the wonders of the world around her. It's also fun for baby, because when she is up at eye level, other adults notice and interact with her more. Your child will feel more a part of your life when she is in her sling, and you will find yourself becoming more and more enchanted with this special little person.
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