If you’re a new parent, you’ve probably seen all sorts of cute baby slings during your baby gear adventures. There are a lot of reasons why babywearing is so popular these days and it’s not just because you can keep your baby safe while you eat, clean, write, walk or binge-watch your favorite TV show while folding laundry. The benefits of babywearing have been documented worldwide across the globe in various cultures for centuries.
I enjoyed babywearing with my boys until they were just too big and too heavy to carry. It was daunting at first! But like everything else in parenthood, after a few tries it got easier. For me personally, I could not get comfortable using a baby sling, but I did like the soft baby carriers. If babywearing is something you’re exploring, finding the style that best works for you is important.
Let’s take a look at the basics of babywearing:
A sling is a long piece of sturdy cloth that is worn over your shoulder and across your torso. Slings are best for newborns because they can nestle into the fabric. Bigger babies and toddler can use slings too by sitting in them across your hip. Larger babies and toddlers can also “sit” in the fabric like a hip carried seat.
A babywearing wrap is very similar to a sling because it’s also made from a long piece of fabric. But wraps are typically worn over both shoulders and your torso. Again, wraps are ideal for newborn and smaller babies because they can cuddle comfortably curled up in the wrap.
A baby carrier is typically made from soft padded materials with arm/leg holes and buckles. They are ergonomically correct and great for an active lifestyle that includes walking or wearing for extended periods of time. Carries are like a structured seat that your baby can sit while resting against your chest and torso.
Benefits of Babywearing
- Babywearing is a great way to bond with your baby. Bonding with your baby is an important part of emotional development for you both. When your baby is bigger she can watch and experience the world around you while being snuggled up against your body. You can walk through the house and point out various objects or take a stroll outside together.
- Babywearing is reassuring for new parents. For the first few months of motherhood, I liked knowing exactly what my baby was doing at all times, so when I wore him I knew. I could listen to him sleep or feel him move or watch him wiggle or pat his back if he was fussy. I could also tell when he was getting hungry, so I could feed him before the tears started.
- There are actually lots of babywearing benefits that extend beyond bonding and convenience. For example, studies indicate that when newborns are held close it helps them regulate physiological functions like body temperature, heart rate and breathing.
- Studies also show that carried babies cry less. One study said babies who are worn cried and fussed 43% less than babies who were only held in response to fussiness. My first baby had colic, so babywearing was helpful. In fact, I started using a carrier because I read that it might help. And it did!
Are you struggling with a colicky baby? You’re not alone. Take a look at my other posts about colic for tips about coping with it to Little Remedies® products that may help ease the symptoms.
- Positioning your newborn or small baby is important when you’re babywearing, so make sure you read instructions or watch tutorials. Your baby’s face should always be visible to make sure her airways are clear and she should be in an upright position. If someone can be with you the first few times you give it a whirl, that would be helpful. I remember my husband and I were both sweating trying to figure out how to successfully “wear” my son. It felt really awkward at first, but after a few times we got the hang of it.