Friday, January 15, 2010

Baby Wearing is Da Bomb



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

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.

32 comments:

Bad Dani said...

I have a ton of carriers. My favorites in order are the MamaBaby ring sling, Moby wrap, and fleece wrap. I like the feeling of the stretchier fabrics. I've tried every type of carrier and carry over the years. I still use them with my 4 and 6 year old sons when they are grumpy and need to be held.

Bonnie said...

I ♥ wearing my babies! I get to be close to them and love on them and kiss on them anytime! My favorite carriers are the Girasol wraps and Sleepy Baby Productions ring slings!

FionaJill said...

Baby wearing IS da bomb!
Here is me &my son in our half buckle Beetlebum :)

merrimum77 said...

I love wearing my babies as does my husband! When they are tiny I love moby/sleepybaby style wraps (got mine on etsy or so easy to make your own), I also made my own ring slings, fleece is nice and cozy in the winter! and when they are bigger we LOVED the Ergo. I just bought the new BOBA carrier, very much like the Ergo, and can;t wait to use it w/ baby #3.
There is nothing better than having your baby close to you all day!

Baby Girl Williams/Hernandez said...

I don't remember the name of the sling I used for my kids, but in style it was very similar to the Maya sling on your blog. It was a deep blue with white stars.

I cannot sing the praises enough for slings!! My daughter was especially "clingy"; she REALLY didn't want Mama to put her down, EVER and the sling saved my life.

We had a stroller, but maneuvering with it was always such a hassle, especially in small, confined areas.

My favorite story of my baby wearing days happened when I was in a Waldon Books in Palm Desert Mall. My daughter was about 3 months old and happily sleeping in her sling when I got into line to check out. The person in line next to me was none other than Tammy Fae Baker (I don't remember her current last name; she's too well known by that name).

Now, I'm not easily "star struck", so I just waited quietly for my turn to check out. Ms. Baker is looking around and notices me and my daughter. She asked me about the sling. I told her that out of all the gifts from my baby shower I got, this was far and away my favorite. She smiled and said that she wishes she had one when her kids were little.

I don't remember the rest of the encounter, but it was quite cordial. Oh, and yes, she does wear that much make up.

Danielle Arnold-McKenny said...

ROTF!! I had so many carriers that my husband use to tell my I should open my own rental shop!!
When we had decided that our youngest son was "the last", I started giving away carriers left right and centre. Then low and behold the universe had one more surprise for us! I'm due in around 3-5 weeks from now and this month I started digging through the very few baby things I still have in storage. I only found about 5 sleepers (those "special" ones), a small pile of receiving blankets..... but I did fine 2 ring slings, two wraps, one pouch sling and the spare rings, buckles and straps and fabrics to make at least half a dozen maitais....So I figure that I'm at least half way there!!! lol

Misty said...

Excellent post! I love baby wearing. I used the Snugli carrier and Infantino sling (I was cheap lol). I never really felt comfortable using the sling but loved the carrier. I've also tried out a moby wrap in a store and wish I would have bought it because it was really cool. I just didn't see the need to spend that much money on one at the time. Looking back now I realize it would have been worth the investment!

justme27 said...

Is your wrap a stretchy type? I'm in love with the woven ones.

When your little one starts getting even bigger...

You might consider trading in for a woven wrap. www.thebabywearer.com has used wraps and slings for much cheaper than retail. I love it.... it's mildly addicting though.

Cat said...

I love to "wear" my 6 month old daughter in the sling. I have two slings I purchased at Target, "Jelly Bean" by "Munchkin" brand. It is sooooooo much easier than hauling a car seat carrier around!

Beth said...

Too me there is nothing that looks sexier on my hubby than when he wears our baby.

I have the Ergo and I love it. My babies grow so fast (as it sounds like yours does) so the sling carrier only last a few weeks.

I have only recently learned that carrying a baby facing out is not recommended by most babywearing groups. I am kind of sad about that, but with my Ergo they can't face out anyway.

Thanks for the great post!

Toritopia said...

I didn't do baby wearing with my first, but with my second, I've been wearing him since he was born.

When he was very little, I used the moby wrap. At night when he was fussy, I would put him in the moby wrap and he would fall asleep on my chest and my hands were free to crochet or hold a book to read. It was very convenient. He didn't have to be far from mommy and I was able to comfort him and have some "me" time at the same time.

Now that he is one (and a big one year old), I alternate between the Maya Pouch for a hip hold and the Ergo baby carrier for a comfy back carry.

I love babywearing!

Samantha said...

I wish I had know about BWing 10 year ago with my oldest. I've only been doing it since my DD was born (last Feb), and LOVE it! I currently own 8 woven wraps, and LOVE them way better than the stretchy ones. I would suggest if you have a stretchy wrap, to try a woven!

Kari said...

LOVE babywearing!

I started way back in 1991 when my oldest was born. Alas, I didn't know about slings then so we used a snuggli and then transitioned to a Sarah's Ride (sort of an odd contraption that rests on the mama's hip), and then a backpack carrier.

With my middle child I used a traditional ring sling, an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder sling, and a backpack carrier.

The youngest - oh did she have the carriers! LOL We used her big sis's slings and then added in a Hmong traditional carrier and a mei tei.

I tried a wrap with my middle child and never got the hang of it and she hated it (probably due to my confusion).

I want an Ergo if I have the good fortune to have another child.

Susan said...

Have you been to www.thebabywearer.com ? It is an amazing resource. I have been wearing for almost 20 years! I can't believe it. I consider a carrier to be the most essential piece of gear a mama can have.

Lemurkinsmommy said...

I love babywearing!!! I've worn both my babies, still currently wear my 30 some pound toddler and my almmost 1 yr old baby girl! I have sooo many carriers (I own at least one of each different type :D), but my absolute faves are my didymos woven wraps, each babe has their own and they are beautiful and comfy.

choice_spirit said...

I ♥ Babywearing! I wore my son from the day we came home from the hospital, till the day he refused to be put into the carrier anymore... it was a sad day.

I always made my own wraps because I am a larger woman and all the commercial wraps were just too short. I never could love any other carrier, no matter how hard I tried.

Ashley said...

I didnt really get inot baby wearing because i bought a $30 baby wrap from toys r us and it sucked. maybe i am just doing it wrong but i do not think i am. it loosens and he starts to fall towards my knees. for my next baby i am going to just splurge the extra money for a moby wrap or the blingy one lol

Camille said...

I love wearing my little one! I wore him in nearly every sling imaginable trying to find one that we both liked. I didn't like the moby because it was too much material, so for his infancy I held him, sometimes put him in the baby bjorn. Mostly I just held him. Once he got a little older (4 months) I got a little custom made shoulder sling from e-bay and for long walks a mei tai style carrier. Now that he's a little older and heavier (21 months, 23 pounds, I make 'em small) I wear him in a BabyErgo and I think it's the best carrier on Earth. I can carry him for long stretches and long walks with zero back pain or shoulder pain!

Wendy Martijn said...

I am deeply in love with baby wearing as well! I'm about to drive my husband nuts with all the online orders for slings, wraps and the like. I personally love the pouch sling and the didymos wrap! It'll burn a nice hole in your wallet, but, come on.. when it comes to these things, it's worth it! I have a friend who still wears her 4yo in the rucksack carry with her didymos!

Joy said...

I ♥ my Moby!!! Wore baby while we shopped at the grocery store today. I LOVE how much people get a kick out of it. I will get double-takes and so many "Awwwws" from people. It just gives everyone in general a nice, warm feeling to see a mother carrying her infant as opposed to leaving them in their carrier in the cart.

Hubby hasn't tried it yet. I'll have to see if he'll try it tonight. I think it's important for Dads to wear them as well because babies weren't carried by Daddy for 9 months. They were just a fuzzy voice from The Outside. So I'm eager for him to bond in a new way with Zoë.

jessica faye. said...

I am currently 23 weeks pregnant with my first baby and am looking forward to wearing my baby! My boyfriend is also very much looking forward to wearing his son! We're both so excited to have just another way to become closer to our beautiful baby boy. :)

Anonymous said...

I have an Ergo and it's the best invention ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i-am-a-mama said...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v452/nicksilverrain/efrayim/DSC06172.jpg

very recent, i was testing this new one that I made.

back when I could still use a ring sling...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v452/nicksilverrain/efrayim/IMG_1245.jpg

Lauren F said...

Babywearing is such a lifesaver! :) It's so sweet to be that close to your babies.
Here I am using my mei tai with my oldest when she was almost 2:
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c170/lalenalove/SophieGraduation08029-1.jpg

And here is my new baby girl when she was just one day old, in my Moby D!
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c170/lalenalove/IMG_9448.jpg

Anonymous said...

Why aren't you supposed to carry babies facing out? My son liked facing out so he could see everything!

Susan said...

@Anonymous- The reasoning behind avoiding a frank front facing position has to do with stimulation. Have you noticed that when a baby is being held, and a someone walks up to talk, the babe will often hide his face against his caregiver. The same happens when a baby feels over-stimulated. If you carry full front facing, then your baby has no options for 'hiding'.
Ways to carry a baby that enjoys looking around: Hip carry, side sitting cradle, high back carry.

Back carries are fantastic. When your little one gets tired of looking they can snuggle into your back and rest. HTH!

Flame said...

I spend all my time kissing the baby's head when they're in the sling :)

osodemadre said...

I love baby wearing...its so much easier than fighting with my son to sit in the cart or holding him the whole time when we go places that have no carts. When I had my baby shower someone got my a hotslings so I tried that one, then i tried the infantino sling which I didn't like, finally i bought an ellaroo wrap and it's been my favorite. it's a lot easier to use and has more positions for carrying than the others.

Theresa MacDougall said...

I loved wearing my baby not only was I able to smell her sweet head all day I could get things done, then I could take a break and nurse while still wearing her and then continue to do my thing! I love love love it and hope when my third arrives in July that I can find my wrap and conitnue the baby wearing :)

nicole said...

oh how I love the moby. it was the best $40 I've ever spent. since I don't have a car, I can't imagine hauling a stroller everywhere. I actually get irritated by folks with gigantor strollers when we are trying to shop. I guess I am just in a baby wearing cult :D

Ally said...

I (and my husband) wear our one-year-old, and I do not understand how people parent without it. How else do you deal with a baby who wants to see everything from your level? Or when you can't take a huge stroller (like the market!)? Or when he's sleepy but can't fall asleep? Or when he's being a pain but I mean really he's nine months old and you can't lock him in another room? (that's why the back carry was invented--he's close but you don't have to deal with him). I just got a Girasol woven wrap (Felice colorway) and I'm hearting it (so beautiful! so versatile!), but I also love my mei tai. I know people love ring slings, but J never liked cradle carries and the most use it's gotten is as a sleeping hood for the wrap ;) We used our stretchy wrap a TON when he was a newborn, but when he hit about 15 pounds (oh, thirty seconds after birth) the mei tai was way more comfortable. My husband loves it--it's really his mei tai.

Melanie said...

Just had to share - was wearing my Muppet in Babys-R-Us (of doom) this weekend in our K-Tan carrier and had at LEAST 5 moms who were fighting with strollers ask me about where in the store I got it (ummm online ... no where near the travel systems ;) ). And several soon to be grandma's ask me about comfort and several dad's look longingly at my giggling Muppet in lieu of their screaming stroller bound kids. And meanwhile I'm doing a string of "excuse me. excuse me. 'scuse me" while dodging carts and strollers and being able to GO.
I told one lady who asked that we were very comfy, "it's handsfree. Like BlueTooth Baby."

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