Why wear your baby?
Babies need to be held. Their emotional, and sometimes physical, well-being depends on close contact with a loving caregiver. Being held snuggly against a parent’s body, epecially in the first few months of life, is pivotal in decreasing the baby’s stress levels. Less stress equals less crying – a good thing for both the parents and the baby.
It’s good for baby!
Babies cry less
Research has shown that babies who are worn more than three hours a day cry 43% less overall, and 54% less during the evening hours.
It’s good for baby’s mental and emotional development
Babies spend more time in a “quiet, alert state” when carried – the ideal state for learning. When carried, your baby experiences the world from where you do, instead of at knee-level from a stroller. Furthermore, research shows that carried babies are more likely to develop a strong sense of security and trust, and often become independent at an earlier age.
It’s good for baby’s physical development
Research shows that carrying babies helps newborns (especially premature babies) to adapt to life outside the womb. By being so close to mama’s body rhythms (heartbeat, breath, voice, and warmth), newborns find their “rhythm” much more quickly.
It’s good for mama!
It frees mama’s hands
Unfortunately, parents’ responsibilities don’t stop when the new baby arrives. By wearing the baby in a carrier, you are free to clean the house, prepare meals, tend to another child, shop, or attend a party, while keeping baby happy and well-rested at the same time. With a carrier, baby’s, parents’ and siblings’ needs can be met simultaneously.
It’s a simpler alternative
Wearing your baby allows you to run errands, travel on a bus or subway, eat out and enjoy the outdoors without the hassle of a stroller. No longer do you have to struggle through doorways, crowds, or up and down stairs!
Nurse your baby on the go
Newborns like to eat frequently. Many new mothers feel a bit tied down. “Baby-wearing” allows you to nurse discreetly, hands-free, while playing with older siblings, shopping, preparing meals or socializing.
Why a fabric carrier and not a front pack?
Fabric carriers distribute baby’s weight across more of the wearer’s body, providing a more comfortable carry than the narrow straps on front packs allow.
In a fabric carrier, the baby is carried in an “in-arms position.” The baby’s spine is positioned as it would be if he/she were in the wearer’s arms – snug and in full contact with the wearer’s body, with his/her legs together or wrapped around the wearer’s body. Front packs do not hold the baby close and their narrow seats cause the baby’s legs to hang down, putting unnatural pressure on the baby’s developing spine.
Better weight distribution and a fuller seat mean that fabric carriers can be used for a longer length of time. Most front packs provide a comfortable carry for a maximum of 6 months. Many fabric carriers, on the other hand, provide a comfortable carry from the baby’s first day of life to preschool!
Fabric carriers are better at soothing a crying or fussy baby. Swaddled in fabric and pulled close to the wearer’s body, the baby can burrow down to hide or be lulled to sleep.
What other factors should I consider when purchasing?
Newborns are as varied as carriers themselves. Some like to be cradled; some like to be upright; some like their legs tucked in; others like them out. You need a carrier that will grow with your child’s personality and stages of development, as well as your needs. Wraps, slings, soft-structured carriers, and mei tais, all allow you to position your baby in a variety of ways, and allow you to carry them on your front, hip and back.
Even weight distribution to the shoulders and hips.
Your baby won’t be a newborn forever. And his/her need to be held for long periods of time will not diminish until well after the first year. You need a carrier that will assist you in bearing the weight without hurting your spine. While any carrier is better than no carrier at all, fabric carriers that spread the weight across both shoulders, and especially those carriers that distribute weight to your hips, are crucial for navigating motherhood comfortably. While slings are convenient and small, they can become uncomfortable for those with back problems or when the parent will be carrying a child for a long period of time (walking around town, for instance). A carrier that distributes baby’s weight to the hips, like a mei tai, soft-structured carrier or wrap, is significantly more comfortable.