What is Baby-Wearing?

I “wore” all three of my children in a front carrier for varying amount of times until they were about a year old.  With my oldest and fussiest baby, it was a matter of saving my sanity.  At his fussiest times, I’d put him in his carrier and walk for hours on end (literally). It was often the only thing I could do to calm him down.  He enjoyed the closeness, hearing my voice and the movement of my walking.  Luckily, his fussiness subsided by the time he was about 6 months old and his time in a carrier decreased.  It was about this same time that his activity level increased-he was in constant motion and became far too active for the carrier.  So, sadly, his time in it was very limited from then on.

My second child was a much happier baby during the day (night-time was a different story!) and he was happy to be on the floor playing and watching his brother, in a stroller or in the carrier.  I wore him mainly out of my own convenience-for trips to the store when watching a toddler and a baby was often nerve -wracking, at the park or on walks or for his occasional fussy periods.  I enjoyed baby wearing him, but it definitely was not an everyday thing with him.

Well, along came baby number three…I think she lived in her carrier.  With a two year old and a four year old brother, I literally didn’t have enough hands to keep track of everyone.  I started putting her in there just so I knew where she was, that she was safe and happy and I had two hands free to hold the boys, make their lunch, change a diaper, or clean the house. I don’t think she was ever in a stroller when we were out.  It got to the point, that I never even removed the carrier from my body.  My friends used to laugh at me as  they’d see me driving with it still on (with the baby securely in her car seat in the back, of course) but as soon as we got to our destination, I’d take her out of her car seat and put her in her carrier.  She loved it, I loved it!   I had one hand free for each of my boys.  She was definitely my happiest, most content baby and I believe that had a lot to do with the security she felt by spending so much time being “worn”.

So, clearly, I used my carriers a lot and for different reasons, but what is Baby-wearing and why is it becoming so popular?   Baby-wearing is simply means carrying or holding a baby using a cloth baby carrier.  It is a means for parents or caregivers to hold or carry their baby while going about their daily tasks.  It frees up their hands to work, do laundry, prepare meals (keeping safety in mind), or go for a walk.  Baby-wearing has also been shown to prevent crying or soothe a fussy baby, promote parent-child attachment and promote babies development.

Some parents worry about spoiling their baby by holding him too much, but they need not worry.  Most pediatric experts agree that holding a baby in the early months meets the baby’s need to feel safe and secure.  Babies who are picked up as soon as they begin to cry tend to cry less than those whose cries are ignored.  Baby wearing is a great way to meet this

There are many different types of carriers to choose from.  Some can hold your baby on your chest, some your hip and some on your back.  When shopping for a carrier, be sure to think about the comfort of both you and your baby.  The baby should be held in a position that is similar to how you would hold him (whether it is on your hip, back or front).  Most carrier companies have weight limits, so be sure to read the manufacturers recommendations for upper and lower weight limits.  Additionally, always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines for safe use.

A great resource for baby wearing is www.babywearinginternational.orgBaby #3 in her carrier

Baby #3 in her carrier.  She was always this happy!

Babies stay little for such a short time, why wouldn’t you want to hold yours as long as you can?





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