Babywearing Basics

Babywearing, or carrying your baby in some type of baby sling or some other type of baby carrier, is not a new practice.  Moms around the world have carried their babies, often tied to their backs with a cloth wrap, throughout the day as they work or do other day to day activities.  Nevertheless, babywearing may seem like a foreign concept for women in more industrialized countries as the concept of holding your baby throughout the day is not always seen as an acceptable way to parent a new baby.  Moms are sometimes afraid to hold their babies for too long for fear of spoiling them.   Also, our modern society often prefers convenience.  Popping baby in a baby swing certainly seems easier than carrying your baby around in a baby sling to calm her or get her to sleep.  Even though cloth slings and wraps are common place in many countries, here you don’t see as many moms wearing their baby on their backs as they go shopping or do their daily tasks.

Benefits of Babywearing

Babywearing is good for mom and good for baby.  Babies that are carried in a sling feel more secure and may bond with their moms better.  When a baby is held close to her mom, she can hear her moms heart beating and this may remind her of the womb, making her feel more comfortable.  Babywearing is great for babies that are colicky or fussy.  Fussy babies usually settle down once they are next to mom and can feel her touch.  Babies that are worn may sleep better.  Anyone that has had a baby has dealt with the baby that goes to sleep in mom’s arms, but wakes the second mom tries to put her to sleep in the crib.  Allowing baby to sleep in the sling may help baby to sleep better and stay asleep longer.

Keeping your baby in a sling is also a great way to prevent an infant problem called plagiocephaly, the technical name for the flat spots that some babies get on the back or sides of their heads.  Plagiocephaly, occurs when a baby’s head stays in one position for too long.  Babies who sit in a bouncer or swing for long periods of time may develop a flat spot.  By wearing your baby, you can keep his head from sitting in one position for too long and help keep him from developing a flat spot.

It is a lot easier to conduct your day to day routine if you can have your hands free while you carry your baby around.  With a good sling you can carry your baby and still be able to do all the things you need to do.  A baby sling is portable and convenient.  If you take your baby sling wherever you go, you never have to worry about lugging out the heavy stroller or fuss with taking your baby’s car seat in and out of the car.  Another great thing about babywearing is that you can control who is touching and handling your baby without a big deal.  When you go to the store and keep your baby facing your body inside the sling, it is a lot easier to keep strangers from trying to touch or handle your little one without first asking your permission.

Babywearing is also beneficial to premature babies and may lower their mortality rate.  In fact, many hospitals encourage a practice known as kangaroo care, which is basically babywearing with skin to skin contact between mom and baby.  Babywearing helps preemies to bond with their moms, gain weight faster, makes breastfeeding easier, and improves their overall health.  

 

Types of Slings

There are so many slings on the market.  It is a good idea to shop around and see which kind you like best.  Some slings work well for infants, and others are better for older babies and toddlers.  If you can, try more than one sling and see which one is the most comfortable for you to wear.  You should make sure that there is plenty of support for your back.  If your back is hurting while wearing your baby you may need to try a different type of sling or try wearing the sling in a different position.

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