Babywearing, or the practice of keeping your baby close to you in a carrier, is gaining momentum as the public is becoming more and more aware of the benefits. However, getting started can seem a little overwhelming with all the available options, styles of carriers and schools of thought on the “right” way to wear your baby. Here is a quick guide to get you started.
There Is No ‘Right’ Way to Wear Your Baby
Some mothers feel that they want to have their little one in a carrier as close to 24/7 as possible. Some mothers feel that a few hours a day is sufficient. Still others only wear their babies when they are out and about to keep their hands free. The bottom line is this: You have to decide how often and where you are most comfortable wearing your baby. Any amount of time they get close to you is beneficial, so don’t let anyone accuse you of ‘spoiling’ your baby. You aren’t spoiling them, you are a meeting their biological need for closeness.
Toddlers Benefit from Babywearing, Too!
There is no magical cutoff for when your baby ‘outgrows’ being worn. Many babies are happy as little clams to be worn well into their second or even third year, while some babies get squirmy the second they are able to move about on their own. Just listen to your child and trust your instincts.
Structured Carriers and Ring Slings and Wraps… Oh My!
Possibly the most overwhelming part of babywearing is choosing the right sling or carrier for you. Take a deep breath, and realize that there is no magical right answer, and that you and your baby’s preference may change over time. Here is a quick overview of the types of carriers available:
|Structured Carrier||Ergo, Beco, Mei Tais||
|Wrap||Moby, K’Tan, Sleepy Wrap||
|Ring/Adjustable Sling||Snuggy Baby, Peanut Shell Adjustable, Dr Sears||
|Pocket/Pouch Sling||Seven Slings, Original Peanut Shell||
A Few Important Reminders
- Always check your carrier’s instructions and follow them to ensure your child’s safety.
- Always ensure that your baby can breathe. This includes making sure that smaller infants’ chins are not touching their chests and that babies of any age do not have their face completely covered.
- Avoid any structured carrier that does not distribute baby’s weight across their thighs and places pressure on their hip sockets! For more information on that, please go here.
For more great information, check out these sites:
- A Nurturing Moment, Acorn Treasures (in Huntsville) and Posh Mommy and Baby (in Madison) – all of these stores have lots of info about babywearing and are always happy to help you pick your perfect carrier, learn to use it properly and answer any questions.
I hope this helps you get started and happy babywearing! It will be one of the greatest joys you will ever experience!
Ashley Sparks is a Huntsville native who came back to her hometown with her husband to raise her three kids. She is a wife, mother, nurse, and autism parent.