For the first few months of a baby’s life new parents find themselves carrying their baby around for hours on end. This is because babies want to be near you, to feel you and to be held by you. Begin close provides them with a sense of safety and security.
It doesn’t take long for a new mum to get the hang of this and develop an amazing talent at doing things one handed. But there are some things that you can’t do one handed such as preparing meals, or doing the dishes or texting a friend. Plus after a while they can get very heaving no matter what you are doing. If you have a baby like my second daughter where the minute you put them down they scream life can get pretty stressful living like this.
If this is your reality then you may want to consider babywearing.
What is Babywearing?
Babywearing is not a new concept. In fact different cultures around the world have been practicing baby wearing techniques for hundreds even thousands of years. Babywearing is also an age old practice here in Australia where back in the day Aboriginal mothers used paperbark or a soft wood shaped as a long shallow dish to make their baby carriers which are sometimes referred to as a Coolamon.
Babywearing is simply carrying a baby around on your body, either in a sling or some other type of baby carrier. It has only been in the past two or so decades that babywearing has enjoyed a resurgence thanks to new developments in the design of modern baby carriers.
The Benefits of Babywearing?
There is a very long list of the benefits of baby wearing. Some of these are backed by science but most are due to the overall convenience experienced from babywearing.
Reduces crying: Some studies have shown that babies who are worn by their parents cry less. While being worn they can hear your heartbeat, they can feel your warmth and they can smell you which provides great comfort. With less crying going on they can enjoy their world around them during the day and be soothed to sleep easier at night.
Cognitive & Social Development: When babies cry less they can spend more time learning and interacting with their environment. When in a carrier they are able to be more involved in their parents’ everyday lives. Plus as a parent you are better able to respond to their cues and touch them more. All of this can enhance learning and cognitive development and overall wellbeing.
Promotes Health: There’s evidence around skin-to-skin contact and the benefits it can have on babies, especially premature babies (babies born before 37 weeks) in the hospital. Studies show that wearing baby close, particularly with a special carrier designed for skin-to-skin contact, may help regulate baby’s heartbeat, temperature and breathing patterns while they’re in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Babies love that feeling of being close to you as it is similar to being in the womb with the heartbeat sounds, the feeling of being cradled as well as the gentle swaying rhythm of you moving about.
In addition to this, babywearing can also assist with digestion and reduction of the symptoms of Flat Head Syndrome.
Assists with Breastfeeding: If you’re a breastfeeding parent and practicing baby wearing, it’s possible to breastfeed while baby is in a carrier. It can take a little bit of practice but once you get the hang of it you can do it discreetly while on the go.
Enhances Connection: Let’s face it bonding with a tiny baby can sometimes feel challenging. Even more challenging if you are the dad or other carer. The good news is the simple act of being held can help strengthen that bond and connection.
Baby wearing may also make it easier to read baby’s cues. You may be able to notice certain movements or noises that can help you work out if baby is tired, hungry or needs a nappy change.
Makes Life Easier: The beauty of baby wearing is you are able to go handsfree. The possibilities are endless and it can be so liberating to be able to nurture your baby while also getting stuff done.
Is Babywearing Safe?
As with many baby related activities there is a right way and wrong way to go about baby wearing. It is important to note that the differences between what is safe and what is not are not always obvious.
The most important safety advise is to always ensure baby’s airway is clear and that their neck and back are supported.
A great acronym to follow for safe babywearing is TICK:
T: TIGHT- baby should be upright and tight enough in a carrier that they’re held safely against you. This helps prevent accidental falls.
I: IN VIEW – baby’s face should be visible to you so you can monitor their breathing. You can also keep a better eye on your baby’s mood if you can see them.
C: CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS – when positioned correctly they should be high enough that you can lower your head and kiss the top of baby’s head with little effort.
K: KEEP CHIN OFF CHEST – when in the carrier in a good upright position with their spine curved and legs squatting there should be a gap of about two fingers wide under their chin.
S: SUPPORTED BACK – You should have your carrier tight enough that there is no gap between your baby and your body but loose enough that you can slide your hand into the carrier.
Keeping you Comfortable
And while your focus should be on your baby, be sure that the carrier feels comfortable for you as well.
Before you start to baby wear you will need to ensure the straps and buckles are in the right position for maximum comfort and ease of use. Doing this before you pop baby in can prevent back issues or other problems.
Baby wearing may not appropriate for all parents of babies, depending on different medical conditions. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your pediatrician or primary care physician.
Also, be sure to follow all instructions for your specific carrier, including weight restrictions.
What Baby Carrier is Best?
Our preferred brand of baby carrier is Ergobaby as it is the gold standard for baby carriers world wide. Plus Ergobaby have a great range of different kinds of carriers bound to suit you and your family.
To make selecting your baby carrier it is recommended that you consider the four features that matter most which are:
- Ergonomics – all Ergobaby carriers provide adequate support and ensure that baby is sitting in the correct ergonomic position for their development
- Comfort – padded straps, lumbar support and different carrying positions
- Ease of Use – easy to use straps and buckles
- Functionality – front carry, back carry, forward facing and backward facing
To check out our curated range of Ergobaby carriers and inserts CLICK HERE