By Fredrica Syren:
Baby wearing is an ancient practice that allows baby to be close, even feeling that skin-to-skin contact that benefits them and, at the same time, leaving Mom with free hands. Let’s face it — babies love to be held a lot. And I believe that in the first years of their lives, it’s important for them to be held a lot. However, as many know, it’s impossible to hold your baby all the time. That’s where baby wearing comes in. It is the practice of carrying a baby in some sort of wrap or carrier in a way that keeps them close, safe and promotes bonding.
With three children, I surely have used my share of different baby carriers and thought I should share a little about them.
First of all, using a baby carrier of some sort is great because you can have your hands free to do other things around the house or outside. My middle child Noah was a fussy baby who did not like to sleep or to be put down anywhere. So to get things done around the house, I would put him in a Baby Bjorn and he would zonk out and sleep while I cooked, baked and cleaned. My first child Bella just loved to be part of everything and to see what was going on, so she loved sitting facing forward, especially while out shopping. My third baby Liam has silent reflux, therefore spits up, chokes and sometimes has a hard time settling down, so I found that he loves a nice walk in a Moby wrap or baby Bjorn when outside.
There are so many proven benefits of baby wearing besides the fact that wearing our babies, as I said, leaves your hands free to do things besides hold your baby in your arms. Babies love to be held because they were held inside our wombs for 9 months before being born. They were used to hearing their mother’s heartbeat and listening to her breathe. Baby wearing is soothing, so babies cry less. The babies’ being so close also stimulates and regulates their breathing. In western countries we’re told not to spoil our children and that they need the art to self-soothing. However, constant touch is very important to human babies, and it’s been proven that the more babies are held and cuddled, the faster their neurological pathways develop after birth. A study by Columbia University showed that babies who are worn in a baby carrier, sling or wrap are significantly more likely to demonstrate a strong and secure attachment to their mothers. Baby wearing is especially good for babies with colic, reflux or digestive problems since keeping them upright can soothe them and help with digestion.
There are so many different carriers. Some, like the Moby wrap, have a learning curve but once you get the hang of baby wearing you will soon feel naked without it☺ My husband particularly loves carrying our babies in a sling, Baby Bjorn or Ergo because it helps him bond and comfort the baby on a more intimate level.
The different carriers used are listed below:
- Baby Bjorn — The most common carrier, I loved it for my all my kids for the first two months. It’s easy to use, to store, and it usually is very inexpensive. It generally lasts forever; ours has been used with three kids and still is as good as new. Once baby can keep his/her head up steady, baby can be carried facing out, which most of them really like. The only thing about Baby Bjorn is that, once my kids got heavier, around 15 pounds, it was not very comfortable to use any more.
- Moby Wrap — The design of the Moby Wrap is a long sheet that wraps around you in a special way . It has no buckles or straps and uses the entire back, as well as shoulders, to carry the weight, so it’s very comfortable. A lesson in how to use it is needed, but once you get that down, adjusting the fit is easy. It accommodates a preemie as well as a 35-pound toddler. With the Moby Wrap, you can wear baby on the front or on back. It’s very handy. This is my personal favorite, and I find it does not to bother my bad back at all.
- Ergo — This has been our favorite baby carrier because it’s very versatile and therefore works great for hiking, which we do a lot. A newborn is placed into a special infant insert, but after that stage, you carry baby heart-to-heart. You also can carry older babies and toddlers. With the Ergo, you place most weight on the hips, which is nice, especially for longer hikes or walks. We have found Ergo very easy to use.