Babywearing or baby carrying is the simplest term is the practice of keeping your child close and connected as you go through your daily activities. Baby wearing is not new. In fact, it has been around as early as before 1900s. Mothers and caretakers used a variety of carrier – long clothes, shawls, scarves or sturdier baskets to carry their little ones while they get the chores done. Babywearing has died down eventually after the introduction of strollers which offer different benefits. However, wheeled carriers are more expensive, can be bulky and inconvenient (we’re all struggling with stairs!) and also loses the benefits of skin-to-skin contact.
Thankfully, babywearing movement is regaining popularity in modern culture. Why not, aside from the very obvious benefit of freeing your hands so you can multitask, babywearing also has loads of benefits for both the baby and the wearer. Babywearing promotes stronger bonds, supports breastfeeding, can help alleviate postpartum depression, enables caregivers to finish other tasks, and can even produce happier and more confident children. A study even shows that carried children cried 43% less than those who are not. Babies need and love to be held, and snuggling your little ones is probably one of the best feelings on earth. Happy babies are also equal to happy mums, dads, or whoever is caring for them!
Understandably, safety is the most common concern for parents or caregivers when deciding to wear their babies. My take is that as long as it’s done properly and using safe wearing tools that are age and size appropriate – whether you opt for simple wraps, ring slings, pouch slings, mei tai or buckle carriers, babywearing is totally safe and beneficial.
Some of the sellers even allow rental so you can try and see what best suits you and your child. Amazon and online sellers are good places to explore. Personally, I would recommend to go to actual stores so you can try and fit different types of carriers and decide which fits your needs and preference. It’s also a fun shopping activity to do with your baby!
But before you run to the store or start scouting online, here are some do’s and don’ts to ensure a safe and pleasant babywearing experience.
Do’s & Don’ts:
- The number one rule is to make sure that your baby has a clear airway. Don’t let their chin fall to the chest or be blocked by fabrics. Baby’s head should always face up and out or resting sideways on your chest.
- Carriers should hold your baby the same way as you would. Don’t force them in unnatural positions. Proper positioning is key to comfort and safety.
- Ensure support for your baby’s head, especially for newborns. They have very delicate heads and necks that needs support and cushioning. Carry them as high as you are comfortable.
- Don’t let your baby’s legs dangle. This position can lead to hip dysplasia. Knees should be higher than their bums all the time.
- Practice putting on your carrier and use them often so you can get used and comfortable with it. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your spouse or other caregivers until you are confident.
- Don’t wear your baby while doing intense and strenuous activities.
- Read and follow safety instructions from carrier manufacturers, and make sure that you are buying from authentic sellers and distributors. Sadly, a lot of fake products are out in the market, so be extremely vigilant.
- Lastly, read and learn more about babywearing. There’s loads of information, tutorials and even forums about this wonderful topic. Information is at our fingertips. Some of my favorites forums and sellers include Babywearing International, Calin Bleu and Wrap you in Love.