I’ve had a couple people recently ask me about using a baby sling or a baby carrier. I used them a lot with my kids. A LOT. It was one of my favourite things of early parenthood. I miss it. I was not an all day wearer, but I was an everyday wearer. Many people assume that I used them only to bond with my children because they were both adopted. Though that is an absolutely fantastic reason why I chose to use the slings and carriers, it was not the only reason why I was a babywearer. I thought I’d let you know why I’m a babywearer. Here’s why!
Bonding – Amaris was 7.5 months when she came home (and she happened to be sick and teething at that time) so we allowed for a lot of cuddling. By wearing, she could get used to our smells, heart beats, voices, body shapes and having us as her brand new parents. This was all new for her too!
Convenience – I was a brand new mom to 8 month old Amaris when the 23 month old Makaio came home. It was all hands on deck to keep up with our new toddler, so being able to carry around my daughter while still having two arms to make meals, play, do laundry, pick up toys, play to the park, get to the park, open the mail, etc. was really helpful. The ring sling was about a 60 second process to put on, get baby in there and adjust. That’s it. The ergo took more adjusting as it did have buckles and straps (and Jon and I are opposite shaped with me having a larger bust and shoulders and him with a larger middle) but I would say maybe a maximum of 2.5 minutes to put on, adjust and get baby in there.
They loved it – Makaio hated being restrained in anyway (like in a stroller) but was okay being close to us by piggy backing in a carrier. Makaio would even read a book while sitting in there! Amaris was such an incredibly content child, that she was so happy to be in a carrier and by staying but still being able to look around and engage with the world. Also great for them seeing things at adult eye level and being part of all the action, like at places like the zoo or meeting new people (who don’t know to get down at a child’s level).
It’s super comfy. For caregiver and child. We owned a Ring Sling (Maya Wrap) a Hotsling, and an Ergo (Original Ergo Carrier). The Maya is basically a big giant piece of cloth with two metal rings that wrap around your body with a shoulder pad and your baby slings in the front (kangaroo pocket style) when an younger infant, then on hip or back when older. The Ergo was more comfortable than any other anything! It was designed with EVERYTHING in mind. Since it is customizable, the support is dispursed and reduces pressure everywhere for carrier and positioning allows for baby’s weight to be held along the back of their thighs in a spread squat position which is perfect! It is 100% cotton, and since it was designed in Hawaii, made to withstand the heat. It doesn’t make you crazy sweaty. We loved the cotton factor. LOVED. And I’m partial to anything Hawaiian. The hotsling was Jon’s favorite for Amaris for the first few months she was home – it fit him and her perfectly. It is crucial you have the correct sizing for these – we did not (for me).
Beats a Stroller – It’s way easier to carry a baby on your front, side or back than it is to be rolling around a stroller in and out of stores, trying to grocery shop, taking it into church, finding a place to put it, etc. And in our case, we couldn’t afford a double stroller. We had a single stroller for the first little while. Then we got a stroller that had a little jump seat so that we were able to have both kids in one stroller at once, but was still the width of a single stroller. We used this only when necessary, but wasn’t ideal. Great in theory – not in practicality. We still ended up babywearing for a long time. We loved the combo of double babywearing at the beginning and then babywearing and walking in the later years.
Working Mom – I had started and registered my business (officially) just 4 weeks before the kids came home. I had 11 events lined up for that first summer they were home. I was at home working, and the kids were at home, and Jon was at home, and so there were times when it was really helpful for me to be able to have Amaris in a carrier for a while I worked on my floral events.
We didn’t own an infant bucket seat – so we never had Amaris in a car seat, other than in the car. So none of this car seat in the stroller thing… Aren’t car seats only supposed to be for the car? (SIDS, spine and nervous system development, lack of experiential brain development, etc.) So even back and forth to the car, or walking anywhere – which we did a lot of when we lived downtown. Useful.
Safety – Makaio had difficulty with knowing and developing safety boundaries and staying close to us at the very beginning so it was sometimes necessary that we had the extra protection of him being in a carrier so he could still experience an activity or outing (like going to the farmer’s market). A great alternative!
Divide & Conquer – A lot of the times, now, Jon and I divide and conquer when it comes to the kids. Two kids, two parents… We planned that. But at the beginning Makaio was more than just a busy two year old. Divide and Conquer wasn’t really an option. We needed a way to make two-on-one happen a little bit more frequently. He needed both parents hands on, at all times all hours of the day. So times like going to an indoor playground (like the photo above) I could still participate in the activities with Makaio by wearing Amaris in the sling.
Sleep Patterns – This is one of those things that I read, believed, and saw successful with Amaris. The relationship between day time baby wearing and sleep patterns. Enough mom and dad time during the time created enough independence and proper sleep patterns at night. I have no idea if the science behind that is true. But with the amount of quality mom and dad time that Amaris had with us by wearing her during the day while still having tummy time, learning to crawl, eating, playing, going in her jumperoo thingie, eventually cruising furniture, etc. Created a healthy balance so she’d be satisfied and secure to be sleeping on her own… Like a happy middle ground between crying it out and attachment parenting. That’s another post 😀
And here are some Other Reasons That Weren’t Reasons for Me… But Are Reasons for Some for specific and non-specific reasoning that didn’t apply to our situation and just not our opinions.
Bonding – Great bonding for dads, grandparents or other caregivers like nannys, babysitters, aunts, uncles, etc. At the beginning we only held Amaris for the first few weeks, then we slowly added in other family members – who many became big fans of babywearing!
Stimulai – Being able to easily control stimulai for infants while still being close to mom and dad.
Premature Births – Helps with the skin to skin.
Skin to Skin – For any reason, but with a bit more privacy.
Breastfeeding – Access with a bit of privacy.
Emotional – Infants development of emotional health especially at that 6-9 month age range.
Language Development – Encourages interaction and conversation with child (Was not an issue for me – I was so darn excited to have my baby I’d been waiting for, I wouldn’t stop talking to Amaris) and allows child to hear and be part of more other adult conversations to encourage more language skills.
Physical Development – promotes physical development with all of the variable motion with young infants
Exercise – Yah, it’s a little bit of work. Having a baby on your back feels good after carrying one on your front for so long.
Special Needs – Can provide infants with a tight, swaddled, deep pressure environment for sensory input.
So, that’s all my info about baby wearing. Still love it. Can’t wait for more friends and family to have babies so I can get out the ring sling and wear a baby again!
I’d love to hear a little bit about your babywearing. Why do you babywear? Why don’t you babywear? Any other reasons? Any different reasons? Did I miss any good ones?
My friend Emily, who blogs at Our Nest in the City, is doing a cloth diaper giveaway. YAY CLOTH DIAPERS! Though my kiddos are out of diapers now, I thought you may like to know about the giveaway, and what sounds like an awesome new cloth diaper company.