There are certainly more than 5 reasons to use babywearing in your family, but in this guest post, Nancy Parker gives us her top five reasons. See my notes at the end of this post for additional benefits.
Is babywearing safe? Done properly and with attention to how to safely wear your baby – YES! So many mothers I work with (and when I had little ones myself) swear by babywearing. Keep up on recalls and safety precautions with carriers as with all baby products. In 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about sling carriers.
One Mom tells me, “I quickly fell in love with wrapping and how close it brought my baby and me, how hands-free I could be when I put him on my back, and how much of a supermom I felt like when I could get him to sleep anywhere at a moment’s notice by throwing him in the wrap.
I also loved the puzzles of learning new carries with my wrap and the sense of accomplishment at getting a nice tight wrap and mastering a new style for the first time. The more we wore, the more patient he was with me while I learned, the more patience I had with him with sleeping and eating, AND I could get things done around the house while simultaneously snuggling my baby and bringing him comfort. I even took him to work with me for the first six months of his life and [babywearing] made that possible!
Having a second baby only 21 months later means that babywearing is a part of our daily (hourly?) routine. I can play with the toddler or take him to the park with my infant snuggled in on my chest or back and can nurse discreetly while still chasing after the two-year old. We never feel stuck at home and I rarely lug along a bulky stroller (although it certainly has it’s place as well).”
Here are 5 Reasons to Use Babywearing
Baby backpacks, wraps and carriers that hold the child close to the mother are garments that have been in use by many cultures for many years. It’s not only a practical way of keeping the baby within range of a parent, but it can provide a greater method of bonding between the parent and child. This activity can be beneficial to both the parent and the child in several ways.
1. Comforting for Baby
Some may view babywearing as a method of spoiling the child. The world is a big and scary place for a baby and being close to the parent provides a greater level of comfort. The more comfort the baby experiences, the less he or she is prone to emotional outbursts and the more securely he can step out into life later. In fact, parents who wear their child regularly have mentioned how the baby is far less fussy than before. Is it spoiling a child to give them that sense of comfort?
2. Comforting for Parents
One of the most nerve-wracking moments in a parent’s life is when an older child is out of eyesight and the parent doesn’t know where the he or she is. For those who wear the child, there is no fear of where the baby is. He or she is nestled next to the parent comfortably. Many parents of newborns also feel reassured by having their babies close by to feel their breathing and to enjoy watching them.
One Mom says: “Breathing in that sweet baby smell or snuggling a toddler reminds me how much I love being a mom and attached to my babies.”
3. Convenience of Being Hands-Free
Some situations may require your hands being free. Whether you are out in public or completing some chores around the home, having your hands free to complete tasks while your child is strapped to your back can be quite convenient. Whether you are visiting the zoo, walking through the park, or finishing a load of dishes, babywearing can keep the child calm while you are unhindered. [Leah’s note: babywearing can be a dream for allowing you to use the bathroom, too! Have you ever tried pulling your pants up with one hand while holding a sleeping baby in the other?]
4. Burning Calories
Those who practice babywearing can attest to the strain on a body to carry the additional weight. As time progresses, the child grows adding more weight that you need to support. Some people will spend money on leg and wrist weights in order to provide the same kind of muscle toning you could get from simply carrying your child around like luggage. In fact, you could go so far as to make a kind of callisthenic workout doing squats and such with the additional weight of your child. Just remember to be safe – jumping jacks and the like are too much for a baby to handle. [Leah’s note: I’d also add that wearing your baby builds and strengthens your BABY’S muscles. As you move around, an older baby uses his muscles to stabilize himself and adjusts his posture with your movements. These position changes benefit the baby all as you do your daily routines.]
5. More Enjoyable Experiences
We love our children, but how often is a movie or dinner ruined by a baby becoming fussy? Although babywearing may not quell all of the instances of fussiness, babies are less likely to become anxious when they are close to Mom or Dad. Even a baby who is fussy due to hunger can be discreetly nursed within a wrap or carrier. As a child grows, the bond between the parent and the child grows, too, through the use of babywearing. You’re demonstrating that you’ll always be there and that the child can rely on you when things get scary. While some may view it as spoiling, others see it more of a way to reinforce a family bond. For the baby, every circumstance is a new experience and it could be greatly overwhelming if the child doesn’t feel safe.
Nancy Parker is a regular contributor to www.enannysource.com and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, parenting, child care, babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some additional benefits to babywearing:
- Putting baby next to Mom’s heartbeat and skin brings both amazing comfort – close to Mom is where baby is often happiest
- Dads can babywear, too! It’s an amazing way for fathers to feel connected and close to their babies and kiddos, too!
- Carry two kids at once – toddler and baby, or twins
- You can get tons done even when baby is fussy while comforting her at the same time
- Simultaneously chase a toddler and snuggle a baby
- Nurse without having to sit down and take a break from where we are or what we’re doing
- Magically make a baby or toddler fall asleep
- She’s working on her muscles in the carrier, even if you forget tummy time, she’s still “working out”
- Leave the enormous double stroller at home
- Get all the way through the grocery store with calm baby and free hands to shop
- Babies that are frequently worn often show developmental milestones earlier and develop a secure attachment to mama/daddy that fosters independence and exploration.
- Another resource to check out: Babywearing 101
Many thanks to my friend, Angie Howard-McParland and her babies for her babywearing expertise, tips and photos! Thanks, too, to Laura E-O!
One type of wraps I like – especially for summer months is Wrap n Wear