I have absolutely no idea how mothers manage without it. This is basically my response when people ask me about babywearing. Carrying my baby in a sling and carrier has helped me and my baby in so many ways and through so many days and nights. And it keeps being the most convenient baby related item in our household. There are a lot of amazing, complicated ways to tie a sling. I know exactly one of these knots. I have always chosen the more ‘easy’ carriers. So don’t worry about having to be some sort of superwoman to get this baby wearing thing going.
Over the past fourteen months I have found that babywearing has lots of advantages. These advantages are so big and profound I literally don’t know how I could have managed without it. Bold claim, I know, but seriously mamas: it can change your life. Here is why.
Attachment and Babywearing
When I was pregnant I had bought a beautiful, organic ‘Tricot-Slen’ from the brand Babylonia. I started wearing Isaya in a sling when she was a week old. A kind lady came to our house and explained to me the ‘front wrap cross carry’. She patiently explained how to tie Isaya in the sling and reassured me (multiple times) that no, she would not suffocate and yes, this was the ergonomically correct way to tie a baby on your chest. I carried Isaya for hours and hours. It was like an extended pregnancy. Because there were complications after she was born, Isaya was not able to lie on my chest the first hour after birth and we had to sleep separate the first night. This went against everything I felt and knew about attachment. Keeping her close in the sling reassured me and gave me back my confidence after feeling I had failed her those first twenty hours of her life.
Sooth and Comfort
Tummy aches or baby colic are very common in the first three months of a baby’s life. It can be exhausting to keep holding and comforting your crying baby when nothing you do seems to be working. I’m not saying that by wearing your baby you can completely skip this phase, but it definitely made it easier for me to cope. When Isaya would start her daily routine of cramping and crying I put her in the sling and started walking or dancing and singing softly to her. It calmed her down to feel me near and her tummy pulled close to me soothed the pain somehow. When Isaya was a little older we bought a Bondolino. Because the Tricot-Slen was a stretchy sling she had become too heavy at four months. You don’t have this problem with a woven sling. But I loved the stretchy material for the first few months. The Bondolino is a super easy baby carrier that enabled me to keep carrying Isaya on by chest. It kept being an amazing tool to sooth her when she felt upset.
Getting things done!
O my gosh, how do mothers that don’t carry their babies get anything done? I seriously don’t know. We have been blessed with a baby that loves to be close to us 24/7 so putting her in a playpen was rarely an option for us. But because of the baby carrier I could make dinner, clean the house, go to the bathroom, eat with two hands, be a human being basically and still have my baby with me every step of the way. My sister had her second baby this year. She told me the sling enabled her to be close to her newborn while still being able to chase around her toddler.
I often get questions about how I got fit after pregnancy. I didn’t go on a diet. I just walked with Isaya on a daily basis. I love being outdoors. Fresh air for me and my baby. And I feel like such a proud mama, carrying my baby. So, definitely another plus if getting fit after birth is something you are wondering about or struggling with. Don’t underestimate what a work-out it is to carry your baby while you are cleaning the house, doing the laundry and getting groceries. Forget lunges. Just pick up toys while you have a baby on your back!
Getting around while babywearing
When Isaya was eleven months we bought an Ergobaby, so I could wear her on my back. She was 8,5 kilos then (around 18,5 lbs) and a little too heavy for carrying her in the front carrier. She is a rather small girl, so you might feel this urge a little earlier on. I didn’t like the Bondolino as a back carrier, even though it is an option. The Ergobaby feels like a backpack and is super easy to use. I love it, I feel so free. We take a few seconds to get out of the door, I can get so much done with her on my back and she absolutely loves it. The last carrier I bought is a ring sling. It is made with a beautiful fabric and I wanted something I could use for family occasions, parties and other social events. The Diva Milano is perfect for this and I love it, but for me it’s not the most comfortable thing to wear. It has its own purpose, which is more of an esthetic one.
Baby wearing has been practiced around the world for centuries. If you are interested in this stuff, there are some amazing books available that can inform you not only about the traditions, but also about safety. As with co- sleeping I will always urge you to read more, because your babies safety comes first. I have linked some of my favorite books down below:
The Baby Book, by Dr. Sears. Also revered to as the baby bible.
The Attachment Parenting Book, also by Dr. Sears
Beyond the Sling, by Mayim Bialik