What is Babywearing?
Babywearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or in another form of carrier. Babywearing has been practiced for centuries around the world. In the industrialized world, babywearing has gained popularity in recent decades, partly under the influence of advocates of attachment parenting. Babywearing is a form of baby transport which can be enjoyed for as long as mutually desired, often until toddlerhood and beyond. As with any acquired skill, babywearing can take some practice in the early days, but the benefits are soon, if not immediately recognized, and it is seen by many proponents as an enjoyable and practical art.
How do I decide which baby carrier is right for me?
When I began experimenting with babywearing, I was most in love with my stretchy wrap and I think this is the best option up until 3 or 4 months. It does take a bit of getting used to as it’s a long piece of fabric that requires a bit of patience. The main thing I didn’t enjoy about the stretchy wrap is that it can get really warm with all that heavy fabric wrapped around you and your baby, which is why I landed up designing my own baby carrier to suit the hot South African weather. It also depends on the weight of your baby and how comfortable you are carrying them this way. Once baby is big enough to sit with legs in an ‘M’ shape instead of tucked up in the frog legged position, then you could consider moving to something more supportive such as a soft structured carrier.
There are currently no ‘babywearing shops’ in South Africa where you can go and try on the different types of baby carriers to see which one you prefer, however I do offer a ‘try before you buy‘ service for any Capetonian moms interested in my Ubuntu Baba baby carrier. I would also definitely recommend joining the NINO Babywearing South Africa group on Facebook. There are lots of babywearing Mama’s there who can offer advice and you can also scroll down through the feed and have a look at previous photos, questions and discussions.
How soon can I start wearing my baby?
Unless there are any underlying health conditions, most newborns can be worn immediately.
My baby was born prematurely, is it safe for me to babywear?
A group of newborn-care specialists in South America made an ingenious discovery. Some hospitals could not afford incubators and all the technology needed to care for prematures. They were forced to use the mother. These preemies were wrapped around their mothers in a sling like wrap, a custom called “packing.” To everyone’s amazement, the babies thrived as well as, or even better than, the technologically cared-for babies.
The researchers concluded that the close proximity to mother helped the babies thrive. Being close to mother entices baby to feed more frequently. Mother’s warmth kept the baby warm; mother’s movement calmed the baby, enabling the baby to divert energy from crying to growing. Mother’s breathing movements stimulated baby’s breathing, so that these babies had fewer stop-breathing episodes. Mother acted as sort of a respiratory pacemaker for baby’s breathing.
Ref: Dr Sears
Won’t I be spoiling my baby if I wear him for long periods during the day?
No, there is no such thing as spoiling your baby. This is what baby expert Meg Faure has to say on the subject:
“Until 200 years ago all babies were carried on their moms and dad, in slings and carriers. Most babies love to be carried and those who spend a lot of time in a sling or carrier around their parents’ bodies tend to cry less than those who don’t. By keeping your baby close to you, you will provide him with physical contact, security, stimulation and movement, which are all excellent conditions for his development.” Read Meg’s full article here.
Can wearing my baby help with colic or reflux?
Yes, it definitely can. Keeping your baby upright after a feed has been attributed to decreasing the effects of reflux by helping to stop the acid refluxing and your baby vomiting. As soon as your baby has settled after a feed you can put them in the wrap/carrier which will keep them in an upright position. I personally found great relief with the amount of crying as soon as I started wearing my baby.
Can wearing my baby help with winds?
Newborn babies often struggle with wind, especially if they are having trouble latching correctly and taking in extra air. By keeping them upright in a carrier after a feed, you can help relieve them of the gas. I found the simple natural movement of walking with my baby in a wrap helped to get his burps up.
Can I breastfeed while babywearing?
So this one takes some practice, but yes you definitely can. I searched YouTube for a tutorial and came across this one below which I think demonstrates quite nicely how it’s possible.