The first time I heard the term "babywearing", I was having a cup of coffee, surrounded by carriers. To me, every carrier was known to me as a Babybjörn. This Swedish baby company was a household name when it came to carriers. I had no idea that other brands existed. When I asked my husband what he thought babywearing was and we were both in stitches over the mental images we were conjuring up. Both of us were confused. So this first post, is to explain to all the mums and dads what babywearing is. It's not about what baby will be wearing for the rest of the week..
What is babywearing?
'Babywearing is the practice of keeping your baby or toddler close and connected to you as you engage in daily activities through the use of one of a variety of types of baby carriers.'
Source - Babywearing International
Babywearing is a form of baby transport. As with most things, babywearing can take some practice, but once you get the hang of it (pun intended) you will realise the benefits of having your baby close enough to kiss. This technique has been practiced for centuries around the world. Think Inuit mothers, Guatemala mamas and Benin babies. Babywearing has gained popularity and you might be surprised to learn that modern baby carriers are modeled after carriers that have been used around the world for centuries.
Who can wear a baby?
As long as the carrier fits both baby and wearer ergonomically anyone can wear a baby! Babywearing is for mums, dads, grandparents, friends, siblings (providing they are old enough), nannies or caregivers can even wear a baby. As long as they are being held and having their needs met instantly, a baby does not care who is carrying them.
NB. Baby safety is most important. While anyone can wear a baby, be sure to do it right and follow the TICKS Guidelines every time you put your carrier on.
Don’t create your own method of wrapping a baby without knowing what you’re doing. Don’t wing it. (From Mark's Daily Apple)
What are the benefits of babywearing?
There are many benefits for both baby and wearer when it comes to babywearing!
Carried babies feel more secure, cry less and learn more in their calm state (They can hear up toe 1000 words a day!)
Wearing baby in the first 3 months mimicks the womb and allows the baby to make a smooth transition into the big wide world
Points on the wearer's chest massage pressure points on a baby's abdomen that help relieve colic
Keeping baby upright in a carrier helps to suppress the burning sensation a baby gets with reflux
An ergonomic babycarrier will support a baby's spine and hip development
Carried babies are more independent in the long term
Kangaroo care is brilliant for premature babies - skin to skin, with the baby on their parent's chest and a stretchy wrap to cocoon both parent and baby
Promotes bonding with baby
Supports breastfeeding and encourages breastmilk production
Can help to fight off post natal depression
Super convenient! Gives the wearer their arms back to carry on with daily activities
Great if you have a bad back. Carrying baby close to your center of gravity helps the wearer to keep a perfect posture
Allows a new mum to get back into gentle exercise and stretchening the core muscles that have been stretched for the last few months
Allows the wearer to learn and respond to baby's cues faster
Gives you confidence as a parent
So there you have it! Babywearing in a nutshell. It is all about wearing your baby close to your heart to bond with them, to keep your hands free and to ensure they are happy, safe and content. The next blog entry will endeavor to help you wrap (another pun intended) your heads around the different techniques.
Cover image credit: Ebb and Flow