There isn’t a mother among us who hasn’t wished for an extra set of hands, which is why we love babywearing. On some days, when you’re feeding the baby in your arms with one hand and brushing your teeth with the other, parenting can feel like an Olympic sport. Between work, little ones and household chores, you seem to be always on the go. Want in on a little secret that could free up your hands – and consequently some extra time? Try babywearing.
Babywearing, the practice of literally wearing your child strapped to your chest, is as old as time in some parts of the world. Here in the U.S. it’s a trendy thing, with countless stylish baby slings flooding the marketplace. With the right carrier or wrap, you can wear your little one snug to your body while you go about your day – whether that’s typing up a proposal or putting away the dishes.
The benefits of babywearing
There are so many benefits to carrying your baby in this way and the convenience factor is just the tip of the iceberg.
- Promotes bonding: Like skin-to-skin contact, wearing your son or daughter on your chest helps soothe and calm them – and promotes attachment. He or she feels your closeness, hears your heartbeat and smells your familiar scent – all helping your little one feel safe and relaxed.
- Mimics the womb: For newborns, spending time in a sling can be a familiar feeling. They’re close to your heartbeat and snug and secure – much like they were during your pregnancy. Often, mothers report helping their little ones through a rough patch by wearing them in this way.
- Encourages you to move: With a baby strapped to your chest, you are free to go about your day as you please. Instead of holding your little one for hours on end in a rocking chair, you can get out and enjoy the day. Take a walk in the sunshine (cover that babe with a hat, of course) or do your grocery shopping. Any low-impact and gentle movement can certainly be done with baby on board this way.
- Happy babies: Pediatric research conducted in the late 1980s showed that babies who are worn cry less than babies who are not carried by sling or wrap. Being worn helps babies feel warm and secure – and with their moms right there, little ones know they have everything they need.
The right wrap
Any Internet search will yield a thousand results. From ring slings to structured carriers and more, there are as many wraps to please as many types of mothers. Our advice? Head to your local baby store. Ask a staff member to help you test out several different brands and types to see what suits your needs best. While there are countless varieties to be found online, knowing what works for you and your little one will take some trial and error. Pay close attention to age and weight requirements, as some may have a pound limit. Also be sure that each time your baby is in the sling, his or her nose and mouth are pointed upwards and in the clear.
Have you ever baby-worn? What types are your favorite and why? Tell us about why you love babywearing and your experience in the comments below!