This week sees the start of the International Babywearing week.
A week long opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate and educate about the many benefits of baby wearing.
The theme for 2019 is “CONTINUING TRADITION” and I encourage you to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.
What is babywearing?
Babywearing has been practiced around the world for centuries and includes wearing your baby or toddler close to you in a sling, wrap or carrier, as you go about your day.
Babywearing has been gaining popularity in recent years as a form of attachment parenting.
The benefits of babywearing
There are many benefits to babywearing, they include :
- Good for development as a baby who is carried is closer to mom and can study facial expressions, learn language and be familiar with body language.
- Your baby may cry less and get a better quality of sleep and so improve their immune system.
- Improve bonds with siblings as parents have free hands and are able to give more attention to siblings.
- Helps premature babies gain weight and thrive as skin to skin contact is vital for babies born premature.
- Good for hips when done correctly can assist to develop strong, healthy hip joints.
- Can reduce colic as babies who are wborn tend to cry less.
- Gives parents the freedom and confidence to perform other tasks.
- Allows for a stronger bonding experience between baby and the wearer.
- Can help with post natal depression as moms feel less guilty when wearing baby.
- Keeps strangers away and stops them from just touching baby.
- Helps mom lose the baby weight as you use more energy carrying yor baby than pushing a stroller.
- Allows mom to feed on the go if you are breastfeeding.
( source : www.babywearing.org)
My babywearing journey
I started my parenting journey in 1992 and remember being given a baby carrier.
This was a simple device that clipped onto me, that I refused to use until my baby was a plump 5 months old in fear of her falling out.
Four years later as the mom of a now preschooler, a toddler and a new born I fished out the carrier again as I needed some free hands whilst shopping or cleaning the house.
I never saw this as baby wearing only as a way to free my hands to get things done.
In 2003 my youngest daughter was born and I met a fellow mom who wore her baby in bright handmade coloured slings. She seemed a bit eccentric to me.
Whilst I had a fancy pram to gently lay my baby down in she would pick up her little one and strap him to her back or slip him into his sling.
When I fell pregnant with Hamish, I had gained much more knowledge on the benefits of babywearing and my eccentric friend no longer looked so crazy.
One of my first purchases for Hamish was a ring sling.
But I broke my leg 3 weeks into our parenting journey with Hamish and spent much of his first year immobile. So baby wearing sadly did not become the part of our journey I had hoped it would be.
Still there were days when he fussed a little too much or when he was ill that I would bundle him into the sling (which I’m sure I always wore wrong)
Brent would use the sling for Hamish if we went out, keeping him close by.
Being on crutches I couldn’t carry Hamish and am greatful for the sling as it not only kept our little one safe and secure, it allowed for a stronger bond with Brent who became his primary carer if we were out.
I remember the one day in particular, Hamish hadn’t slept all day. His chest was bad and I was beginning to think he just wasn’t going to sleep at all.
The sling was in the car with Brent at work, I was stuck upstairs unable to move very far with a heavy cast on my leg and close to tears at my own frustration of not being able to stand up and rock my unhappy baby.
In desperation, I remembered my friend from so many years ago with her colourful handmade slings, grabbed a sarong and made a make shift sling to slip Hamish into.
A few seconds later, he slept for the first time in hours without fussing.
For us, baby wearing was a way to strenthen our bond, keep our little man safe and secure and to comfort him when he needed to be close to us.
Do you babywearing?