Wednesday, 12 November 2008

International Babywearing Week

From the Babywearing International website:

Benefits of Babywearing

Medical professionals agree that infants thrive through touch; “wearing” your baby is another way to meet this need. But the benefits of babywearing don’t end there...babywearing offers many other advantages, some of which include:

• Happy Babies. It’s true … carried babies cry less! In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours.

• Healthy Babies. Premature babies and babies with special needs often enter the world with fragile nervous systems. When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes—walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses. Research has even shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not.

• Confident Parents. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our babies’ cues successfully. Holding our babies close in a sling allows us to become finely attuned to their movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored, or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction deepens the mutual attachment between parent and child, and is especially beneficial for mothers who are at risk for or suffering from postpartum depression.

• Loving Caregivers. Baby carriers are a great bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, adoptive parents, babysitters, and other caregivers. Imagine a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby isbecoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements, and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Baby carriers are beneficial for every adult in a baby’s life. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!

• Comfort and Convenience. With the help of a good carrier, you can take care of older children or do chores without frequent interruptions from an anxious or distressed infant—which helps to reduce sibling rivalry. Baby carriers are also wonderful to use with older babies and toddlers; you can save those arms and go where strollers can’t. Climbing stairs, hiking, and navigating crowded airports all can be done with ease when you use a well-designed baby carrier!

Babywearing has been wonderful for us. From the time our son was an infant, we've found it be more useful than we ever could have imagined. From those early days when he napped better snuggled close to a warm body, to long days of teething, to walking outdoors in the snowy Canadian winters, to innumerable other instances, babywearing has saved my sanity. And that's with only one child! I can imagine the benefits only increasing with each new child, allowing two hands free to chase after silly toddlers, prepare meals for hungry children, and take care of all the other demands of parenting that can't always be done with a babe in arms. And on top of that are all the benefits to the baby - and a few more!


  1. I'm reading about babywearing in my attachment parenting book! :)

    You have a blog award at my blog waiting for you!

  2. I just think the carriers are so cute, haha.

  3. I so wish I had known to do this with my son!

  4. 1) Way cool, I can't wait to have a baby to wear everywhere!

    2) I know you already have been given this blog award but the same one is waiting for you at my blog ;)

    3) your son looks so cute and comfy in his carrier!

  5. We've just recently started using the stroller - within the last 2-3 months - when either I twisted my back or it was too hot and miserable for both of us to have a small human right against me. (Once, we got home, and it was wet with sweat in between us.) Now that it's getting chilly again and my back is okay, I've been tossing around the idea of getting a babywearing coat so we can still go on walks without Raiden freezing to death by himself in a stroller.

    That, or those cheaper babylegs you linked to before. I worry about his ankles :).

  6. I really think babywearing is going to save my sanity with #2!

  7. Can I say that I love the concept of babywearing and do not debate even one bit the benefits. But, my son would only be "worn" on his own limited terms (he had to be eating, or we had to be speed walking, or if he had fallen asleep). Number one in any bit of child-rearing advice - know your child and respond to them.

  8. Absolutely, naejeirual. :) My son would only be worn while I was moving too, so I know what you mean!

    Karyn, I've looked at babywearing coats too, but they're just so expensive. I'd love one, but decided not to buy one this year. Last winter when he was smaller, I wore him on my front and pulled my jacket around him. This winter, I'm putting him on my back overtop of my jacket and just making sure he's dressed warmer (babylegs are awesome for this, since his pants always ride up at least a little bit). A babywearing coat sounds so much cozier though. I wonder if I could make a DIY poncho...hmm.

  9. Just in responding to your last comment, ponchos are so very easily to make. It's basically two elongated rectangles sewed together at one short end/one long end and then join the remaining opposite sidess together to make a neckline. (You'd probably want to make the neckline bigger to accomodate you and your little one.) You could knit a heavy weight one from wool or sew a bit of heavyweight fleece together for a nice cozy one.

    I've always wanted to ask you this about difficult is it to wear him on your back in terms of getting him adjusted and up there just right? It looks like it's really comfortable to both of you. I'm very interested in how you learned how to use the different wraps as well.

  10. I found this pattern online when I was looking at them -

    I don't know how sew-friendly you are, but this could be a good coat and save some money. (Me, not so sew-friendly.) Looks like it's only for front wearing but, hey, still.

  11. Uh oh, I got myself started! Look at this one!

  12. Ooh, Karyn, those links are great. What neat ideas. I especially like the idea of adding a baby panel to a coat, since then I could use the same coat whether I'm wearing him or not.

    I also think these Monkey Pockets are really neat, but I'm having a hard time picturing how it would work putting one over him when he was on my back (without a lot of assistance, anyway).

    Melody, I have no trouble getting him onto my back, but it did take a lot of practice before I was comfortable with it. I used to do it using a long wrap, which does require a bit of contorting, lol. Then I started using a mei tai (like in my avatar), and that was unbelievably easy, it's not difficult at all. Now I use a short wrap (like in the picture at the bottom of the entry) because it's fast and easy to get him up and down, and the short wrap can be balled up small enough to be tossed into my purse (or just worn as a scarf) when I'm not wearing him.

    For the long wrap or the mei tai, I get the carrier positioned (draped over my bum for the wrap; tied around my waist for the mei tai), then I put the child in front of me with his back to me, grab him either around the waist or under the armpits, and sort of flip him upside down and over my shoulders while hanging onto his arms. Hmm, that's really unclear, but I'm not sure how else to explain it. Other people do a hip scoot (which is at it sounds - scoot the child from your hip around onto your back). Anyway, once he's back there, I hold onto him with one arm and pull the carrier over him with the other, then do the tying.

    With a short wrap, I drape it over his back, then grab him and the wrap together and swing him onto my back, pulling the ends of the wrap over my shoulder and bringing them down to tie under his bum. I've only ever used a short wrap with a toddler, though, so I'm not sure how I would get a baby onto my back using a short wrap. I'd guess pretty similar to how I use a long wrap (drape the wrap over my bum, put him on my back, then pull the wrap up over his back), since I started putting him on my back using a long wrap when he was about 3 months old.

    I learned pretty much everything about wrapping from the forums at - pictures, videos, tutorials, and a whole bunch of people who have been doing this for years and are happy to answer even the most basic of questions (and a for sale or trade section to get carriers at lower prices!). They also have a great chart with links to instructions on all the different ways you can use a wrap.