Babywearing, a necessity in cultures wherein the mother must return to manual labour almost immediately after the birth of her baby, is becoming more and more popular in the western world. Babywearing is practical, affordable (assuming you don’t develop a serious sling addiction… ahem), safe and a wonderful way to bond with your baby. I am passionate about babywearing and wanted to put together a list of all the reasons why it rocks my world!
1. It’s way easier than lugging a pushchair around. Don’t get me wrong, I love our parent-facing pushchair and it comes in very handy sometimes – like when it’s peeing down with rain and too windy for an umbrella – but trying to cart that thing around shops is a flippin’ nightmare. And don’t even get me started on using public transport with a pushchair in tow. If I had a penny for every filthy look I’ve ever gotten from a senior citizen whilst awkwardly trying to get my pushchair on board alongside all the others without crashing into anybody and whilst attempting to placate two kids, I’d be a very rich lady.
2. It’s arguable that babywearing is vital when you have more than one kid. If it wasn’t for our Kari-Me wrap (and later, the Ellaroo wrap), the first 4 months of Squish’s life would have been way more difficult than they needed to be. Babywearing leaves you hands-free to chase after older siblings, tidy up, hold hands in the street and give big cuddles.
3. Worn babies have an advantage when it comes to growth and development. Because babywearing brings the baby up to adult level, they are generally interacted with more than if they were down low in a pushchair. Also, because most babies are more content when they are being carried in a comfy sling, they spend more time in the “quiet alert” state – the optimum state for learning. In other words, they are taking it all in. Before anybody jumps down my throat, I am not trying to say that babies in pushchairs don’t grow or develop properly – of course, they do. I just personally believe that carrying them gives them a shot at *optimum* growth and development.
Read the Ellaroo Wrap Review
4. Babywearing is a great way to promote connection with your baby. The physical closeness that babywearing involves is crucial to babies’ healthy growth and development. Of course, there are plenty of ways to be close to your baby, and wearing them is just one of them. 5. Slings are generally much cheaper than pushchairs. Obviously there are some exceptions to the rule, but generally you can purchase a quality wrap, mei tai or SSC (soft structured carrier) for much less than a travel system would cost. 6. It saves you money! When I am wearing Squish around town, I am far less likely to make unnecessary purchases because I have to carry my bags, rather than just hanging them on the pushchair. For a serial impulse-buyer like myself, this is a serious plus point.
7. Babywearing facilitates good sleep. Many babies nap better and for longer when being carried in a sling. Many parents also report that their baby’s night-time sleep improves when they start carrying them in a sling during the day – Monkey’s certainly did!
8. Babywearing helps keep you fit! After all, it takes a good chunk of extra calories to lug a baby around on your back. This means you will probably lose the baby weight faster than you would have otherwise (or it means you can have extra chocolate. I bet you can guess which one I went for). Also, carrying a heavy baby around will certainly strengthen your muscles and improve your posture – providing you use a carrier that distributes the weight evenly, such as a woven wrap or a mei tai.
9. I’ve found that babywearing is a great conversation starter. Somebody usually asks me where I got my Melkaj mei tai from, or how on earth I manage to get Squishy onto my back without help. When you walk into a toddler group and you don’t know anybody, it’s always good to have some kind of talking point.
Read the Kari-Me Wrap Review
10. Babywearing is a great tool for caring for high-needs babies. High needs babies often won’t tolerate being held by anybody other than their mamas, but very few of them can resist sleep when tucked into a comfy wrap, no matter who is wearing them. This can give mama an opportunity for some well-deserved down time.
11. Babywearing makes on-the-go breastfeeding easy peasy! And for those of us who like to cover up when nursing, your wrap thrown over your shoulder works great as a cover and means you don’t have to carry anything extra around with you.
12. Worn babies tend to cry less. Research by Hunziker and Barr (1986) found that babies who were worn regularly cried 43% less, and 54% less during the evening hours. It is speculated that because their needs for physical contact are being met, they have less need to cry than other babies. Obviously there will always be exceptions, but this has certainly been the case in my experience.
13. Babywearing helps prevent over-stimulation in the baby. When worn correctly (facing inwards, on the front, back or side), the baby is able to turn their face away and switch off from the world if needs be. Babywearing can also be a fail-safe way to calm down a baby that has become overstimulated.
14. And finally… because what on earth could possibly be better than having your favourite person within easy gazing, snuggling, sniffing and kissing distance? I adored carrying Squish around as a newborn. Having his tiny little frame wrapped snugly upon my chest was the best feeling ever. Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing him on my back now he’s a great chunk of a baby, but you just can’t beat having a tiny newborn in a FWCC (front wrap cross carry), with a warm coat zipped over them, walking on a cold, wet, winter night.