Babywearing 101

Wondering if you will or how to carry your baby?  Have you considered babywearing?  We are here to help walk through reasons to wear your baby along with how to find which way of babywearing would work well for you.  Thank you to Catbird Baby for providing some helpful information.

Why Babywearing?

  • Babies need touch.  Infants need to be held nearly as often as they need food.  A new baby will bond and keep calm by the care and touch of parents.  Babywearing is a wonderful way to keep the close contact.
  • Keeps you mobile.  Babywearing allows you to meet your baby’s need for touch while also keeping you able to complete tasks and stay mobile.
  • Connecting with your baby.  Babywearing can positively combat PPD by helping baby and mom bond, while freeing moms to walk, move, and feel confident and capable in caring for their babies.
  • Strengthening baby’s core.  Babywearing helps an infant at a young age balance their body which helps them work their neck and core muscles, very similar to “tummy time” movements.
  • Visually stimulating.  Babies who are worn are at the eye level with many more things allowing them to gain more visual stimulus.Astoria_MT_BabyKids1

How to Carry your Baby

Babies come in many different sizes and forms and thus their are carries that offer variety and fit for each.  It is important to understand how you’d like to wear your baby and for what reasons.  Understanding your desired functionality from babywearing can help you decide which style and how you’d like to babywear.

  • One Shoulder.  This style allows you to carry your baby on your hip using a sling or wrap (approx 4 month old and up, necessary for good neck and head control).
  • Two Shoulders.  This allows for babies to be worn in front or on the back.  The two shoulder wrap can be done with a wrap, buckle carrier, or a mei tai.   Whether the baby sits front facing in, front facing out, or on the back looking over your shoulder, it is important to note their leg, chest, and neck positions in each carry.

Types of Carriers

  • Wraps. These are woven and stretchy, often 1 long piece of material.  The cloth wraps around the body and baby is carried inside.  It can be difficult to use the long piece if putting on outside (touches the ground), but their is wonderful weight distribution and adjustability.  Popular brands are: Moby, Boba, Girasol, Didymos, Natibaby, and Oscha.
  • Mei Tas.  The traditional Chinese wrap that takes on a Westernized style is a rectangular fabric body that has straps in four corners.  These straps tie around the waist and shoulders allowing for a quick put on as well as light but well balanced baby weight.  Popular brands are: Catbird Baby, Babyhawk
  • Soft Structured Carrier.  These carriers buckle and are usually popular with dads.  They can be harder to adjust for a variety of wearers.  Popular brands are: Catbird Baby pikkolo, Ergobaby, Beco, and Boba.
  • Ring Slings.  These are often elegant fabrics and thus easy to fold and carry compactly.  However with larger, heavier babies, they can cause back strains.  Popular brands are: Sakura Bloom and Maya Wrap

How to Decide

  • Comfort for You and Baby.  Finding a carrier that both fits your body-type and the body-types of others who may wear the carrier.  Will you and your partner be sharing the wrap, but vary significantly in height?  Also consider weather; will you want a carrier that will provided extra warmth or one that is better fit for the summer afternoon?  Also consider if the carrier allows for your baby to have a “good seat.” Are they near enough in front if you wore them to be kissed?
  • Plans for Carrying.  Do you hope to carry your baby until they are well into their toddler phase, or just as a newborn?  The versatility and longevity of a carrier is important to note as you realize what you hope to get from a carrier.
  • Ease and Position.  Will you be left to put the carrier on often alone, will you need assistance?  How quickly do you want to have your baby in a good position and in which position do you prefer to carry?  It is important to think about you and your baby and how best can you two can work together in the carrier.

In the end, carrying your baby is a wonderful choice however you chose to carry them. The much desired want for touch in a baby, as well as the ability for parents to function while holding their baby allows for much easier transition to life with a newborn.  Above all of the accessories, choices, and styles of carriers though it is most important to realize the safety while babywearing.  In every carrier keep your baby visible and kissable.  It is important to keep an open airway, thus not keeping them tucked too far down or unsupported position.  It is important to keep your baby well positioned with a high and tight position with their face uncovered.  Always be aware of the wear and tear on your carriers, rings, snaps, and straps.

wheat_mt_magento_largeTo learn more about babywearing check out the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA), and visit Catbird Baby in Chicago to try on carriers and see which one is for you.