How To Get Sh*t Done!
by Nicola McPherson
Babies are beautiful. There isn’t much in life that’s better than looking down at your baby snuggled up on your chest. With the increase in popularity of baby carriers it’s possible to go about your day while constantly having your baby snuggled up on your chest, right where they want to be.
There are many advantages to babywearing. Parents and caregivers can read babies’ cues and respond to babies’ needs immediately as they are in such close proximity.
Wearing your baby in a sling can also help reduce postnatal depression and help with bonding. Studies have suggested that babies who are worn in slings cry less. But there are also lots of functional benefits to babywearing…
1. Hands-free hugs
Let’s be realistic- parenting is busy. There are lots of things to do. Wearing your baby lets you have your hands free to do the many things you need to do while knowing your baby is safe and happy as they are in your view at all times. This becomes even more important if you have more than one child, you can have your hands free to tend to your other children (also keeps baby safe from being smothered in too many hugs from their brother/sister)
2. Ease of access
With slings you can go where buggies can’t go. Cliff walks, rough forest terrain, squeezing through crowded streets, fairs and festivals. All this becomes much easier and even possible with baby in a sling. Just pop baby in your carrier and safely go where no baby has gone before!
3. Space saver
Buggies are big and cumbersome. They can take up a lot of space in your hallway or in the boot of the car. Slings can fold up and fit in a handbag. If you have two children you could wear one in the sling and have one in a buggy, rather than having to go to the expense of buying a double buggy.
4. Post-natal exercise
Wearing a baby correctly can help with your posture and it is a gentle way to rebuild your core muscles after having a baby. As baby grows and gets heavier, you get stronger without even noticing it. Even people who previously had weak backs find that babywearing has helped to strengthen weak muscles and they become fitter and stronger and don’t notice previous injuries anymore.
Babies can sleep for hours in a sling. No need to put them down trying to settle them. They are happiest up close and warm against human skin. Older children and toddlers will even ask to go into a carrier when they’re tired, they want to snuggle to sleep next to Mam or Dad, or when their little legs get tired from walking.
6. Reflux calm
Babywearing can bring great relief if you have a baby with reflux. Often parents are advised to keep baby upright after a feed. A sling can allow you to keep baby upright without having to sit in the one position just holding them.
Travel systems can be a huge expense to new parents, at a time when they are purchasing so many new items for their imminent arrival. Ergonomic slings are available from €50 and many are suitable from new-born through to toddler.
Wearing baby in a sling can help to make breastfeeding successful. Having baby so close makes you more aware of their early feeding cues. Slings also make it possible to breastfeed discreetly while out and about.
9. Temperature regulation
We all hear about how beneficial skin-to-skin contact is for babies. Using a carrier makes skin to skin easy. This helps regulate baby’s temperature and is a great way to help them when they’re sick, and the hands-free cuddles help make them feel better too.
10. Physical development
Wearing an ergonomic carrier that follows the TICKS guidelines (see graphic) is extremely beneficial for hip and spine development. Even babies with hip dysplasia have sometimes avoided surgery or having to wear a harness as wearing baby correctly in a sling can hold their legs in the same position that a Pavlik harness would. Using a carrier also helps to prevent positional plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).
There are so many different carriers on the market that sometimes it can be difficult to know how to choose which one is right for you.
With huge thanks to Nicola McPherson for this article.
For more information about babywearing, we suggest contacting Baby Wearing Ireland.