Babywearing, a term coined by paediatrician William Sears, is a huge phenomenon that is getting more and more popular in the Western world. It has however, been something that has been happening for thousands of years before now, and was happening all the time in other cultures around the world to help the mothers get on with their daily routine. As it increase in popularity, I wanted to get peoples opinions on babywearing – do you love or loathe? Do you think it will give you back ache? Are they just for thise with ‘alternative’ parenting methods?
Before I had any children my sister recommended I read a book called ‘The Happiest Baby on the Block’ that described the ‘Fourth Trimester’ and the theory that the first three months outside, should replicate life in the womb as much as possible. From my experience, I really agree with this theory and think that newborn babies thrive when they are gently rocked, hear and smell their mither closely and gently being ‘enclosed’ all around. So in my opinion, baby wearing is a fab way of meeting that demand, the babies need for closeness.
Are slings safe?
I think it is quite common for new parents to worry that their baby might fall out of a sling or that they wont support the baby’s head enough. A sling though is just like any other piece of baby equipment; if used correctly, it is safe. Check the guidelines on the one you have, or are thinking of getting, but you can always make sure your baby is safe by checking that your baby’s airway is open by placing them in an upright position, making sure the chin os off the chest and they are breathing without difficulty. If you use the sling to mimic the normal ‘cradle in arms’ carrying position, you can’t go too far wrong. This will help their spine and is perfectly safe.
The closeness can really help if you have a baby with colic and I think it can even help reduce post-natal depression. The closeness you will feel with your baby is lovely and so means you will bond quicker.
Are they bad for your back?
If it is a properly designed carrier it will ensure that the baby’s weight is distributed evenly across the body, then no, it isn’t bad for your back. Just make sure that the baby is snug, high and up and if they are facing you, then their legs wrapped around your body. This will help enormously and I think it’s why people still ‘wear’ their babies until they are toddler age, as it doesn’t bother them.
Will it make my child clingy?
In a word, no. Who can say what makes a child clingy? There are however on going studies* that suggest that if children have strong attachment experiences when they are young, they are more confident and secure in later life. They are babies – they’re not meant to be independent when they are a baby, so when people say you’re spoiling them when they are held, don’t worry about it, as you aren’t.
Am I a hippy if I carry my child?
You can’t seem to get away from the stereotype that parents that carry their babies are hippies and a bit weird and never use a pushchair (that’s the stereotype, not my opinion)! But really, anyone can baby wear, if they think it can benefit their child, which there is evidence to suggest it will. There are lots of different kinds of carries that you can buy to suit different aged children and suit different budgets.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to carry your baby – you could do it all the time or only occasionally. I found that things like housework, something like vacuuming, is so much easier if you’re carrying your baby. It helps to soothe so much. I have also found it useful to use whilst breastfeeding and when I had a winter baby, it helps to keep the baby much warmer when you’re out and about, than just having them in a pushchair.
What do you think to baby wearing? Like or loathe?
*Allan N. Schore, ‘Effects of a secure attachment relationship on right brain development, affect regulation, and infant mental health’, Infant Mental Health Journal, 22 (2001), 7-66