When I first began searching for a comfortable and easy-to-use baby carrier, I was desperate to find that perfect one which would allow me to be hands free. I tried everything you could imagine- mainly by purchasing on impulse and then soon after when it didn’t work out, returning it to the store. I wanted a carrier that I could put on in seconds and wear comfortably for hours. There were so many options and I felt overwhelmed. After a long process of trial and error, I finally found wrapping with a long woven wrap my carrier of choice. But I do throw in an occasional Mei Tai, SSC (soft structured carrier), and Ring Sling for quick trips into a store or when long term comfort is not a top priority. Wraps are not the easiest carrier to choose from but I heard a great analogy about wrapping your baby the other day: it’s just like learning to tie your shoe. It looks so complicated in the beginning, you would rather wear velcro. But fear not! Wrapping takes just a little practice and once you have it you can’t believe how easy it actually is. It is a skill that will be with you for a very long time!
Baby wearing is helpful by integrating your baby into your daily life; I really don’t know what I would do with out it. There are so many benefits of baby carrying that are listed repeatedly all over so I won’t presume to station myself as a scientific expert everything. I’m just a mom who fell in love with this bond-strengthening practice and want to share it. One of my favorites is the constant interaction for both mom and baby. The thing that a baby needs most after milk and safety, is human touch. Constant contact with mom, dad, or another loving caregiver helps to make a baby secure and comfortable, for both long and short term. Parents and babies are constantly shaping each other’s behavior and when your baby is in your arms, your speech, reactions, touch, and comfort is molding their future and personality. Something no bouncer, rocker, or swing can replace.
For parents, baby wearing is magical by freeing your hands to take care of everyday tasks, all while still interacting with your baby rather than leaving them to stare at a dangling toy or the ceiling. Simple activities become learning experiences because you can talk to your baby the entire time about taking out the trash, washing dishes, folding laundry, a neighborhood walk, grocery shopping…. all the things that you do are utterly fascinating for this new human being. Since their brains are still developing, they are taking it all in second by second each precious moment that you wear them, talk to them, let them watch you react and converse socially with other people.
Lastly, one of my favorite benefits of baby wearing is being able to nurse on the go in a carrier- and for me, especially in a wrap. It is so easy to do this discreetly and I finally felt like I wasn’t a prisoner of the glider chair anymore! I could see when my son was getting hungry immediately and nurse him before he ever expressed the late stage hunger sign of crying. Another amazing benefit of this is that I was nursing with my baby in an upright position rather than cradled, which meant significantly less reflux and upsetting stomach bubbles. Any parent knows how important this can be to the happiness of baby and also everyone around them!
Today, my son is two years old. He is healthy, happy, independent, smart, well mannered, amazing, and well, I could go on but you get the idea! What can I say? I’m his mom so of course I think he is a shining star of intelligence and I don’t apologize for being completely in love with every new development in his life. I won’t try to say that I am positive which part was nature and what was nurture in his development, but I will say that my mommy instinct tells me all the baby wearing we have done has been a big contributor to his sense of independence, confidence, intelligence, and development. Our rich daily interactions together in this manner have made me a believer in baby wearing and I hope you will find the same closeness and connection with your little one.