Baby wearing has been done for centuries, across almost every culture around the world. There are many benefits to baby wearing for baby AND parent. When I first became a mom I’ll admit I was very intimidated to baby wear, but I soon realized it was the only way to get things done and keep baby close.
I want to start off that while I will be sharing resources regarding baby wearing from legitimate sources, I after all am a mother myself and what works for me may not work for you. Here’s a 101 on baby wearing, it’s benefits, and carriers to get you started!
Why should we wear our baby?
Baby wearing has many benefits! For our little ones, it helps regulate their system through the practice of skin to skin, helps them feel secure, usually reduces crying and enhances the connection between parent and baby.
There are other benefits for mom and dad too! For dad, baby wearing provided extra moments of bonding with baby. This isn’t to say that mom can’t bond by wearing – she can! However since dads sometimes have less chances of bonding (I.e. they can’t breastfeed), baby wearing helps strengthen that connection!
Especially in the early days, babies tend to crave that connection and end up needing more time in our arms and contact naps. By putting your baby in a carrier or wrap, you free yourself (and your arms) to do other things, like eat! It’s even shown that baby wearing promotes breastfeeding for longer!
If you have multiple kids, baby wearing is perfect for having to juggle more than one kid. It’s especially helpful if you have a super active toddler and newborn like I did!
Is baby wearing safe?
Yes! As long as it’s done correctly. You’ll want to make sure your baby is in the best position to avoid things like hip dysplasia. Babies under 6 months should always be facing you, never forward facing! Another thing to remember is TICKS:
- T: Tight. Baby should be upright and tight
- I: In view at all times
- C: Close enough to kiss
- K: Keep chin off chest
- S: Supported back
Which carrier is best?
Well, that depends on you! There are newborn carriers, wrap carriers, ring slings and more! Everyone has their preference, and that includes baby too! My first loved being in ring slings but never in wraps. My second is just happy being close and carried! Let’s break down some carriers, starting with my personal favorite!
1. Ergo Baby
My personal favorite carrier is my Ergo Baby 360. My son is VERY heavy, I’m talking about over 20 lbs at 5 months! So I needed a carrier that would not only support him, but my back too. My Ergo Baby as great support on my waist and the arm straps are padded and help distribute the weight.
Another reason why I picked this carrier is it can be used in multiple positions: inward facing, front facing, hip carry, and even on my back. It can support up to 45 lbs which means I can even throw my toddler on my back! I can also breastfeed in this carrier, which was a huge must!
This is considered a soft structured carrier. There is no metal in this carrier, which also means it’s approved for TSA. When we travel, I do not have to remove my baby to go through the metal detector!
2. Solly Baby Wrap
My Solly Baby wrap carrier is my absolute favorite for the newborn days and first months. I like that the Solly Baby is one long, continuous piece unlike the baby k’tan, which is two separate pieces of fabric.
I felt way more secure wrapping this around me and keeping my baby close. While it does take practice to tie it best, once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize the benefits of a wrap carrier.
Wrap carriers are best for newborns and can support 8 lbs to about 20-25 lbs. I will say, personally, once my baby was getting close to 20 lbs I did look for something more sturdy to carry him in.
3. Ring Sling
Ring slings are one big piece of fabric that is tied using two rings by your shoulder. This type of carrier if you’re the type of parent that wears their baby on their hip. It is recommended to use this with babies over 6 months old that can support themselves.
I found the ring sling the easiest to be able to put on myself when out with my little ones. Although instinctively, I still end up holding them with one hand in this type of carrier.
4. Hiking Carrier
While I haven’t personally used this type of carrier, a hiking backpack can help carry your baby or toddler in the outdoors. They usually provide way more support than your traditional everyday carrier. They also have features like a sunshade and storage to help when you’re out on longer trails. If you’re an active family I would look into a carrier like this for your back, or one where the baby is positioned on your shoulders as well!
Carriers are a great (and necessary) product to put on your baby registry! Some can be a little pricey, and especially as a first time parent you just won’t know what works for you until you try! Many libraries and local groups like La Leche League are great resources for baby wearing information and classes. There’s even a Sling Library which helps provide education, classes, and carriers to parents!
While the world of baby wearing can be intimidating, you have to start somewhere! There are many other great companies like Wild Bird (slings) and Baby Tula (soft structure carriers) with different varieties and prints too!
Baby wearing is a practice that dates back thousands of years, so why not start your journey today?