As a new Mom or Dad, you probably notice that babywearing is everywhere right now. Tell you what, the latest hype in parenthood is babywearing. You still don’t believe me? Listen. There is a Facebook Group called Babywearing Swap which has more than 118,000 awesome members! Pretty big numbers for a tradition that originated in the East. And as it turns out, things that were taboo in the west back then is now different. People in the West used to think that it’s weird to strap your baby in one torso, just like what parents in the East would love to do. I guess the tables have been turned.
And there is more to it than what meets the eye. Have you seen how colorful it is? Fortunately, it comes in many patterns, from floral to animals to the extent that some of you might have a hard time choosing because it’s all beautiful! I know a lot of mothers who like collecting wrap just because they love the material, or the color, or prints! Like James Dean, it never went out of style!
But before jumping right into the hype, let’s learn some facts about babywearing just to make sure that it is completely safe for you and your little one.
How Babywearing Became the New Trend
As mentioned above, this baby sling/wrap has re-emerged as items of value, expression of identity, and a way for parents to connect, “People are not passive consumers about these things,” Djohari says. “Buying a wrap becomes a search for something extremely meaningful, with people putting in a lot of effort. It is a labor of love.” as stated by N. Djohari, an anthropology researcher at the University of London.
Why People Use Baby Sling/Wrap
According to James McKenna, an anthropology professor at the University of Notre Dame, it is natural for us humans to keep our babies close because we are “carrying” species, just like monkeys and kangaroos.
Not to mention that people have been using carriers for half a million years ago, and they were initially, they were made from animal skins, plants or leather cords.
Why People do Babywearing
It is a win-win situation for both the moms and babies! Because studies show that babies who are carried more often, cry less, and are more contented than those who are held less frequently. There is also evidence showing that babywearing promotes bonding in the mother-child relationship. How sweet is that, right?
And yeah, I know that this could be a lot of information to take in for you, so let me break the benefits Babywearing to chunks of pieces for you! Check these benefits out.
For the Baby
When you carry your baby close to you, they have a chance to be more socially engaged with you and the world. It will stimulate their senses when you bring them to a different setting. And it will also help their language skills as they hear you talking to them or another person.
2. It prevents the flat head syndrome
Have you seen a baby with a flat head and wondering why is it like that? It’s a syndrome that happens when a baby stays on their back too much until they develop a flat head. And to correct it, they must have to wear a helmet.
But the magic of preventing this lies in carrying your baby and it is here at the palm of your hands, take it or take it?
3. Baby will cry less
Less crying for baby means less stress for mommy. It also helps them to have a good sleep!
4. Baby loves it
Why? Because it reminds them of how it feels when they are inside your belly. How comfortable it is to hear your heartbeat and feel your breathing, and knowing babies, they need to feel the warmth and security that much.
5. It’s good for the hips
Hip dysplasia is when baby hips are compromised because they haven’t formed correctly, which can lead to problems such as dislocation. Luckily, babywearing has tons of use! And when done correctly, can help babies to keep their hips in a position that will promote strong and healthy hips.
For the Parents
1. It will offer you convenience and freedom
Yes, we’ve got to repeat this benefit for you to digest it properly as I know this is one of your major concerns. I mean, who can stand against a parent who needs to finish his/her grocery and attend to his/her crying baby at the same time? No one. Even Iron Man would not dare.
And if you are the type of parent who loves to do multiple things at once, then you must consider buying a baby sling!
Imagine, how are you gonna answer telephone calls, or write back your emails or check your letter if both of your hands are busy holding your little one?
When you use babywearing like a sling or a wrap, it will give both of your hands back, and it will be easier on your body too. Because carrying a baby in your arms takes 16 percent more energy than using a baby carrier like a sling. Well, that’s a good 16% off the energy we can keep!
2. It will be easy for breastfeeding moms
Breastfeeding outside your home can be quite difficult. But you have to do it to feed your little one. When you try to use a blanket to cover up, sometimes it can be hard for the baby to find and latch on correctly.
When you use a baby carrier, your baby is already in the right spot because they are already cuddled against your chest.
3. It’s good for bonding
As the saying goes, the way to a baby’s stomach is through wearing baby sling! Oops, did that hit well? Anyway, whether you are the parents, grandparents, uncles or aunties who want to form a closer bond with a baby, it’s good to try babywearing as you will feel more connected to the little one.
You can talk to them, sing, even snuggle with the baby. You can also become more in tune with baby needs.
4. You can spend more time with your spouse, or older children
The first time having a baby around is not only time and energy consuming but can also be focus on consuming. It may look like you are ignoring your spouse or older child because you are so focused on your baby.
Babywearing can solve that problem by freeing up your hands so you’ll have time to spend with your spouse and older children or even other people.
5. It’s portable
You can go anywhere while babywearing unlike when you using a stroller. I mean, walking on uneven ground is something serious, right? It can be hard to push around your stroller, or when you are on a crowded sidewalk, walking with your baby on a stroller is space consuming.
The Rules of Babywearing
There are several positions for babywearing which depends on how old your baby is because we need to consider that what works for a newborn may not work for an older baby. A newborn need head support, while an older baby will have to develop stronger bones, thus will be more independent and capable of more positions. So here are some positions:
The front carries with the baby facing in toward you.
You and your baby are always facing each other, which is good for bonding by having many eye contact and interacting.
The front carry with the baby facing out
You and your baby are not facing each other, you are facing one direction. This is good for older babies who are always curious about the world around them.
The hip carries so your baby will be at one side.
This is also for older babies who already develop stronger bones.
The back carry
The baby’s chest will always be against your back and when you walk, your baby will see what you’ll see. This is good for older babies.
And don’t forget about the efficient and effective TICKS rule!
It has to fit you tightly to keep your baby supported enough for a safe ride. If the fabric isn’t pulled tight enough when you’re wearing a wrap, your baby can shift positions and slide down, which is dangerous because it may affect its breathing. If your baby shifts too far downward, it can put unnecessary strain on your back. So make sure to pay attention.
In view always
You have to be able to see your baby’s face at all times. You shouldn’t have to push aside fabric to spot their face. If you do, that could mean they aren’t getting enough air.
Close enough for a kiss
When you’re wearing your baby on your chest, its head should be positioned close to your chin, so close that could lean your head down and kiss them.
Keep their chin off their chest
If your baby’s chin is on its chest, you need to readjust their position immediately. That can make it harder for them to breath. An easy way to check if there is enough space is to give it a hand test. If you put your hand under their chin, there should be room for at least one of your fingers between their chin and chest.
A baby’s back should be supported — you don’t want them leaning back, sagging away from you. They should be tucked up against you, with their tummy and chest touching you. If they are leaning back, slumping, it can make it more difficult for them to breath.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
At what age you have to stop carrying your baby in a sling?
Depending on the capacity of weight your carriers can hold of weights, they are usually built to support babies weighing 7 pounds to 40 pounds (3 kgs to 18 kgs).
So, most baby carriers can easily support a child who is more than 3.5 or 4 years old. But your child’s weight also matters too. However, most parents stop carrying their little one when they reach their 2nd birthday because they learn to walk by that age.
Are baby slings safe for newborns?
Yes, it is, if you follow safety guidelines. According to Mayo Clinic, a baby sling can pose a suffocation hazard to an infant, particularly those younger than age 4 months.
Babies have relatively weak neck muscles and can’t control their heads during the first few months after birth. If the baby sling’s fabric or your body presses against a baby’s nose and mouth, the baby might not be able to breathe. This can quickly lead to suffocation. A baby sling can also keep a baby curled in a C shape, making it hard for a baby to breathe.
Moreover, if you decided to put your newborn in a carrier, wait until they are capable of holding their heads high. Or choose a carrier that has a sturdy headrest where your new baby can rest its head.
Reminders when using a baby sling:
- Read the instructions. Double-check the baby sling’s weight minimum before placing your baby in it.
- Keep your baby’s airways unobstructed. Make sure your baby’s face isn’t covered by the baby sling or your body and is visible to you at all times.
- Take caution when bending. Bend at the knees, rather than at the waist, if you pick up something while holding your baby in a sling. This will help keep your baby settled securely in the sling.
- Be alert for wear and tear. Check for tears in the sling’s seams and fasteners.
On choosing the best baby sling for you…
- Always remember that brands come in different sizes, so choose one that is right for you and your baby. You have to consider your shoulder width, bust, and length of the torso.
- A brand or size that is perfect for your best friend or your sister may not be the best one for you. So, test the store!
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