What is baby-wearing?
“Baby-wearing” is the practice of carrying
babies and children. While a relatively new “trend”
in North America, mothers have been carrying their
babies and young children since the beginning of time.
What are the advantages to baby-wearing?
Convenience: Mom can get tasks done with baby happily
tucked in. Slings can double as change pads, nursing
covers and sun-shades. A babywearing mother can manage
stairs, escalators and other urban obstacles easily
and without any heavy lifting!
Bonding: Being close to your baby means you can pick
up o n her cues more readily and respond to them more
quickly. This builds the trust and understanding that
is the basis for healthy attachment.
Breastfeeding: Responding to baby’s cues is
of utmost importance in establishing breastfeeding
and a worn baby can express his needs more readily.
Many mothers also find that they can nurse in public
more comfortably with baby in a carrier.
Cost: While there are slings and carriers in every
price range, most carriers cost considerably less
than the average stroller.
Security: For both babies and toddlers, the sling
is a safe retreat when the world gets too hectic or
the situation becomes un-safe for little walkers.
Development: Babies move in the rhythm of their mother,
helping them to gain balance as well as an understanding
of the world around them.
Is it safe?
Yes, but it is not fool-proof. Most healthy babies
can be worn from birth with very few caveats, but
a few safety rules should be observed. Never let a
young baby lie in any carrier so that their chin is
against their chest Always try out a new carrier or
position in a safe place (like a bed) or with a “spotter”
With slings, always ensure that there is fabric between
your body and the child’s For safety and comfort,
ensure that your baby is close to your body and that
her knees are higher than her bum.
Won’t baby be spoiled by carrying them all
Babies and young children have a natural desire to
be close to their mothers—this makes a great
deal of sense if you consider the advantages above.
Contrary to what some believe, babies do not really
need to be “taught” to be without their
caregiver: they will venture into the world and gain
independence at the pace that is right for them. Wearing
them or not is not likely to change that pace—it
will simply make life easier for you both.
Doesn’t it hurt your back?
Not if it fits correctly—the weight should be
evenly distributed across the straps/sling without
any pinch points. One-shouldered slings can become
uncomfortable over long periods with heavier babies—try
switching shoulders or going to a two-shouldered style.
If you have particular concerns about pain and/or
weakness, be sure to get advice from an experienced
retailer or other mother to save yourself discomfort
and unnecessary expense.
How do I decide which style to get?
Consider how old your baby is, how heavy they are
and what you intend to use the carrier for. Make sure
you can bring back the carrier if it doesn’t
work for you (unwashed, of course!). You can also
try out carriers at local babywearing groups or host
a babywearing party of your own!
The ring sling is the style of sling that most of
use are familiar with a long band of fabric with two
rings at end, through which the fabric is pulled to
make a tail. Ring slings are adjustable to fit most
adults, come in padded and unpadded shoulders and
generally have a pretty short learning curve. The
disadvantages are that they can be fiddly to adjust
and some mothers find that the heavily padded styles
are uncomfortable and overly warm. Ensure that you
purchase a sling with high-quality forged aluminum
or acrylic rings and solid stitching.
The pouch sling is the simplest design—basically
a swath of fabric sown into a circle and folded in
half. The key to a pouch is to get the correct sizing—some
manufacturers also make adjustable pouches. Because
they are not adjustable, pouches generally can’t
be shared. However, for a sleek, fiddle-free carrier,
they are ideal.
A wrap is a long piece of fabric that is tied around
the wearer’s body to create a safe pouch in
which baby is slipped. While the learning curve can
be somewhat steeper than other carriers, the wrap
has the distinct advantages of being very secure and
being usable for both front and back-carries. Wraps
come in various types, the main categories being stretchy
(generally a cotton jersey) or woven (generally a
cotton weave). Stretchy wraps tend to be easier to
get on, but they tend to be less supportive for heavier
wraps can be used for heavier babies, but also tend
to be more costly.
A mei tai is a rectangle of fabric with four straps
sewn to it: two tie around the waist and the other
two loop around the shoulders to tie around the wearers
body. A mei tai allows for front and back carries,
a very secure hold for more strenuous activities and
greater comfort for long wearing because the weight
is carried on both shoulders. The disadvantages are
that a mei tai can take longer to get baby in and
out of and outward facing carries are not generally
recommended. In addition, they tend to be among the
more expensive carriers due to the construction.
Soft-Structured Carriers (SSC)
Most often referred to by their brand names (like
Ergo and Beco), these carriers can be used in much
the same way as a mei tai, but have the advantage
of using clips and straps for an ergonomic fit. For
comfort and long use, these carrier tend to get the
#1 vote from seasoned babywearers. However, some mothers
dislike the look or feel of the buckles (it can be
unflattering) and these carriers tend to be the most
expensive due to their construction.Also, these carriers
sometimes require a special insert for infant use.
For more information about babywearing and its benefits,
the go-to place for all things babywearing (info,
used carriers, help)
website for well-known pediatrician, babywearing supporter
pick up a reprint of their Babywearing Issue, a comprehensive
By Doudoubebe www.doudoubebe.com
home | shopping
| shows | tips
& articles | enter
free guide |advertise
| contact us
© The Baby and Toddler Guide