Babywearing FAQ

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As proud members of Babywearing International, we appreciate the information and education BWI provides to the Babywearing community. The information quoted below can be found on their site: babywearinginternational.org

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. It is a traditional practice in many cultures that is not widely used by modern industrialized societies, but it nonetheless has many benefits for both children and caregivers. Babywearing promotes bonding, supports breastfeeding, can help combat postpartum depression, makes caregiving easier, and can be a lifesaver for parents of high-needs children. Carried babies sleep, feed, and grow better. One study found that carried 6-week-olds cried 43% less than other children.

Babywearing is not about any particular parenting philosophy and it is not about any specific carrier. It can be practiced by a wide variety of caregivers including moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, nannies, nurses, doulas; in short, anyone who cares for a newborn, infant, or toddler. There are safe and effective carrier options for every budget and taste.

Because of its many benefits for both caregivers and children, it is Babywearing International’s mission to make babywearing a universally accepted practice. For more information and assistance please visit a chapter near you or explore our site to learn more about baby wearing safety and choosing a baby carrier, or see some of our curated educational resources.

- Babywearing International, 2019

 

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BABYWEARING?

Medical professionals agree that infants thrive through touch; “wearing” your baby is another way to meet this need. The benefits of babywearing don’t end there … babywearing offers many other advantages, some of which include:

Happy Babies. It’s true … carried babies cry less! In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours. (1)

Healthy Babies. Premature babies and babies with special needs often enter the world with fragile nervous systems. When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes—walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses. Research has even shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. (2)

Confident Parents. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our babies’ cues successfully. Holding our babies close in a sling allows us to become finely attuned to their movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored, or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced for these we also need to maintain ourselves healthy as a parents, so is important parents have a active lifestyle, having a healthy diet and we can even use supplements from sites as http://tophealthjournal.com/58/rapid-tone-diet/. This cycle of positive interaction deepens the mutual attachment between parent and child, and is especially beneficial for mothers who are at risk for or suffering from postpartum depression. (3) (4)

Loving Caregivers. Baby carriers are a great bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, adoptive parents, babysitters, and other caregivers. Imagine a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby isbecoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements, and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Baby carriers are beneficial for every adult in a baby’s life. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!

Comfort and Convenience. With the help of a good carrier, you can take care of older children or do chores without frequent interruptions from an anxious or distressed infant—which helps to reduce sibling rivalry. Baby carriers are also wonderful to use with older babies and toddlers; you can save those arms and go where strollers can’t. Climbing stairs, hiking, and navigating crowded airports all can be done with ease when you use a well-designed baby carrier!

References
1 – Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A random-ized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648
2 – “Current knowledge about skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care for pre-term infants”. J Perinatol. 1991 Sep;11(3):216-26.
3 – Pelaez-Nogueras M, Field TM, Hossain Z, Pickens J. (1996). Depressed mothers’ touching increases infants’ positive affect and attention in still-face interactions. Child Development, 67, 1780-92.
4 – Tessier R, M Cristo, S Velez, M Giron, JG Ruiz-Palaez, Y Charpak and N Charpak. (1998) Kangaroo mother care and the bonding hypothesis. Pediatrics 102:e17.

 

BASIC TYPES OF BABY CARRIERS

Modern baby carriers come in a wide variety of styles to suit every taste and budget. Choosing which carrier to purchase can be an overwhelming task because there are so many excellent options in a bewildering range of styles, colors, and sizes. Most Babywearing International chapters maintain lending libraries where members and meeting attendees can try on (or borrow) a large selection of baby carriers to see what works best for them, since babies need special things to be able to be comfortable, as for playing you’ll need to get the best baby swings. Your local chapter can help you find the right carrier to meet your specific needs - or ask for help from a local babywearing friend for guidance. Do you have a Babywearing Educator nearby? These are great places to start!

 

Some Considerations when choosing the right baby carrier for your needs:

How long do you plan to babywear?
Will you use it primarily during the first few months or do you prefer a carrier that will last through the first year or even longer?

Who will use the carrier?
Will it be exclusively used by one caregiver or do you want something that can be easily exchanged between caregivers with minimal adjustment? Some carriers are size specific and cannot be shared between caregivers of different sizes whereas others can fit a wide range of individuals.

Do you want to purchase only one carrier for your entire babywearing time?
Are you open to more than one carrier for different situations, ages, and stages? Are you willing to sacrifice ease of use?

What is your budget?
Most good quality, ergonomic carriers cost between $30 and $175 so there are options at every price point. Used carriers can be a budget-friendly option too. BWI recommends purchasing a carrier from a manufacturer that complies with all United States safety standards and labeling requirements for your own safety and protection. *When not buying directly from the manufacturer, be sure the retailer you're purchasing from is an AUTHORIZED RETAILER of that manufacturer.

Never Grow Up Boutique is a PROUD AUTHORIZED RETAILER for the brands we support and carry!

Most baby carriers fall into one of five types.
Wraps, Ring Slings, Pouch Slings, Meh Dais, or Buckle/Soft Structured Carriers.

WOVEN WRAPS: Wraps are the most traditional and simple of all carriers. They come in a variety of lengths and fabrics such as knit jersey (ideal for newborns), gauze (good for warm weather), cotton, linen, wool, and other fabrics. Wraps can be used to carry an infant, toddler, or child in a variety of positions including front, hip, and (if made of woven fabric rather than knit jersey) back carries. Wraps are infinitely adjustable to meet the specific needs of the individual wearer. Learning to wrap may seem intimidating at first but can be mastered with practice. The beautiful fabrics used in many wraps make them an aesthetically pleasing style of baby carrier. Their lack of hardware makes them ideal for snuggling newborns but wraps are wonderful for babies and toddlers of any age.

 

 

A RING SLING is a modern adaptation of traditional one shoulder carries found in Mexico, Indonesia, and other cultures. A pair of metal or nylon rings are securely attached to the end of a roughly two-meter-long piece of fabric. The tail end of the sling is threaded through the rings to adjust to the wearers body. The weight of the child in the carrier secures the rings against slipping. Ring slings are available in a variety of fabrics from basic cotton to luxurious silk. The long tail of the sling can be used for many things including a sun shade, nursing cover, light blanket, or hand hold for older children when your hands are full. Ring slings are excellent for newborns and for toddlers who want quick up and down carries.

 

 

 

 

A POUCH SLING is a simple tube of fabric worn over one shoulder like a sash and used much like a ring sling but without the ability to adjust the size of the sling each time it is used. Pouch slings are sleek, easy to use, inexpensive, and convenient to stash in a diaper bag or glove compartment. However, because pouches are sized they are hard to share between caregivers and must be correctly fitted for safety and comfort.

 

 

 

The Chinese MEH DAI (pronounced “may tie” not “my tie”) is the most popular of a group of modernized traditional Asian-style baby carriers. It has a panel of fabric with two shorter straps that go around the waist and two longer straps to wrap over the shoulder. Modern meh dai i straps are often padded or made very wide (known as “wrap straps”) to provide extra comfort for the wearer and they are often made of attractive fabrics. Because they lack buckles and are tied to create a custom fit each time, meh dais are easily shared between multiple caregivers. They are easy to learn how to wear and can be used for front, back, and hip carries. Meh dais are ideal for older babies and toddlers but can also be safely used with newborns.
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SOFT STRUCTURED CARRIERS (SSCs) offer a mix of comfort, convenience and accessibility that is appealing to many caregivers. Most feature a thickly padded waistband and shoulder straps for a comfortable, ergonomic fit and can be used for front, back, and sometimes hip carries. The straps typically are adjustable for a custom fit and often these carriers have additional features such as sleep hoods, front pockets, adjustable seats, etc. SSCs have a low learning curve because they go on and off like a backpack but offer the same skin-to-skin benefits of wraps, slings, and meh dais. Some soft structured carriers may require the use of a special infant insert below a certain weight and size but most quality, ergonomic carriers can be used well into toddlerhood. There is a soft structured carrier for every taste, budget, and body type making them the most popular style of baby carrier on the market today.
 

WOVEN WRAP SIZING GUIDE

 

HELP! THIS IS MY FIRST TIME TRYING ON A BABY CARRIER AND MY BABY HATES IT!

The earlier you begin baby wearing, the more your baby is used to being worn. This makes them more adaptable to different carriers and positions. If you are starting with a newborn, you will likely experience less resistance to initially being worn than with an older, more aware baby. When first trying on your baby carrier, make sure that your baby is fed, changed and generally happy. It is highly recommended to get moving once you put your baby in the carrier - go for a walk, dance and sing, or clean your house. The more you move, the less focused your baby is on the new way you are holding them and more on the environment and motion. If movement still doesn't help, try a new carrying position. Most carriers have a variety of positions that you can carry your baby. Once understanding they are being worn, most babies love it. Rarely does a baby hate being worn, in fact, babies that are worn cry 43% less.

LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST...

BABYWEARING SAFETY