Welcome to my blog! I’m here to share some information I’ve learned on my babywearing journey – I want to help other parents and carers to enjoy some of the many benefits of keeping your baby close. Before I get started, for simplicity I am going to use the word “carrier” on this blog to mean any device you use to carry your baby, whether it be a wrap, sling, mei tai or structured carrier.
I think one of the greatest misconceptions about babywearing is that it is complicated, and I completely understand that, it does involve a bit of learning and can seem a bit overwhelming at first. But absolutely anyone can do it, whether you’re a first time mum, only finding out about it with your fourth child or even if you’re a grandparent wanting to bond with your beautiful grandchild. And babywearing isn’t just for “crunchy” mums or “hippies”, I wouldn’t use either of those words to describe myself – it doesn’t matter what parenting style you ascribe to, if you want to wear your baby you can!
So why babywear? There are many major selling points for babywearing, but you don’t really need any other reason than because you want to.
If you’re still not sure about it, or need to convince your husband/wife/significant other, here’s a few good reasons you might like to consider:
Having your hands free to do something other than hold your baby
Sure, snuggling your baby is one of the best parts of being a parent, but unfortunately there are many other things that need your attention, particularly if you have other children. Babywearing means you can have your hands free to get on with your day when your baby just wont be put down, or you want to keep them close to you when you’re out and about. I don’t know about you, but trying to push my enormous pram down the tiny aisles at my local IGA supermarket and only being able to buy what I could fit in the pram was one of first things that turned me towards babywearing!
Calming that fractious, unhappy baby who just wont be put down
The witching hour. Arsenic hour. Call it what you like, but there will nearly always be that one time of the day (or night!) when your baby is crying, can’t be consoled and wont let you put them down. Invariably this is time you need to make dinner or help your other children with their homework! Wearing your baby during these times can help your baby stay calm and hopefully cry less.
One of the biggest reasons I started babywearing was convenience. I lived in a house with stairs up to the front door and more stairs inside – I couldn’t just push the pram out the front door onto the footpath, and getting the pram in and out of the car was a massive pain. It was so much easier to just wrap baby up and head out for some much needed fresh air. I also had to do school pick ups and drop offs, and I soon found that babywearing was the quickest and easiest way to get this done, because let’s face it, car capsules are just not designed for comfortable carrying, and did I mention I hated getting the pram out of the car?
Bonding with your bundle
Holding your baby close to your body is an amazing bonding opportunity for you and your baby. It is also great for dads to babywear as, particularly if mum is breastfeeding, it can be hard for dad to get quality one-on-one time with bub, and sometimes mum needs a break too! Even when baby gets older, babywearing is still a great way to enjoy cuddles with your child when they start to spend more and more of their time running away from you!
That’s not an exhaustive list, and you’ll probably have your own reasons to add, but hopefully that’s enough to help you feel confident to get started.
Still not sure? Had negative comments from others? Despite people all over the world carrying their babies while they work and look after their families for eons, there still seems to be a sometimes vocal component of society that doesn’t understand babywearing and may admonish you about your choice. Whether it be your Aunt Maud, a stranger on the street, or even doubting voices in your head, here’s some myth-busting about babywearing.
Is baby safe in there?
There have been some very sad and scary stories in the media about deaths occurring as a result of babywearing, and it has rightly made people act with caution. But it is important to remember that babywearing is much like anything else with your children, if it is done correctly it is safe. The babywearing mantra is TICKS, and applies no matter what kind of carrier you are using.
Always adhere to the TICKS guidelines when babywearing, and seek advice from a more experienced babywearer if you’re unsure.
Carrying my baby all the time will spoil her
Parenting has come a long way since the 1950s when children were to be seen but not heard. It is now well understood that babies need to be responded to and held when they cry, and that carrying your baby (whether in arms or using a carrier) helps them to feel safe and secure, which is important for healthy emotional development. If you are feeling pressured to put your baby down when you don’t want to by well-meaning relatives or friends, try this line: “Food spoils, babies don’t”.
I can’t carry my baby anymore, she’s too heavy
If your child wants to be carried, there is a carrier on the market that will suit – whether you have a 3kg newborn or an 18kg pre-schooler. Chances are though, they’re not going to be the same carrier. There are so many different options on the market these days, that if you feel your child is too heavy for the carrier you are using, it is probably just time to upgrade to something more suitable for your child’s age and weight so you can continue to comfortably carry your child for as long as they will let you!
She’ll never learn to walk if you carry her all the time
Just like breastfeeding, there are people out there who seem to think that past a certain age you shouldn’t be carrying your child anymore. I’m hoping that with babywearing becoming more and more popular this opinion will start to wane, as I’ve never heard anyone comment that a child will never learn to walk if you push them around in the pram all the time!
Ready to get started? Facebook has a plethora of groups and pages dedicated to babywearing with amazing communities of people willing to share knowledge and advice with new babywearers around the globe. In Australia, check out the Baby Wearing Buy Sell Swap Facebook group for information, advice and sales of all sorts of carriers. Most Australian capitals and some regional areas have local babywearing groups that have Facebook pages and regular meet ups where you can get advice in person. Not on Facebook? There are a number of online retailers dedicated to babywearing, check out my useful links. Bricks and mortar baby stores also generally have a few different babywearing options to choose from, and staff who can show you the ropes.
Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you! Happy babywearing!