The first time I heard of “babywearing” I wasn’t pregnant. I had no clue what it meant. “Babywearing” refers to wearing your baby against your body by using a sling, wrap or carrier. Dr. Sears lauds the benefits of habitual babywearing, from the moment the child is born.
I thought, “Oh my! Carry my baby on me all the time? This sounds like a bit much.” But my perception of the term and its importance changed when I gave birth to Sky.
A few hours after Sky was born at the hospital, she had to be taken away so that doctors could check on her rapid breathing. I had a breakdown; I was filled with emptiness and a sense of helplessness, desperately needing to touch her skin, look in her eyes and feel her heartbeat. When she was finally placed back in my arms, I was at peace again. At that moment, I knew that she belonged close to me.
From when she was one month old until a year old, I often chose to carry Sky in a wrap/sling instead of using the expensive, fancy stroller we had bought her. Tim was puzzled by my decision. To him, it seemed safer to push Sky around in the stroller; I preferred to have her close to me. My mommy instincts were right: research has shown the many benefits of babywearing:
- The closeness simulates the comfort of the womb. The baby feels warmth and can hear the mother’s heartbeat.
- It creates a tangible sense of contentment, enhancing the baby’s ability to self-soothe so there is less crying and fussiness.
- The baby is exposed to more conversations that nurture speech development.
- It heightens the mom’s awareness and self-confidence, as she is able to interpret cues from the baby.
We both had the chance to experience all those sweet benefits and a few more, such as dancing to live music, cheering for Tim doing a half ironman, keeping each other warm in the chilly weather in Tokyo, and Tim and Sky also had some great “kangaroo” moments in Australia.
Sky is now 14 months old and weighs almost 23 pounds. It is harder to use the sling. Unfortunately, my back quickly gets tired when I walk with her. Most importantly she is now very excited to walk on her own. This “kangaroo” phase passed by a little too quickly, so I am glad that I “wore“ Sky as much as I could.
Moms and Dads, I strongly encourage you to give babywearing a try. A variety of great brands offer many types of slings. Find the one that works for you and carry your baby close to your heart whenever you can. Before you know it, this beautiful and intimate chapter will end, and your baby will want to start exploring the world, and we have to let them go…
It took some trial and error to figure out the best sling for us. Here are the two that met our needs well.
The first month after Sky’s birth, I was uneasy about putting her in a sling. I mostly stayed at home with her, carrying her around in my arms. However, when I discovered and tried out the Boba wrap, we both loved it. It offered a great way to have her close to me while I did some light chores around the house, read books and went for walks.
What did I like about it?
The fabric is super soft, it feels like wearing a comfy t-shirt with a baby on it. The way that it holds your baby tightly against your body feels very organic. It also provides a snuggle support for her head.
A word of caution
Be sure to correctly position the fragile legs and feet, and ensure that you can see your baby’s face at all times. If it is your first time using a sling or wrap, ask an experienced mother to show you the proper way to adjust it for a snug fit.
This video shows how to wear the wrap and this one how to safely place baby in the Boba wrap. At first, it looks a bit complicated but after a few tries it becomes easier.
I purchased and experimented with a couple of different carriers, but the Beco I borrowed from a friend suited us best.
Last year, we took Sky to Japan and Australia. We brought along our awesome Nuna stroller and the Beco carrier. Throughout both trips, we used the Beco far more than the stroller. It was very convenient and easy to get around, whether we were sightseeing, catching trains, visiting parks, dining at restaurants, watching soccer games, strolling through open markets or watching movies. We also noticed that she enjoyed observing the world form the same eye level as us. The constant bouncing motion she experienced while I was walking helped her to enjoy naps, anytime and anywhere.
What did I like about it?
The fit is perfectly snug, with no extra material. I loved the pad at the bottom of the sling, which can be folded to support the baby’s legs so they aren’t too far apart. You can also carry facing in or facing out.
A word of caution
If you are planning to wear the sling for more than an hour, put on very comfortable shoes! During an outing in Japan, I matched my outfit with cute boots that had a small heel. My lower back ached the next day! I regret not opting for sneakers.
carry your baby close to your heart
I’d love to hear your thoughts about babywearing, so let me know down below!
some dreams are worth sharing…