The is one of the most common questions about babywearing. It's a natural question. You want the BEST for your baby! You want to know what will be comfortable for you, what the baby will like best, and you do not want to waste time or money on a carrier that doesn't work well for you.
The short answer? It depends!
It depends on a number of things. And those things are so specific, that what is best for you and your baby may be very different from what is best for your friend and her baby. So, personal recommendations (or lists of "BEST baby products") are often not very helpful
The long answer? The best carrier (for you) is the one that fits you, fits your baby, and fits your wearing needs.
So how can you figure out what will work best for you? The usual answer is trial and error, whether that is through trying things out at a private consultation with a professional educator's guidance, trying out carriers from a local babywearing group's learning or lending library, or purchasing a carrier (or two, or three, or more) on recommendation from a friend and hoping it will meet your needs. Who has time for that!? You can be more efficient by thinking about how you might answer these questions:
After answering these questions, you can narrow your options considerably. The best strategy will still be to try on some different carriers, but considering your answers above will help guide what are likely to be good options for you.
New parenthood is a time of huge changes! All of a sudden, you are responsible for another human life, and you may be recovering from birth, supporting a partner who is recovering from birth, or adapting to a new role as a foster or adoptive parent. Babywearing can bring benefits not only for your newest little member of the family, but also for you!
Wearing your new baby helps you get to know him intimately. Because baby is so close to you while being worn, you grow to understand the cues he gives via movement, gesture, and facial expression. When you know and can respond quickly to his cues (before he starts to cry), he will increase his trust in you, and this builds your confidence. As this pattern happens repeatedly, your attachment to each other increases. This can be especially helpful if you are at risk for or are experiencing postpartum depression.
Babywearing is not just for moms! Fathers, grandparents, babysitters, and other important adults can bond with baby through wearing. The baby gets to know each adult and their attachment deepens! Fathers and other caregivers can also benefit from the increased confidence they will have by being able to recognize and respond to baby's cues.
Comfort and Convenience
Babywearing can allow you the freedom to take care of older siblings, attend to household chores, work, and exercise (walking or hiking are favorites), all while keeping baby content. You can go where no stroller can go (stairs, bumpy or muddy trails, and more) and navigate crowded places (airports, festivals, family parties) with relative ease.
As parents, we all want the best for our children. The best start you can give your new baby is to meet her needs consistently. Babies increase their trust in us when we respond to their needs, every time. Babywearing meets so many of your baby's needs, quite easily. Babies were born to be worn!
Some of the benefits that are often mentioned include:
Worn babies cry less
Research has shown that babies who are worn or carried for 3 hours a day (regardless of whether they "need" to be carried) are 43% less likely to fuss or cry than babies who were not carried as much. They were over 50% less likely to cry during the evening hours, which are often known as the "witching hours" for babies.
Worn babies learn more
Less crying means more time for learning! Worn babies spend more time in the "quiet alert" state, in which they are content and most able to learn from and interact with their environment, The baby can study his mother or father's face, increasing bonding, and also the world around them.
Worn babies are more organized
Babies need some extra time after they are born to develop their ability to regulate their systems. In the womb, they are in tune with the mother, and once they leave the womb, they benefit from being worn or carried by being close enough to hear or feel their mother's heartbeat, breathing, temperature, and movement. These rhythms continue to calm and regulate baby for months after birth.
Worn babies are part of their world
Babywearing helps the infant's brain to make healthy connections by ensuring the baby is exposed to and participating in the mother or father's chosen stimuli and is protected from overstimulation. The baby spends time in the caregiver's world (everyday chores and errands, outdoor adventures) and is learning every moment during this time. Worn babies also tend to have enhanced attention to and engagement in conversations, as they pick up the rhythms of human communication and learn to listen and to communicate pre-verbally and verbally.
These are just some of the many reasons to wear your baby. Every baby and every family is different, and you will find many more of your own to add to this list!
Beth. The babywearing lady.
copyright 2016 Beth Secrist
All photos used under the Creative Commons license through Flickr. Photography by: littletuesday12