You may or may not know – I just had my first baby recently :)
I knew I wanted to wear my baby as much as possible, for many reasons:
- There is evidence that the closer your baby is to you, the better your milk supply is! This is good news for breastfeeding moms.
- If your baby is born prematurely or has lower birth weight (mine did – she was a 6-lb nugget) wearing her will likely improve her health and weight gain. This is best done with skin to skin, so rip that top off, get your babe naked (I recommend a diaper, but that’s up to you!) and get wrapped up together.
- It’s super convenient. This one is a no-brainer guys. Hands. Free!
- It’s better for mom/dad. Have you ever carried around a heavy car seat? Yuck! This is much more supportive for the caregiver.
- Newborns sleep. A lot. Many of them want to be held when they sleep (see above – hands free!). When your baby is strapped to you, he can sleep whenever he feels like it.
- Better spinal, brain/nerve and physical development.
- Probably most important – worn babies are happier. If I could only give you one reason to wear your baby, this is it. Happy babies are priceless.
Some important things to note about wearing your baby:
- Baby should always be sitting high enough that you can kiss his head. Letting a baby sink down lower risks covering his airway.
- Her knees should be positioned above her butt. You may have seen someone wearing a baby from what I like to call a “crotch-dangler” carrier where the legs hang straight down. These put too much stress on the spine and may affect proper development of the hip joints. In order to make this happen, she should have support out to her knees.
- The wrap or carrier needs to be supportive for mom/dad as well. This is one reason why hands-on help is great – many larger cities have local babywearing groups where you can try on different carriers (or even check them out for a period of time) to see what fits you best.
- Start with front carries only, facing the wearer. Those back carries look super cute, but you really shouldn’t attempt one until you have the hang of front carries. Babies, especially younger ones, should face mom or dad in order to cut down on overstimulation (it’s a busy world out there) and support the spine, but also because it is better on the wearer’s back to have baby curl toward you, rather than away.
Some parents are intimidated with learning how to wear a baby. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and you can see above that its worth learning. We have awesome local resources in Des Moines if you are looking for some help. There is a facebook group called Babywearing of Central Iowa that can offer some online help, however getting hands-on help is always recommended (they have regular in-person meetings).
We aren’t babywearing experts here in the clinic, but we are happy to help you in any way we know how if you bring your carrier and your babe with you! We love those baby snuggles just as much as you do.