What Exactly Is Babywearing?
The Lowdown On Babywearing!
Babywearing used to be considered something only “crunchy” moms did but it has become much more mainstream in recent years. This has happened for good reason: there are so many benefits to wearing your baby!
According to a study by Hunzinker and Garr (1986), babies whose mothers were instructed to carry them for at least 3 extra hours per day cried less than babies whose mothers were not given any instruction on carrying.
It can improve the breastfeeding relationship and increase milk production. When a mother and infant are in contact, the mother releases a hormone, oxytocin, which promotes breastmilk production (Lonstein, 2007). It can also make feeding easier once you get the hang of breastfeeding while wearing because you can keep your hands free to do other tasks (like take care of your other children!).
It promotes bonding between the caregiver and baby. The same hormone that stimulates milk production also promotes bonding (Ansfield, Casper, Nozyce, & Cunningham, 1990), strengthening the connection and love you feel for your baby.
Wearing a baby can also help prevent plagiocephaly (a flat spot on the back of the head). Babies develop plagiocephaly by spending a lot of time lying on their back. By holding babies in the upright position, they will be spending less time lying flat, therefore decreasing their chances of developing a flat spot.
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In addition to the aforementioned benefits of babywearing, it can make your life a lot easier. When my daughter, Lucy, was an infant she always wanted to be held, which I was fine with, but it was hard to get simple tasks done. By wearing her, I was able to prep food, do light cleaning, and move around while she napped.
There are many different options and styles of baby carriers. I found the Baby K’tan to be perfect when she was a newborn and then we transitioned to the Ergo 360 when she was a little older. The Baby K’tan keeps the baby snug to your chest and mimics a wrap style without actually having to do the wrapping. The Ergo 360 is a carrier with multiple positions available. There is an infant insert, but I found the K’tan to be snugger. A similar brand to the Ergo is the Tula. I have heard great things about both! They are both easy to use, fit comfortably for both parents and babies, have multiple carry positions, and are machine washable.
Some people prefer to use wraps that you tie yourself or ring slings. I haven’t tried either of these so I can’t speak to them personally, but I’ve heard many recommendations for the Sakura Bloom Ring Sling and the Boba Wrap. These types of carriers are beneficial because they are strong, breathable, and adjustable. The soft fabric is blanket-like around baby but still strong enough to provide great support. I think I may give them a try for baby number two!
With all the options out there, I’m sure you can find something that works for you! By doing a little research and asking for recommendations from your friends, you will be on the path to finding the perfect carrier for both you and your baby!