I’m betting most of you who are here know what baby wearing is. For any who don’t, baby wearing is using some type of carrier or sling to hold your baby against your body. Babies are worn a number of different ways, for many different reasons. I’ll detail some of those reasons for you, as well as discussing different types of carriers and their uses.
When your baby is born, he or she goes from a warm, perfect environment where s/he’s held 24/7 to a cool, strange environment where sometimes (maybe often?) s/he is set down alone somewhere. Some people are worried about holding their babies too much (which is absolute nonsense), but I once read somewhere that since your baby used to be held 24 hours a day, any amount of holding, even 18 hours a day, is a reduction from your baby’s point of view. Your baby wants, NEEDS, to be held — a lot. This will change, slowly, as he gets older, but while he’s little, he NEEDS you. So what are the benefits?
*Worn babies cry less
Why does the baby need to cry when he’s already with you? He can’t want to be held — he’s already being held. If he needs fed or changed, you’ll notice his early cues, so he won’t have to cry to get your attention. If he needs to sleep, he’ll probably be comfortable enough to simply drop off in his carrier.
*Worn babies are happier
It comes from having their needs met nearly instantly, but these babies are happy and quickly develop a sense of trust in their parents and environment.
*Worn babies are smarter.
Babies tend to spend more time awake and alert, according to The Baby Wearer, which is when they learn the most about their environment. It doesn’t hurt that they’re able to see a lot more from a worn position than they’d be able to see from the floor, and when they’re a bit older (3 – 4 months), they can “participate” too.
*Worn babies have better physical development
First, baby’s body regulates more easily because it picks up the rhythms of yours. But also, baby gets a chance to turn his head in the carrier, push against you with his feet and knees, push away from you with his hands, grab things if he’s facing out, etc. I’ve heard stories about people who wore their babies nearly constantly from birth and their babies walked by 9 months!
*Worn babies make it easy for moms to get things done
If your baby cries unless he’s held, you can’t get anything done if you have to sit and just hold him, and you can’t (shouldn’t) let him cry. Instead, put him in a carrier and your hands are free to fold laundry, cook dinner, or whatever else you need to do. You’re happy, the baby’s happy, and chances are, the rest of your house is happy too.
By the way, it drives me nuts when people toss a blanket over a child’s car seat and carry them everywhere in it. Then leave them sitting in it, still covered, once they’re inside the store, restaurant, etc. Pay attention to your child. Pick him up and cuddle him. Even if he is sleeping, at least uncover his face and keep him close, and once he is awake, INTERACT WITH HIM. Your baby is a person, who needs more of your attention than anyone else. Your baby is not a convenience to be shoved aside until you feel like paying attention to him. This is part of personal responsibility as a parent: take responsibility for your baby and put your own needs aside! Don’t expect some object to baby sit your child! We have WAY too many toys and seats and stuff to put babies in these days so we can ignore them and pretend they’re learning so much and they’re so happy. No. Your baby doesn’t care about shiny toys or fancy seats, he just wants you to hold him.