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Wearing Your Baby


"A stroller or plastic carrier does not provide the tactile stimulation and natural rhythm of movement necessary for proper neurological development. Babies have excess energy that they are not able to discharge by themselves. Looking out from a stroller, bouncer or playpen, though convenient for the caretaker, does not provide the gamut of stimulation a baby needs."

Excerpt used by permission from the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder website.


Cherish the Times They Want to be Held

Our daughter loved to be carried as a baby, and we loved to carry her, so we carried her a lot. It did not spoil her or make her clingy. She grew into a (very) independent little girl. As a toddler, we still tried to carry her a lot, but she would often say, "Down, down!" (One of her first words!!)

Our second child has a different personality. He is almost two and is more cautious and reserved than his very out-going sister. He loved to be carried a lot as a baby, and he still loves to be held quite a bit; not as much as when he was a baby, of course, but more than his sister did at this age. When he wants to be held, he reaches up his arms and sometmes says, "High!" He wants to be up high in his mommy's arms! Being able to wear him in a sling makes it much easier to carry my almost 30 pound little boy. Plus I can carry him and do other things at the same time. Using our sling makes both of us much happier.

I know someday he won't want so many cuddles, and he is a tall little fellow, so I know he won't need me to help him be up high all that much longer! Children grow up so fast, so I encourage you to cherish the times when your baby (or toddler) wants to be held. He will not always be that way.

A Few of the Many Benefits of Babywearing

Keeping your baby in arms can help you get to know him well, and carried babies cry less and spend more time in a content, alert state. Slings and front pack carriers (back packs, too, when they are older) help make carrying your child easier. They free your hands so that you can do things like shop, clean house, work in the garden, or play with an older sibling. They also make it easier to carry your baby for longer periods of time.

Slings: An Essential Baby Care Item

A sling is a cloth, pouch-like carrier. Some are padded and some are non-padded. Most slings have rings on one side which make them adjustable. To adjust them, you pull the cloth "tail" through the rings and can quickly make it fit more tightly or loosen it up. Alternately, some slings are non-adjustable pouches.

Choosing the right sling can seem overwhelming, for slings come in many, many different styles. Slings are made from many different types of materials and come a huge variety of different colors and patterns from tie dye to floral to basic black. The most favorite brands seem to be the Over-the-Shoulder Baby Holder (a highly padded sling) and the Maya Wrap (a non-padded sling). Try to buy a sling in a material that will look good with the clothes you wear. And, especially when buying a padded sling or a non-adjustable pouch, buy one that fits well.

Slings are easier on the backs of both mom and baby than front pack carriers, and the ease of getting baby in and out can't be beat. Also, slings snuggle babies close to their mother's body, right near her heart. One brand of sling has a beautifully descriptive name; it's called a womb with a view.

Some mothers get the hang of using their sling right away, but many mothers find that learning how to use a sling takes practice. Babies tend to enjoy slings more if they start using them as little babies, but some babies don't seem to like them at first. These babies may grow to like them if given the opportunity to slowly get used to being in a sling. Also, they may like them more as they get older and can try new positions such as the kangaroo position where they face outward or the hip carry position where they sit on your hip.

If your baby cries when you put him in the sling, start walking around for awhile--even perhaps offer to nurse your baby while in the sling--and he will likely begin to enjoy the ride. At first you may feel like your baby is not secure and feel like he may fall out. Be sure your baby is snugly in the sling and that there is cloth between you and your baby. Keep an arm around your baby until you and he feel more secure. Also, when bending down, don't bend over: it's important to bend at the knees. It can make wearing a sling much easier to learn when a confident, experienced sling-wearing mother demonstrates how to use one.

After learning how to use one, many mothers find that the ease and convenience of using a sling make it an essential baby care item. You slip it over your shoulder, settle your baby in it, and off you go! You can nurse your baby very discreetly in a sling--especially if you are wearing a nursing shirt, and you can do other things while you are nursing.

A sling can be a good long-term investment. Using a variety of positions, slings can be used for both small babies (even newborns) and toddlers--you can use most slings until a child weighs about 35 pounds or is around three years old.

Where to Get a Sling

If you aren't sure where to buy a sling, on my Where to Buy page you will find the homepages of some moms who sell them. The La Leche League group in your area might sell them, or you might be able to find a really good deal on a used one at a garage sale or a resale shop. Also, you can buy them at some actions. Ebay has them and so does Mother's Nature. You can buy a sling pattern from Elizabeth Lee Designs to sew your own sling or check out this article by Jennifer Rosenberg for directions on how to make your own sling.

Our Experiences with a Snugli and a Sling

Our Experiences with a Baby Bundler and with Backpacks

Article: Babies Love to Be Held Carry your baby while you can. All too soon he will be crawling in the other direction.

Comments from Other Moms E-mail me your experiences and thoughts about babywearing.

Wearing Your Baby in a Sling: Helpful Hints Tips to help make wearing your baby in a sling easier and more comfortable.

Babywearing Links

New Parents Slings Crying Family Bed Feeding Diapers Discipline Baby Wise Church

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