Monday, August 20, 2012

Baby Wearing Basics

Today I'm going to tell you why baby wearing is a great idea, what to look for in a carrier, and what to stay away from! I started wearing my daughter when she was just 2 weeks old ( that's when I first ventured out of the house, while at home we just sat on the couch with her attached to my boob), and to this day I still prefer wearing her than pushing her around in a stroller. My girl was an easy newborn, and I give full credit to constant baby wearing and breastfeeding on demand.

There's this thing called "The Fourth Trimester" if you think about just the words, it doesn't make sense. But, when you start to contemplate what those words actually mean... it makes a whole lot of sense. What are newborns? defines the word as "recently or just born". I, personally, define it as this little blob of a baby who cries, nurses, and has absolutely no idea what's going on. For the past 9 months (give or take a few days/weeks) your baby has been snuggled warm inside your womb, curled up in a little ball always hearing your heartbeat and feeling your body heat. Then you deliver, and the poor thing is cold, and hungry, and no longer has the comfort of hearing your heart, and feeling your warmth. That's what baby wearing is for in the first three months, to make the transition to the outside world easier.

There are few things to keep in mind when you're choosing a carrier to try out. I say try out, because just because you like it, and the carry options it provides, doesn't mean your baby will like that particular carrier. Example: My bean hates the Moby, to this day if I try to put her in the Moby wrap I have she freaks the freak out. My Ergo carrier however, has been her favorite carrier ever since the first time I put her in it. So, back to things to keep in mind...

Babies naturally are in a froggy position. That means legs spread apart, knees up towards their chest, and their spine is in a C formation. As they grow and their muscles develop their back straightens out.

Your baby should be carried in it's natural position. There are carriers out there, usually ones that allow forward facing, that don't support your baby in it's natural positioning. Not only is this uncomfortable for baby to be in an unnatural position for an extended period of time, it can also cause damage to how their body develops.
[Credit: International Hip Dysplasia Institute]

Not to mention the fact that as much as you claim that your baby may love facing outwards, that's not recommended. Lets put the bad body positioning aside and look at the fact that if you child gets overstimulated they have no way to hide from it. With baby facing you they can take a break from the world if they need to, and yes, the can still look around by turning their little adorable heads side to side.

I realize I've just thrown a crapton of information at you. Lets recap real quick:
1. No forward facing. In other words no facing away from you.
2. You want baby to be straddling you, and their knees inline or above their hips when in the carrier.
3. Your child may not like every carrier you put them in.

Why do I love baby wearing? That's easy.
If my baby's fussy, or in one of her "I must be attached to my momma" phases, I can put her in one of the two carriers we have that she likes and keep going about my business. It also calms her down very quickly. If she's refusing to nap, it never fails that if I put her in a carrier she'll quickly settle down and fall asleep. I also love that I can easily nurse her when she's in our Ergo carrier, and I don't have to take her out for her to "grab a quick snack".

It was much easier to wear her when we were out and about when she was little, especially when going to museums or the aquarium, than it was to bring the stroller everywhere. I didn't have to wait for a large enough gap to push the stroller through, I could squeeze into places I never would've made it into if I had her in the stroller. Plus it was nice to have her right next to me. I know it was a huge comfort for both of us to be able to feel and smell the other one.

All you moms know what I'm talking about when I say that giving up the privacy of being pregnant, all those little nudges and hiccups that we felt and didn't have to share with the whole word yet. You can have those secret moments back when you baby wear.

Now that my little bean is a crazy toddler who runs all over the place, I still prefer baby wearing to bringing the stroller out with us. She likes to walk! It's much more convenient to roll up whichever carrier I have that day and stick it in the diaper bag and let her walk around while holding my hand, than it is to hold onto her, while she's walking, with one hand and steer the empty stroller with the other hand. Try adding shopping into that mix, and it's a big old mess. If she gets tired of walking out comes the carrier and in she goes. Usually if this happens she passes out in the carrier within minutes.

There are so many pros to baby wearing! Just do your research, make sure the carrier supports your baby's natural positioning, and don't give up if your child doesn't like the first one you try out. I would definitely make sure you know the return policy for the carrier so you can return it if it turns out either you, or your baby isn't a fan of that particular carrier. If one of you is unhappy, it's not the right one. I highly suggest finding other baby wearing momma's and trying out the carriers they have. I don't know many who only have one type of carrier in their home. I could talk forever about all of this, but I'll stop here.

What carrier do you like the best? Are you hesitant about baby wearing at all? I'd love to hear your thoughts on baby wearing!