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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Baby Wearing

For mainstream parents, the term "baby wearing" may seem very odd. Why would you want to "wear" a
baby...and HOW do you "wear" a baby?! When my son was born, I had seen the infant carriers in stores and before I gave up had tried 3-4 of them. Mainstream baby companies tend to make everything with buckles, snaps, straps, loops, and pockets to make their products more appealing. All those bells and whistles also get in the way. So I wanted to address a few pointers on baby wearing so that ALL parents can get a feel for what it is and its benefits.
Baby wearing is just like it sounds...strapping your baby onto you and going about your day. Why in the world would someone want to do this?! Here are a few reasons:
  • Baby wearing helps satisfy the baby's need for closeness, touch and affection.
  • Baby wearing promotes and strengthens parents' emotional bond with their baby.
  • The movement that naturally results from carrying your baby stimulates his neurological development.
  • Babies cry less when worn or held.
  • Holding helps regulate your baby's temperature and heart rate.
  • Baby feels more secure.
  • Baby wearing facilitates easy outings and travel.
Companies like Graco, Cosco, Fisher Price, and Safety First just LOVE pregnant women! Especially if it's your first baby. They have convinced us that we need travel systems so that we can carry our baby around in a plastic seat all day, and swings, exersaucers, play gyms, and bouncy seats. I know that there is a place for all of these. Both of my children were very active at early ages, and I could not wear them for long before they wanted down. But we think that because all of these are available, we must have them all, and from day one. Not so!
Baby wearing can be hard on you. If you start from the beginning, you will get stronger as your baby gains weight. Sort of like how we get "mommy arms" from holding and picking up children all day. It is much easier to leave your baby in swings, exersaucers, and bouncy seats, but if you want what is BEST, then spend more of your day wearing your baby and use your gadgets for moments when you are doing things that are
impossible to do while wearing your baby. If you are a working parent, it is especially important to wear your baby during the times you have together. If it is important to you, you may even be able to find a caregiver that will wear your baby during the day while you work. I have a friend who wore twins that she cared for. And you would not believe the things she could do while wearing them!
I feel it is important for moms to know about baby wearing because it would have helped me a lot when my son was born. He was a high needs baby, and wanted to be held ALL the time. He cried constantly. He would not sleep. But at that time, I wouldn't have even known what to look up on the internet for help! The carriers I tried were not working, and I tried the Nojo sling with no success, probably because I didn't have help using it. But now you can find all kinds of styles and prints of slings, and moms (and dads) are wearing their babies all kinds of ways.
So what kind of carrier do you need? I wish it were that simple. We are all made differently and want different things. Some parents like the bells and whistles on the carriers found at stores. Many parents like a simple piece of cloth that ties around in a certain way. There are so many options out there! If this is the first time you've heard of baby wearing, try a search on the term under Google or Yahoo. If you have someone close to you, it would help to try on carriers so that you can find one that is comfortable. If the first one you try isn't comfortable, try another one until you are happy. Sometimes it is just a matter of tying it differently or pulling it tighter or more loosely. Just find one that works because it is well worth it in the end!
Our thanks to Heather at Mom4Life for furnishing baby wearing pictures for this article.

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