Babywearing was a true lifesaver for me. After taking some time to figure it out, I became a huge fan. My daughter took most of her naps in the carrier until about 6 months old, and even after that, she spent a lot of time secured to my chest. Let me just say that it’s amazing the things you can do while wearing your baby!
Like I mentioned above, the number one benefit for me was that my daughter actually slept! Studies have also shown that babies who are carried cry less and tend to be more content. This can be especially helpful in that wonderful, yet exhausting, fourth trimester. It helps mom and baby develop a strong bond, which has shown to help ease postpartum depression in some moms. Some studies have even linked babywearing to improvements in the development of premature infants.
Personally, I can attribute babywearing to easing my postpartum depression in the sense that I was able to be more active. I took walks outside with our dogs, fed the horses, cleaned stalls, and worked in the garden. Not to mention all of the household chores like vacuuming, dishes, laundry, and cooking!
Babywearing is also great for traveling, keeping people’s hands away from your baby, and for nursing. It also helps partners and other family members bond with baby. My husband wore our daughter when we were out and about, and also on weekend mornings so she and I could both get some sleep!
Types of Carriers
There are different types of carriers, and I’ve found that it doesn’t hurt to have more than one. Some are a little more versatile and some are better for specific activities.
Wrap – There are both stretch wraps and woven wraps, and both consist of a long piece of fabric that wraps around you and the baby. There are several different ways to wrap and tie them, so they offer many different ways to position your baby.
Ring Sling – A ring sling goes over your shoulder and is a single piece of fabric secured by looping it through a set of rings. You can wear your baby in front or more on your hip.
Soft Structured Carrier – This carrier has straps that go over your shoulder and buckle across your back, as well as a waistband that buckles behind your back. These usually offer a lot of adjustable features so you can make sure baby is safe and comfortable as they grow. A lot of them also offer many different carrying positions like inward-facing, outward-facing, hip carrying, and even backpack style. Some also offer a wide waistband for extra lumbar support.
Mei-Tai – This is more of a hybrid between a wrap and a soft structured carrier. You can tie it in various ways like a wrap but it has four straps attached to the body of the carrier.
Baby Backpack – This is designed to wear an older baby or toddler on your back, and is a little more structured.
Insight from Other Babywearing Mommas
Some Toledo Moms’ favorite brands are Boba, Baby Bjorn, LILLEbaby, Tula, and ErgoBaby. However, there are SO many brands out there, and so many colors and designs to pick from, too. Some boutiques and big box stores allow you to try a carrier on before purchasing. And most companies offer online video tutorials to show you how to properly use their carriers. Many of our writers are fans of the soft structured carriers but started with ring slings or wraps in the newborn days. It all comes down to what you feel most comfortable and secure in, and what works best for your lifestyle.