Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the benefits of babywearing

I wore North around like a Kangaroo carries her young, from the moment he was born until he was too heavy to cope with. But, I knew this time around I would be wearing Indigo even more because I need my hands and time free to chase her big brother around. The beauty of babywearing is that it allows you to continue with your daily rhythm and routine instead of spending endless of amount of time trying to get your baby off to sleep.
In Western society, habitual or frequent babywearing is frowned upon because it is believed that the baby will become too clingy or demanding, however I have found the case to be quite the opposite- North is an extremely independent child who from the age of about 6 months learned to "self-settle" in his cot at night quite happily without me.
Here are some of the benefits of babywearing, as listed on Instinctive Parenting.
  • promotes an intimate connection between parent and baby, and is considered one of the most important factors in the healthy physical, intellectual and social development of infants
  • promotes good digestion which is believed to greatly ease the distressing symptoms of colic and reflux
  • enables the mother to be acutely aware of her baby's cues and signals and heightens her perception of her child's needs
  • reduces crying and fussiness by up to 51%, with parents feeling more competent and nurturing toward their children
  • provides a baby with a rich learning environment where all of their most important needs can be met - food, warmth, love and touch
  • the babies learn more, stimulating brain development and expanding their future learning potential (for example watching while you cook or prepare dinner)
  • provides the exact level and kind of stimulation an infant requires, energizing their nervous system and creating a quiet, calm alertness in the infant
  • helps to develop the muscles needed for the infant to sit, stand and walk
  • babies worn in slings feel safe and secure which helps to foster a solid sense of self
  • offers easy access to the infant's food source - mothers' breast milk, without having to stop or sit down
Indigo also had a lot of those newborn stuffy snuffles and congestion for her first few weeks, and slept and breathed much easier in an upright position as opposed to on her back. We use the hug-a-bub, as well as the baby bjorn. Both are excellent and I especially love the hug-a-bub for younger infants because it is so reminiscent of the womb. The baby Bjorn is great for traveling and outings where the baby will be coming in and our of the carrier and it's easy to put on and take off.

I also have two different sized slings, but I can't seem to get the positioning right because neither of my children like it at all. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to position the baby in it?

Whatever your carrier of choice, don't be afraid to use the carrier to your heart's content. It's not just something to conveniently tote your child around in while you're outside, but a valuable tool for inside the home- whether you want to get the washing done, prepare dinner or simply rock your baby to sleep in the most comforting place she knows- your arms.



Vic said...

I've worn (and still wear) both the boys all the time. We've got a Bubba Moe sling and an Ergo and I'd recommend them both til I'm blue in the face! I still carry E in the Ergo and he's 3 and almost 19kgs! When they were newborns I used a combo of the sling and a wrap, the wrap kept them more upright which was great for A's reflux. I found the trick with the sling (for my boys) was to put it on really loosely, put the baby up over your opposite shoulder (the end where you want their head to be) then slid them in from the feet. Make sure the inside 'wall' of the sling is up high on your chest. Then tighten the sling and away you go. the Bubba Moe website has vidoes of how to use it in different hold and I'm pretty sure most slings would be the same.
Right, hows that for an essay? Off my baby-wearing soap box now :) Vic xx

Mrs B said...

I used a Hug a Bub and ABA sling when Little B was little. When he was about 1 we moved to the Ergo. Like Vic, I can still use the Ergo now and Little B is 16 kgs and 3.5. I dont even notice it.

In fact we used it yesterday. He's been really sick but I needed to get to our grocer. I didnt want him touching all the stuff so onto my back he went. He still got to have all his little chatters with the men and ladies there.

He too is very independent and mainly self settles unless sick. So I highly recommend baby wearing.

lolostavro said...

Hey Megan!

Haven't seen you in ages and ages but I love following your life in Auz and the journey of your motherhood :)

I was raised in a bjorn because I was a child who loved to be up and about and close to mom, rarely sleeping and always interested in what's going on.

As you say and contrary to much western thought I doubt it fosters dependancy or clinginess - while I am wonderfully close to my mom (after a typically tumultuous teenage time!) I have also been independent and continue to have her support while knowing that I was born and raised with a strong foundation.

Looking forward to more updates about North and Indigo and interesting tidbits about parenting and life.

Laura Stavro-Beauchamp

Ooty said...

I also use baby bjorn outside and "LOOPI" one which I highly recommend around the house - I also breastfeed with it around the house when I must spend time with my bigger one =)

eidolons said...

All of my babies have been big, so my experiences aren't necessarily "normal."

I've found that slings are most comfortable with older babies in a hip-carry. For newborns and.. well, even for my two year old, I prefer my Sleepy Wrap. It's extremely versatile.

My youngest (four months) has never liked having his legs restricted, so sling carries are limited for us.

Jgee said...

I totally hear you. Babywearing is lovely for both Mama/Dada and baby. Lenny loves his baby bjorn and so do I. It is so nice to feel connected physically while out and about, and also helps practically to have one's hands free. Totally not relevant to this post, but I thought of you when I discovered this site this morning. You may/may not be across it already:

Leslie said...

i wore my son when he was a baby because he loved it and because i had a husband overseas and a toddler that still needed me to pay attention to her. it is so nice to have hands free.

Frog, Goose and Bear said...

I LOVED using a sling for all of mine. Highly recommend. After using a few others we got the baby bjorn in the end because it was the only one that fit my husband. They designed them with the Dad in mind which I liked.

Andréann said...

I loved to wear my older and love to wear my newborn now. I use the Kangaroo wrap made by a local company here. It's long enough for my 6"5 boyfriend to wear the baby too (in the house- He's not secure enough to go in public with it for now!)

Mama Mogantosh said...

That's a gorgeous picture. I loved wearing Ivy and Ted, but have some real problems with my back, so my favourite thing was when they got big enough to go backwards in the Ergo. Loved it. Hope all's still well with your new little one. x

Linda said...

Slings are amazing, I have carried all four of my little one's in a sling and even Kye who is almost 5 years old, still loves to be carried and goes straight off to sleep:)

One pair of Hands said...

I think baby slings are a marvellous idea. Lovely contented baby, less stressed mum. Perfect.

Ellie Tat said...

Both my babies wouldn't sleep by themselves during the day, so I couldn't have done it without a carrier. You can spend only so long trying to settle unwilling baby, especially if you have another child to look after, as well. I used Baby Bjorn all the way with my son, but with my daughter my back gave in much quicker, so I had to switch to Ergo.

I've been wanting to try a ring sling(they look very comfortable for the baby to sleep in), but I've never gotten around to it. Maybe, if I have another baby, I'll get a ring sling, too. It's good to have a few different ones, as they all distribute the weight differently and you are not always using the same musles.

Mama Gone Green said...

We had to try quite a few slings with my son until we found one that he enjoyed; the kangaroo korner fleece sling. In fact, he loved it so much that it was the only thing that helped calm him down during his fussy time. My son is almost 3 now and we still use the kangaroo korner to wear him in a hip carry.
I would recommend finding a baby shop that will let you try on all of the slings they sell and seeing which one feels best for you and Indigo. Good luck!

Sarah Stewart said...

I miss having my 2 in slings. They really are too big for them now at 2 & 3! Love, love, love them though. I had a bjorn, babasling & a Kari me. Loved the Kari me. Enjoy! :)

Rebecca said...

Since my only children are of the feline variety, I have no experience in this area. But I remember seeing some reports a while back of babies who suffocated because of certain slings and/or the way they were positioned in the slings. Here's a link I found with some info:


I'm sure all things carry some risk, but you might want to use some caution...


SarahH said...

Here is a link explaining safe positioning in slings. http://www.baby-carriers-downunder.com/2010/03/14/are-baby-slings-safe-for-newborns/

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