Babywearing : Why and how?

Hi my lovely readers,

 

I am back from my short break :). As you all know, my little baby turned one on 24th Feb and we were busy with her birthday and also our Dubai trip. Husband and I have always been interested in exploring new places and travelling is something that refreshes our lives. So when we had to plan our baby’s first birthday, we thought why not use this opportunity and get her involved in our passion for travelling. We were obviously a little worried on how we would manage travelling and exploring places with a baby. Babywearing helped us here, so I really want to introduce this wonderful concept of babywearing to all my readers.

Read on..

What is babywearing?

Let’s start with the basics, like cloth diapering even babywearing is less explored and less popular. When I was pregnant, I had already decided to carry my baby in wraps rather than in a stroller. I wanted my baby close to me and also the hassle of managing a stroller never attracted me towards it. New moms carrying their babies in a wrap or a ring sling always fascinated me.

Babywearing is carrying your baby in a carrier mostly made up of soft breathable material. Babywearing is not new, mothers have been carrying their babies in the past also but it somehow got lost in the world of strollers and other types of modern carriers. Babywearing is again getting popular with parents wanting to go back to natural way of parenting. You can wear your baby in a saree or any other such piece of cloth like they did in the old times. But now you get a plethora of babywearing carriers which are more easy and convenient to use.

Why wear your baby?

Let’s talk about what could be the benefits of babywearing.

  1. Hands-free: When you have a baby, you always have to be by their side and it can get impossible to manage any work alone. With babywearing you can simply carry your baby and go about your day to day work or even run errands comfortably. It is a boon to the nuclear family setup we have these days, you can manage your baby and your chores just fine by wearing your baby along. The baby will be getting your comfort and you also can get time to complete your work.
  2. Soothing or comforting: Babywearing helps in soothing a baby as the baby will be close to you and can feel your warmth. It is almost like holding a baby but having your hands free. It can be a boon for parents with colicky babies who need to be held continuously for hours. There are researches showing how babywearing can boost the mental growth of babies.
  3. Great way of bonding: I cannot stress enough on this part as how babywearing can help strengthen the bond between parents and the child. It is recommended to wear sick or premature babies to help them heal faster and grow stronger. This is also called as ‘Kangaroo Care’ similar to skin-to-skin time we have with our babies.
  4. Nursing and Feeding: We can nurse discretely in a carrier, even when you are on the go. When travelling long duration or exploring new places, you can feed and make your baby fall asleep on the go in the carrier that too without having to stop or taking a break.
  5. Lightweight and compact: When you are not using the carrier, you can just fold it and pack it in your handbag. It takes very little space.
  6. Can help reduce weight (for moms :)): I am not sure how true this could be, but I feel babywearing can also help reduce weight. I have been only carrying my baby since her birth. I have lost all my pregnancy weight thanks to breastfeeding and babywearing.

Some of the types of carriers:

I am mentioning only a few basic ones here.

Wrap:

heal_wrap_1

Reference image taken from Soul

A piece of cloth which we need to wrap in a specified way to create a seat for the baby. Recommended for newborns. It has a very high learning curve, needs a lot of practice to master it.

Ring sling:

mm_ringsling_1_4

Reference image taken from Soul

A piece of cloth supported by a ring which can be adjusted to carry your baby. Recommended for newborns again. Easier to use than wraps.

Structured carriers:

DSC_077911hh

These are ready to wear buckled carriers and needs no wrapping. Easiest to use with slight adjustments to the buckles. Recommended for older babies to toddlers.

How to wear a baby:

While you decide to wear your baby, you will have to keep some points in mind.

  • Choosing an ergonomic carrier is most important. Baby’s natural positioning should be maintained in a carrier i.e. a baby in a carrier should have a deep seat to support the hips and legs should form ‘M’ position.
  • Baby’s airways should be clear and baby’s face should be visible at all times. Baby should not be pressed onto your chest or fabric of the carrier should not be blocking baby’s face.
  • Baby should be at such a height that you can easily plant a kiss on her forehead.
  • Carrier should be snugly fit around you and your baby.

Ergonomic carriers:

When it comes to babywearing, choosing a carrier that is ergonomically safe is very important. In simple words, ergonomic carrier is the one which replicates a carry similar to how we carry babies in our arms with legs forming a ‘M’ position. Refer below photos:

natural-position_1044_detail

Screen-shot-2012-01-31-at-94135-AM

Image taken from The International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

A carrier in which your baby’s legs are dangling is a big NO as the entire body weight is falling on the baby’s crotch area which on the long run will cause serious problems. Please avoid such carriers.

bond_street_er4jpg

Image taken from The International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

Things to remember while babywearing:

Getting used to a new carrier will take some time as there is a learning curve for each type of carrier. You cannot simply expect to buy a carrier and start using it right then for longer durations or expect the baby to like being carried. You and your baby will take some time to get adjusted to any carrier, so be patient and try carrying for shorter duration every day.

Please do your research and buy a carrier. There are a lot of carriers in the market and I see parents carrying their small babies wrongly in non-ergonomic carriers. The babies are not being carried there but they are just dangling onto the carriers. This is not safe for the babies and my heart aches looking at those innocent helpless babies and feel like educating the parents about the right type of carrier. Please, only buy carriers that are ergonomic, they might cost you more than the non-ergonomic ones but nothing is more important than our child’s safety.

Do not use babywearing carriers in place of car seats while travelling. Car seats are the safest for your child while travelling by car.

Hope this topic was interesting enough for you to explore the world of babywearing. Please get in touch with me if you need any help choosing carriers, I am always there to guide you 🙂

Coming up next are more detailed reviews on different carriers I have tried.

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