Written by Brandy Nichols, Contributing Writer
When I had my first child, I thought of babywearing as a way to be present for my child in a culture littered with baby-holding appliances. It seemed natural to me. I didn’t need (or have the budget for) a swing that mimicked my heartbeat. My mother-in-law gave me a ring sling as a gift and I made my first mei tai soon after. Like magic, my daughter fell asleep nearly every time I put her in either one. I didn’t understand it, but it sure was nice to feel her downy head against my chin.
Over the next year, I wore her much of the time, as first children seem to be the ones who don’t want to be put down. We did yard work, cooked (with her on the back), hung out laundry and went for walks to the store. I was able to get things done and offer the kind of presence she needed. I was also able to get her to sleep when she needed a nap. Golden.
Babywearing has many advantages, apart from the fun of choosing a carrier in your favorite color or matching your outfit to it.
Worn babies cry less.
Indigenous cultures simply don’t experience the level of crying that Western babies do. While babywearing may be practical and a matter of safety for them, it can help the rest of us, too.
You can get things done.
Once the post-partum recovery is over, you can begin working your way back to the new normal a little easier using both hands instead of one.
You can keep your baby near.
When he or she isn’t feeling well this is wonderful. You’ll be especially in tune to fevers.
Your baby will stay comfortably warm from the heat of your body in cooler weather.
Babies who are worn are less likely to have issues with weight gain. It’s wonderful for premature babies.
You can take walks for exercise without the heft (and often, poor tires) of a stroller. You can skip purchasing a stroller all together, if you want.
Worn babies are more organized.
It’s easier for them to learn in a quiet, alert state when they are carried close to you. They feel more secure and at ease in social settings.
Babywearing is a way for others to bond with and comfort your baby. Grandparents and others can share the joy of babywearing and provide comfort during times when you must be away. Likewise, you can reconnect with your baby after time away at work or otherwise.
Sources for this article:
La Leche League : Benefits of Babywearing
Ask Dr. Sears : Benefits of Babywearing
Natural Child Project : Ten Reasons to Wear your Baby
Brandy and her growing family live on a little homestead in town where they do their best with what comes their way, often with someone strapped to the back.