As I stated last week, I’m on a mission to break down the us/them mentality that sucks the peace out of motherhood.
We need to stop reaching for parenting categories, and instead hold out a hand to the parents themselves; no matter which category they are in.
Take, for example, babywearing.
Traditionally, wearing your baby during the day is seen as “crunchy” – for a specific category of parents.
That’s a mistake.
No matter what you feed your baby, or whether there are BumGenius or Huggies under your changing station, babywearing is something that could really benefit your family.
Especially if you have a fussy high-needs baby.
Wanna know the best part about babywearing? No one is going to stand in the living room with a stop watch. You don’t have to wear your baby 24/7 unless you friggin want to!
You could wear your baby at the end of the day, when she’s starting to get overtired and needs a power nap.
Or, like you’ll see in a minute, you could plop your too-tired toddler in Dad’s carrier after supper and keep King Crankypants pacified until bedtime.
Here are 7 reasons ALL parents (regardless of pounds of granola consumed) should consider baby wearing.
All babies like to be held, but some babies like to be held all. the. time.
In fact, the “I can’t put her down or she’ll scream down the house” compliant is one of the most common comments made on Incredible Infant.
Sometimes that’s because the newborn is struggling with reflux and (having never felt pain before) doesn’t know what to do with these new, not-pleasant, sensations.
Or sometimes it’s because the newborn has a sensitive personality (like my Elena) and feels exposed and a little freaked out by the big massive world of colors and sounds swirling around her. It’s a big change after the muted quiet of the womb!
Either way, it’s a challenge. You used to have two useful arms. Now you don’t.
Fortunately, you can keep your baby calm without having to do chores with your toes.
This study I’m actually hyperlinking, found that babies who were worn for 3 hours a day cried 43% less than babies who weren’t.
What would your day feel like with 43% fewer tears?
Which carrier/wrap/sling is best? We’ve done the research! Click here to see the best of the best baby wraps, slings, and carriers.
Getting Through the “Witching Hour”
Babywearing is also a brilliant way to help get through the so-called “Witching Hour” every evening.
Rachael, who helps me here on Incredible Infant, shared that her husband will often wear their 2-year-old son when he gets crabby at night. In fact, the little tired guy has even asked “Put me on the back, please!” in order to find a calm space in the midst of chaotic siblings.
(Let’s be honest, if your baby has siblings…they are chaotic siblings. Is there any other type?)
Not only do you exhibit this zen-baby-calming aura, wearing your infant is a great way to provide comfort while you are busily going through the days tasks.
Is your infant struggling with reflux?
Being upright on you will help keep his last bottle down.
Is your baby teething?
Being close to you (or Dad) is one of the greatest soothing techniques you can offer. (Besides these other 56 teething remedies…)
No matter how old your child is, there is a natural desire to be close to mom and dad during sickness. If your baby has a fever or you know is just “off” and needs some extra cuddling, babywearing is a perfect way to meet that need without giving up on everything else.
When I was a Child Counselor for foster families oh-so-many-years-ago, baby wearing was one of the very first things I added to our therapy plan.
Because it built intimacy and helped create a connection between the child and the foster mom/dad.
If that connection can be built between neglected children and complete (yet loving!) strangers, think what it can do with your relationship!
Dads: Overcoming the Short-End of the Parenting Stick
Dads can often struggle to get caught up in the bonding game. After all, we’ve had months of prenatal bonding he’s got to catchup on. Add that to breastfeeding, and Dad can feel like the third wheel.
Help your man out by letting him wear the baby while watching TV or playing video games with friends.
Manly carriers: They do exist.
We are queens of multi-tasking, are we not? Here are just a few suggestions of things you can do while babywearing:
- potty train a toddler (because one screaming child is enough)
- put on your makeup
- achieve your dream of becoming a competitive extreme dog groomer (warning: sad-looking dogs)
- take a walk outside – strollerless *shocked silence*
- read more articles at Incredible Infant (perhaps starting with this one…?)
- do some side lunges to tone the thighs
- prepare a cold dinner (hot stoves are a no-no in babywearing)
- get your $#!&%@ meal planning done for the week
- play a video game
- enjoy a sports game
- check your Facebook Status and upload a cute baby/mama selfie!
- eat food (but don’t do this – or at least, don’t do it and get caught.)
As awesome as the Back to Sleep campaign is for preventing SIDS, it’s been rough on…brace yourself for a medical term…plagiocephaly.
Plagiocephaly is also called “Flat Head Syndrome” and it’s when your child has a flat head. (I’m so good at explaining these things…)
Here are two things you should know about Plagiocephaly before you panic:
- It’s usually not serious.
- Doctors are quick to spot it. (Again, because the head is flat.)
This is why Tummy Time is so strongly encouraged by pediatricians. Not only does it prevent plagiocephaly, it’s also a great deterrant to plagiocephaly’s close cousin: torticollis.
Babywearing is a no-brainer way to help your baby exercise his neck and shoulder muscles, preventing both plagiocephaly and torticollis and getting a solid “thumbs-up” during well baby visits.
Babywearing is like carrying a few extra weights around all day…which means that more calories burned doing the same stuff you were going to do anyway.
Grab that wrap and do some squats, lunges, yoga poses, and other “upper-body upright” kinds of moves. (No running, obviously…)
The (Cruisin’) Crib
If your newborn is struggling to get regular naps (perhaps because of reflux, or a very sensitive startle reflex), babywearing is a great way to help him lengthen out those naps.
This is especially helpful if you have older kids that have activities outside the home, making the “crib nap” more difficult.
As a certified sleep coach, I recommend that children older than 20 weeks transition to non-motion napping, since it allows their brain to avoid habituation and get into the deeper brain-building sleep their bodies need.
That said, if your baby isn’t napping well during the day, some sleep is better than no sleep!
One of the things I discuss in the Napping Know-How Webinar, is how to set up an Emergency Nap. Babywearing is perfect for those Emergency Naps!
Of course, if your baby is younger than 20 weeks, let them nap anywhere you can get them to sleep. The goal during those newborn months is simple: sleep survival!
If your 12 week old naps best in the sling or wrap, let him sleep all day in the sling or wrap. (See the best “sleepy happy” newborn wraps in this article here.)
The Hardest Part
…is knowing which carrier/sling/wrap/contraption/device is a good fit for your baby and, more importantly, your back.
Obviously, the next difficult step is to determine which wrap, sling, or carrier would fit your family best.
Let me help with that. In this post, I go through the 5 types of carriers, their pros/cons, and also the top brands reviewed for each. All the research you need in one (lengthy but helpful!) post. 🙂
Do you wear your baby during the day?
Has it changed how you parent? Has it helped? Or has it made things more difficult?
Speak your mind below!
A few little last things…
There are few other things I thought you may find helpful to know about babywearing.
- Babywearing International ~ has local chapters of moms who believe in babywearing. On the Crunchy Scale from 1 (old limp Aldi’s carrot) to 10 (organically-grown harvested-yesterday carrot) they are around an 8, FYI. Has some great information for parents just digging into this topic!
- Magic Beans ~ This is one of my favorite online baby stores and they have a good selection of slings/wraps/carriers to choose from.
- Fostering Awareness ~ I was excited to find this blog, and in particular, this post about how mom Maura used babywearing to build attachment with her foster kids.
- Zulily ~ If you’re a member of this 70% off discount club, you should stop by and see what this week’s deals are. They often have ERGO carriers at 70-80% off retail!
- Baby Recall Alerts ~ Baby wraps and carriers are regulated for safety by the CPSC. In 2014 Infantino had to recall their Hip Hammocks and other carriers due to a manufacturer defect. My readers knew about it, because I send out alerts every month. Are you on that list?
Meet Heather Taylor
Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at Incredible Infant and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She's certified in baby sleep coaching (yes, that's a real thing), has served as an Expert Parenting Panelist for numerous events, and has been a featured writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, My Kid's Adventures, Cafe Mom, and others. If it's 2am and you're desperate to read SOMETHING, click here for all her darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn't be allowed to blog.