Sunday, November 22, 2009

Babywearing!!!  This is something that I am really into, as anyone who sees me ever these days in most likely very well aware of from the fact that Jasper is almost always strapped to me in one way or another.  There are SO many benefits to babywearing, both to parents and to the child.  Some people may think that a baby who is constantly worn and held will cry more and need more attention, but studies actually show the opposite to be true.  In cultures where babies are worn all the time, huge crying spells are practically unheard of and, as written about a research study in "The womanly art of breastfeeding,": These findings confirm what our mothering instinct tells us--that plenty of loving contact does not 'spoil' a baby or make him more demanding, but instead helps him feel more comfortable and happy in his new world.

I think a baby forms a more attached bond to his/her caregiver as they move about the day together.  Even when the caregiver is involved in other tasks, the baby is constantly there.  In a quiet state of alertness they are learning about their world as they watch the tasks performed and are constantly interacted with.

Babies are used to the soothing movement of the womb and all of a sudden they come out into this world and have to sit in cold, uncomfortable bucket seats all the time.  Obviously, carseats are essential in our society today (especially here where everything is SO stinking far away!!).  But babywearing helps to ease into that transition into the world for babies.  They are soothed by the closeness to their mother, and also the soothing motion of movement.  I'm always surprised that I don't see more parents today carrying their babies/young toddlers around in slings... sometimes I think strollers are just so restrictive.  We didn't use a stroller that much with Roxie, but I remember very vividly an instance of trying to maneuver through a clothing store where is was virtually impossible to make it around the displays with the stroller.  I had to give up and leave the store!  And don't even get me started with the crazy busy farmers market.  I will never. ever. attempt to bring a stroller there!

Babywearing benefits parents as much as it benefits the child.  We can get around places that strollers restrict us from going.  Baby is much more content up close to mom than in a stroller.  When he gets upset, you can quickly do a little bounce or assure him with a soothing voice and he goes right back to being content.  And I must say... I am amazed at how heavy those infant bucket seats are.  Now that it is starting to get really cold out I usually have to carry Jasper from the car to inside of wherever we are going in his car seat before taking him out and popping him in a carrier of some sort.  Wowzers!!  How do people seriously carry these things around everywhere?  It seriously hurts my back just thinking about lugging that thing around everywhere when there is an easier way!

So, I used my carriers a LOT when I was the mother of one.  Roxie wasn't the easiest of babies.  She was a firecracker from day 1.  So, babywearing SAVED me.  It was my sanity.  It allowed me to get housework done, dinner made, and to get out of the house with confidence and ease.  But now that I am the mother of a 2 yr old (who is still a major firecracker!) AND a baby?  Babywearing is even MORE essential to me.  I don't  know if I'd be confident enough to leave the house without it knowing that my older child is going to need me to help her not attack another child, or run off, or need me in some way.  And then, while dealing with her I'd have to leave the baby by himself in his stroller which would most likely involve crying and..... and.... oh man, it gives me a headache just thinking about it!  I don't think we'd have groceries, like, ever because I would be terrified of going to the grocery store.  Babywearing allows me to always be aware of my babies needs while still caring for my toddlers needs.  Perfecto!!!  My toddler is not neglected and neither is my baby.

Okay, so it seems pretty obvious that babywearing makes life easier and better for baby and parent.  But there are a lot of different kinds!!  Here is a brief overview of some kinds of carriers that I personally enjoy.  With pictures.... nobody is around to take pics of Jasper and I.... so some of them are from other sources so you can get a good idea.  And we lost most of Roxie's baby pictures (backup your computer hard drive!!!!).

Pouch sling
This is what I used exclusively when Roxie was a small infant.  Mine was Hotsling brand.  I love the colors of it and I loved that I could order the size that fit me best (not just small, medium, large... they have numbered sizes).  Newborns are just SO snuggly in pouch slings.... all smooshed up in there like they were in the womb.  I used my pouch sling with Jasper also when he was a tiny baby and enjoyed it.    I like that it isn't a lot of fabric so it fits nicely in a diaper bag or left in the car and it's easy to pop a baby in and out of.... which is especially nice in the early weeks when they are nursing and eliminating every 5 minutes (okay, not quite THAT often... but I think both of mine pooped continuously for a while).

Here I am with my newborn Roxie.  Less than a week old.  This hotsling was my first ever experience with babywearing.  See how great it is for newborns?

And again with my newborn Jasper at the MN State Fair

Ring sling
A friend let me borrow her ring sling when Jasper was born.  I decided that I like ring slings better than pouch slings.  Originally I wasn't so sure about the extra fabric hanging down, but I've found the ring sling to be very handy for quick pop in and out times that I need my hands free.  I love the adjustability so they don't need to be sized like a pouch sling.  More than 1 person can use it and it seems to grow with your baby a little better.  I liked being about to pull the top rail tighter when Jasper was a baby to support his head a bit better.  I used the cradle hold when he was a newborn, just like the pouch sling, but this guy likes to be upright so I put him in it with his legs dangling out and he loves it!

My friend Angie came over to try out carriers.  Her son, Grayson, loved the ring sling!

Okay so he's kind of in there weird- but I was new to ring slings!  At the zoo.  A few weeks old.

Wraps are hands down my favorite way to babywear.  It does, admittedly, take more time to get used to. But, like tying a shoelace, after wrapping a few times it becomes second nature.  i like the versatility.  I like the adjustability.  I like that it's easier on my back now that Jasper is an almost 4 month old in 9 month clothing.  I like that I can wear him on my front, hip. or back.  There are stretchy wraps, like the Moby.  And there are woven wraps that do not stretch at all, like the Stochenweige (that is the brand I have, but there are tons of them!!).  I know people who swear by stretchy wraps.  They are easier to wrap tightly when you are new to wrapping, more forgiving, and overall really great.  I have 2 mobys that were given to me that I frequently loan out to those wanting to try them out.  Woven wraps, on the other hand, are my personal fav because they are more supportive for your back and I feel like as my babe goy heavier he was more secure in it because of the lack of stretch.  They do have a higher learning curve, but honestly... I figured it out I'm sure anyone could!

In the vatanai wrap (woven wrap, a little lighter material- great when it's hot out especially!) at the pumpkin patch

My fav- the Storchenweige.  I was holding Jasper in the wrap, holdingRoxie, and carrying a diaper bag and another bag!!

Now that he is bigger I can wrap him a little differently because I don't have to support his neck as much.

Mei Tei 
A mei tei is a structured carrier that ties instead of buckles.  I think they are beautiful.  I bought mine with birthday money before I discovered wrapping.  Yep, I'm weird (more like awesome!) and spend birthday money on this kind of stuff.  Mine is babyhawk brand, but there are lots of people who make them.  I wore Jasper in it when he was just a few weeks old at the state fair because my back got tired using the pouch sling and it worked great.  I used to wear Roxie in that thing when she was 1+ to get her to fall asleep for her nap while I did housework.  So it's great for all ages.  And you can wear them on your front or back.

I'm trying to find the BEAUTIFUL picture I took of Matt wearing Roxie in the mei tei.  Alas, I can nt find it!!!  Since Jasper is only a few weeks old in this picture, his legs are not hanging out and it is tied behind his back instead of under his bum.

Some more mei tei pics <3 <3

There are other types of babywearing out there, like the buckle ones (Ergos ROCK I'm told) but these are the types I have personal experience with.  There are also many different ways to carry a babe within each type of carrier.  It's fun to try a bunch of them and find your "go to" carries.  Now- go wear your baby (and toddler)!!   


  1. Thanks for all this info! I got a couple slings already and baby isn't born yet, so I'm sure I'll have fun trying to figure out which kind I like best. I really do like the wrap idea, and it does look like it would get some getting used to, so I might need to contact some friends who have been baby wearing for advice :) I love seeing moms wearing their babies!

  2. Fun post! :) I always wore Xan around the house, and the moby and babyhawk mt were my faves. I borrowed an ergo from a friend, but I only loved it for hiking (for which it ROCKED!), because around the house it was uncomfortable to sit/bend in, and I was used to sitting on the exercise ball with baby strapped on me. :)

  3. This was such a fun post! I loved reading about the differences. I will definitely have to get some kind of wrap/sling whenever I am a mom!

  4. Oh, my gosh. You really are the queen of the carriers. They are all so beautiful and you wear them well.