*Image courtesy – Google images
What is babywearing?
Babywearing is the art of carrying the baby in a sling or other carriers. But Babywearing is nothing new. This has been followed for centuries and had lost its charm but is making a come back again, specially with all the ideas of attachment parenting gaining popularity. Babywearing can be done by anyone in the family.
I’ve heard my grand mothers say, don’t lift the child up every time he/she cries. Don’t keep the baby in your arms all the time, that will stop the baby from learning to roll over/that will make the baby get into a habit of being lifted all the time and will not let you do any work/the baby will never be independent/the baby will never learn to walk, etc. Babywearing goes against all this.
What are the benefits of babywearing?
- Babywearing is great for bonding.
- Supports breastfeeding.
- Combats postpartum depression for the mother.
- Makes life easier for the baby and the parent.
- Worn babies are much calmer, sleep, eat and grow better.
- Babywearing relaxes colicky babies.
- Carried babies learn to look at things from the level at which their parents see and tend to learn a lot and are smarter.
- The baby is in tune with the rhythm of the parent.
- Carried babies are more organised.
- Babywearing provides the kind of stimulation that a baby needs.
- Babywearing gives a sense of safe and secure feeling to the babies.
- Babywearing is safe for babies.
What should I look for safe babywearing?
Always remember the TICKS rule for safe babywearing
- Tight – Slings and carriers should be close and tight enough to hold the baby close to you. This is to avoid the baby slumping and hindering their breathing.
- In view at all times – At any point of time, you should be able to see the baby’s face by just looking down.
- Close enough to kiss – The baby’s head should be close to your chin.
- Keep chin off the chest – A baby’s chin should not be forced into their chest as it can restrict breathing.
- Supported back – The babies back should be supported in their natural position.
Other than that one should also note the following:
- Always check the carrier for wear and tear.
- Always practice in a safe place on the bed or carpet and not too high from the ground.
Different types of carriers
- Mei Tai – Moby is an example and many times if you are creative enough and you know your cloth and tailoring then Mei Tai can be made at home.
- Ring Sling – Soul Ring Sling (made in India) http://www.soulslings.com/
- Wraps – Almitra http://almitratattva.com/ (Almitra does Wraps, Mei Tai and Ring slings), Saampiya https://www.facebook.com/saamipyawraps
- Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) / Buckle carriers – some examples are Boba, Ergo, Tula
- Pouch carriers
How to choose the right type of carrier?
- New born babies can be only worn in the front and their neck needs to be supported by whatever carrier you decided to choose.
- One person should be able to get the baby into and out of the carrier without too much hassle or help.
- Try a carrier before you buy them. A carrier for slightly older babies will not suit an infant, unless you get an infant insert with it.
- Babies should sit in a way that their knees should be inline and above their rear. Basically the base should be wide enough.
- There are plenty of videos on youtube to help you choose a carrier or help with instructions on using a carrier.
- If you are looking for some babywearig on a budget then even cotton sarees and shawls can be used as wraps. Instructions available on youtube.
- There are plenty of babywearing groups online – join one of them to get more information.
- Some cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi have a Baby sling library where one can go and check out different types of carriers before deciding to buy one.
- Some carriers are expensive and maybe finding a pre-loved one is a better option.
- While most children love being on a sling/carrier, some children take some time to get used to it.
- Check out for fakes. There are fake Ergos and other carriers available in the market. Always cross check before buying a carrier.
- Try putting a baby that won’t sleep into a carrier and that calms down them and gets them to sleep in no time!
- Many mothers that have back problems find babywearing an easier and better option for their back.
For support on babywearing, join the group
http://www.babywearinginternational.org/what-is-babywearing/babywearing-resources/ – has information and instructions on different carries using different types of carriers.