If someone told you they knew a secret to help your baby sleep better, cry less and learn better, would you be interested?
Babywearing has been practiced for centuries. In ancient civilizations, mom needed to have baby close while tending to everyday chores, such as tending crops. In those days, Babywearing was born out of necessity for baby's survival and mom's ability to work. Today, the multitude of benefits of babywearing have made it a popular choice for today's parent.
Did you know?
Babywearing is a good way to ease your baby into sleep. One of the best ways to ease your baby to sleep is sometimes called “wearing down.” There’s nothing fancy to this baby sleep tip at all. In terms of “wearing” your baby in a wrap style baby carrier or sling, this is a proven method that is almost certain to help your baby relax and fall asleep.
Babywearing promotes strong parent attachment. A study at Columbia University compared the levels of attachment of babies carried in a baby carrier vs. babies carried in a car seat. Results indicated that, at 13 months old, babies who were carried in wearable carriers were significantly more likely to demonstrate a strong and secure attachment to their mothers (Anisfeld, Casper, Nozyce, & Cunningham, 1990).
Babywearing lowers incidence of illness. Studies have shown that babywearing is linked to lowering the incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), behavioral disorders and postpartum depression in mothers (Babywearing, 2010).
Babywearing is good for baby's mental development. Babies spend more time in a quiet, alert state when carried - the ideal state for learning. Their senses are stimulated while being carried (yet there is a place to retreat too). When carried, your baby sees the world from where you do, instead of the ceiling above his crib or people's knees from a stroller. And the extra stimulation benefits brain development.
Babywearing decreases the risk of flat head syndrome. This syndrome is caused by the babies spending too much time in car seats or sleeping on their backs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies should spend minimal amount of time in car seats when not used in a motor vehicle. Babywearing does not require babies to lie flat, thus no pressure is placed on the baby's head. Additionally, babies can be carried while they sleep, further reducing the amount of time they spend flat on their backs (Babywearing, 2010).
Worn babies also tend to cry less. Dr. William Sears often touts the benefits of babywearing and research by Hunziker and Barr (1986) found that babies who were worn regularly cried 43% less, and 54% less during the evening hours. By design, baby carriers provide babies with needed physical and emotional contact. It is speculated that because their needs for physical contact are being met, they have less need to cry than other babies. In cultures where babies are carried almost continuously, babies cry much less than those in non-carrying cultures.
What is the best way to wear your baby?
A wrap-style carrier like the Moby Wrap consists of a single piece of fabric which is wrapped around and tied in such a way that the baby is held securely against your body. The Baby K'Tan Carrier has a unique double-loop design that is a cross between a soft sling and a soft-structured front baby carrier. It has less material to wrap than the Moby Wrap, so for petite babywearers or those who want a carrier with less material to work with, the Baby K'Tan is an excellent option.
The Moby Wrap and the Baby K'Tan Carriers are both made of stretchy knitted fabric (like T-shirt material) and are available in regular or organic cotton. The main difference between the two wrap-style carriers are Moby Wraps will suit different sized wearers, while the Baby K'Tan is sized to fit one babywearer.
Soft-structured carriers like the Ergo Baby Carrier have high-density padding and straps that distribute baby’s weight between the shoulders and hips and adjust for the perfect mutual fit , so you can enjoy being close to your baby while having your hands free.
The Ergo Carrier also offers parents the option of having 2 different weights of material in their carrier, depending on the option they choose. The outdoor-style Ergo Performance Carrier is made with a durable exterior and a breathable mesh interior for ultimate outdoor performance. The Ergobaby Sport Carrier is their lightest-weight carrier. Quick-drying materials and extra venting keep you and your baby cool, calm and collected. The waist belt and shoulder straps have extra inches of padding to suit a wider range of babywearers.
What to look for when buying a baby carrier:
Size of the babywearer - do you need a carrier that can be adjusted to fit both mom and dad? If so, we recommend either the Moby Wrap or the Ergo Baby Carrier. Both can be adjusted to fit any size babywearer with very simple adjustments.
For a quick and easy wrap-style carrier, we recommend the Baby K'Tan. It's simple design allows the wearer to put it on in seconds, without the bulk of extra material. Keep in mind, this carrier is sized to fit the babywearing parent, so one size doesn't fit all.
Typical daily use - Do you walk older children to school? Do you need a free hand to chase after an older toddler all day? Do you need a carrier to help soothe a colicy newborn to sleep? Do you want to use your baby carrier to get out and about, or just for using around the house?
You may not be quite as concerned about how bulky the baby carrier is – or how well it packs up – if you're only wearing it indoors. If you want to use your baby carrier when you're out and about, however, consider one that's light and which folds up neatly like the Moby Wrap, the Baby K'Tan or the Ergobaby Sport.
Also, if you intend to spend a lot of time outdoors with your baby in a carrier, choose one that has a canopy to protect his or her head from the sun like the Ergo Baby Carrier or the UV blocking material of the Moby Wrap UV.
Will you be using your carrier at a yoga or exercise class? After a few moments in the right baby carrier, it's clear that babywearing gives you a way to comfortably carry your baby. What you might not realize is that a wrap style carrier like the Moby Wrap or the Baby K'Tan can also be part of a great workout. A wrap style carrier will distribute baby’s weight evenly distributed across your body as a functional “weight” for a workout. Baby will love the motion, you will love the comfort and exercise.
Do an internet search and you'll see that the benefits of yoga are pretty amazing. Even better, you can do yoga while babywearing with your Moby or Baby K'Tan Carrier with basic yoga poses.
Finding the best baby carrier for you can be a daunting task. It's difficult to get a good sense of which carrier is best for you until you try them on for yourself. Our Baby Product Experts at Baby & Beyond will be more than happy to show you some of our favorites - we have demos for every style of carrier in the store. Try them on with your baby and see which one works best for you and your family's lifestyle! You might just be surprised at the flexibility and freedom that comes with wearing your baby!