Babywearing is getting more and more popular in the United States. Depictions in the media are getting more common (The Simpsons, Jane the Virgin, The Hangover) and big box stores such as Target or Babies R Us are starting to carry them. It’s no wonder, as babywearing has many benefits for both baby and mom (or other primary caregivers). Wearing your baby promotes physical development as baby moves and adjusts with your movements, and provides a sense of security as s/he remains snuggled up against the warmth of your body. It offers the benefit of having baby close, while remaining hands free – whether you are doing chores, working, cooking or just hanging out.
- Happier Babies – Studies show that babies who are held against the body cry less and that is a win-win for both baby and mom. Being against mom helps a baby regulate their heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Plus the sound of mom’s breath and heartbeat are familiar and safe – especially to a newborn. Babies are also exposed to a wider variety of verbal stimulation as mom goes about her day – making for a smarter baby!
- Happier Mama – It can be exhausting trying to keep up with all the demands of a baby (or toddler) and the demands of daily life such as working, cleaning, exercising and cooking. Babywearing allows mom to meet the need for physical touch and bonding with their child at the same time. Most chores can easily be done with a child strapped to you – my son loves ‘helping’ me with vacuuming and sweeping while in his carrier, and occasionally will fall asleep in it long enough for me to get some work done on my blog (I keep a yoga ball around just for this purpose). There are even some great videos on youtube to get in a workout while wearing your little one.
- Access to Places Strollers Can’t Go – This one is huge for me. Although we do own a stroller, we use it for jogging and nothing more. Why? Wearing him is so much easier. Not only is loading up a stroller in the car a hassle, but maneuvering it around obstacles and people is a huge pain, especially if you’re in a crowd. Plus, my little guy prefers to nurse to sleep so I find I’m picking up and holding him anyways. I also love it for hiking, and find wearing him is much easier than a stroller, especially if the area is narrow.
- Also Great for Toddlers – Not only for babies, toddlers can also benefit from being worn as well. Although on the search for independence, toddlers also need to feel safe and secure, and toddler wearing can carry many of the same benefits as baby wearing. Grumpy or fussy toddler won’t take a nap? Try putting them in a back carry as you go about your business.
There are many different types of carriers available (wraps, slings, soft structured carriers, mei teis) that there is a wrap for virtually every person. Whether you are tall, short, petite, chubby, thin or anything in between, there is something available for you. And babywearing is not just for moms either – dads and other family members can benefit from it as well. Our babysitter will often put him in our Lenny Lamb soft structured carrier to help him sleep when he gets overstimulated. There is also an abundance of help available online and in person. Wrap You in Love has great tutorials and reviews, and there are many groups on facebook. Many cities have local babywearing groups were you can rent carriers to try and learn new wraps!
Babywearing, to me, has been such an amazing journey and experience. I started with a Lovey Duds stretchy wrap, and from there have expanded to woven wraps, slings, soft structured carriers and have my eye on a mai tai. It’s allowed me to keep my son close and comforted, while going about my daily life. It’s enabled me to nurse him in public without having to find a place to get comfortable. Babywearing encourages my son and I to reconnect after hours apart from work – while doing the dishes or cooking dinner. It’s allowed me to have balance between being a mother and a person. It’s allowed me to hold my son close while allowing him to explore the world. And I’m so grateful for that.
I still have a lot to learn on our babywearing journey, but I look forward to learning with my sometimes eager, and sometimes not so eager son. Which is why I’m excited to announce the launch of World Babywearing Education Day on May 26th 2016 and the inaugural WEAR: Babywearing conference. WEAR is the first even for parents and medical practitioners to come together and embrace the phychological, emotional, physical and social advantages if babywearing.
The event will take at the Westin Hotel on Michigan Ave May 27-29 in Chicago Illinois. Over 50 workshops, expert talks and fitness classes will be available. Parents who need more help will be able to get individual help in the consultation room. WEAR Babywearing conference is hoping to normalize babywearings while providing the latest research and innovation in baby wearing.
WEAR: A Babywearing Conference
Date/Time: 7am-8pm, 27th-29th May 2016
Address:The Westin Hotel, 909 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Tel: (312) 943-7200
Tickets: $40-$100 through MommyCon.com
What does babywearing do for you? Where has it allowed you to go? Let me know in the comments below.