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What do you do with a brand new baby? Where do you put them? Do they have to be held all day? I didn’t know about the benefits of babywearing.
And these thoughts ran through my head, daily, at the end of my pregnancy. When I was around 8 months pregnant, I started obsessing about where I would keep my new baby girl while I was going to the bathroom, or making dinner, or doing laundry, or emptying the dishwasher.
I knew I could keep her in a swing or pack n play but I worried about whether I’d hear her or if she’d be safe. How far away could I actually go from those things? How would I keep her in my sight?
Then I discovered babywearing and for me, it was the best solution. I had so much anxiety as a new mom, I felt so much better having my baby girl close to me.
As it turns out, she also liked being held close, and babywearing was one of the best ways to keep her calm and quiet.
Babywearing Benefits and Breastfeeding
Once I mastered the baby-wearing techniques, I was able to get so much done. It helped a lot, especially with breastfeeding. And then I learned that babywearing benefits are endless.
As a first-time mom, when I first started breastfeeding, I felt locked to this one spot on my couch. I had my boppy, lots of burp cloths, a large water bottle, a granola bar, the TV remote, my phone and my charger.
It was my “breastfeeding station.” At first, I thought it was perfect. It had everything I needed, but then it started to feel like a prison because I was spending so much time there.
Encouraged Continued Breastfeeding—Freedom to Move
My older daughter had a lip tie that I didn’t know about until she was over a year old, and done with breastfeeding—we found out at her first dentist visit.
I didn’t know breastfeeding wasn’t supposed to take 45 minutes or longer and because there was no pain or other signs of a problem, I thought everything was normal.
But for those first few weeks, I didn’t know how I would ever get through breastfeeding. I couldn’t imagine staying in that spot on my couch for 9-10 hours a day, for a whole year.
Sometimes I would cry and agonize over whether it was something I could do long term. I looked at breastfeeding advice forums, none that flagged long nursing times as a problem, and tried feeding on schedules.
I tried switching her back and forth on each breast. It never seemed to make a difference. When I started babywearing, I stopped questioning whether or not I could continue breastfeeding.
When I discovered you could breastfeed while babywearing a newborn, it changed my life.
Baby Wrap Recommendations for Breastfeeding
I first got the Infantino carrier, which I didn’t find comfortable. Then I got a Moby Classic baby wrap, and I liked it, but the material was a little heavy and it was extra long. Since my first was born in June, I needed something lighter.
My second was born in May so I got the My Honey wrap, which I absolutely love. It’s my favorite so far. The material is strong but super light and doesn’t stretch so much that you feel you have to keep adjusting it.
Both my girls nursed in the baby wrap and that gave me so much freedom. Especially when my second was born and I had a toddler to chase around.
Calm Your Baby with Baby Wearing
Just like all people, some babies are easy-going, and some have high-needs. Some babies are ok sitting quietly in their swing, and some babies like to be held close as often as possible.
And most babies are a combination of the two, being ok on their own sometimes, and wanting to cuddle constantly other times.
This is one of the best babywearing benefits.
Keep Your Baby Close
Have you heard of the fourth trimester?
It’s this precious time period, from birth until around 3 months, where the baby is just getting used to being outside the womb. They need their moms a little extra during this time. Cuddling, skin to skin contact, and general closeness are all great ways to help your baby develop and grow in a healthy and happy way.
I wore both my girls and they rarely cried. I did it mostly for convenience and to keep an eye on them, but also to give them a little extra closeness in their first few months of life.
Help with Digestion
Baby wearing was great for nursing, but my second *favorite* babywearing benefit was that they were able to sleep upright, which helped with digestion. For my babies, babywearing led to less spit up and less gas.
I had noticed that whenever I fed them and put them down, they’d have either gas or spit up when they woke up. Keeping them upright in a carrier was the best solution.
Staying in Motion
There are so many products available to help you keep your baby in motion. They love motion, it’s soothing and reminds them of the womb.
Some of the seats, swings, and rockers are upwards of a few hundred dollars. We purchased a swing for around $200 and my older daughter used it maybe 5 times. My second daughter never used it.
For me, baby carriers have proven to be the best option for soothing a baby who just wants to be rocked.
And it also helps keep me in motion! Since I’m free to move around, I can do more things like clean and exercise, which keeps the baby sleeping longer and gives me some peace and quiet.
Baby Carriers & How to Choose
There are so many! Which is actually a good thing. Some baby carriers will work for you and some won’t.
If there is a store in your area that can help fit you for a baby carrier, I would highly recommend doing that. I purchased two carriers before finding the ones that worked for me, which was obviously a waste of money.
Luckily most baby carriers have fairly good resale value.
My Favorite Baby Carriers
I loooove the Happy Baby Carriers, which are made from linen and have lightly padded shoulder straps. They’re apron style so there is no material between you and the baby. I prefer this style because it keeps me, and the baby, cooler and I was doing most of my baby wearing over the summer months.
A ring sling is great for carrying newborns and it’s super easy to put on when you need to go in for a quick trip to the grocery store. I really love this style but I found it hard to wear for extended periods of time because the baby’s weight is resting mostly on one side of your body.
What to Look For in a Carrier
When you’re looking for the perfect carrier, you want to take some things into consideration first.
- What will the weather be when your baby is a newborn?
- What’s your body type?
- Do you have any back/hip/shoulder issues?
- Are you looking for comfort, style, versatility?
- When/where will you be baby wearing?
Having the answers to some of these questions will help you decide which carrier to shop for first.
But like I said, if you can go somewhere to try on some carriers, that is ideal.
If you’re looking to purchase a carrier before the baby is born, I would highly recommend a lightweight wrap like the My Honey from Sweetbee and a front carrier, like the HBC.
Resale and B/S/T
If you’re looking to invest in a carrier like the HBC, Tula, or Wild Bird, there are some great groups on Facebook for buying, selling, and trading baby carriers.
You can find inexpensive carriers if you prefer to purchase new or have a limited budget but the higher-priced carriers can be resold so you can think of it as an investment.
The Happy Baby Carrier can even increase in value if you have an out-of-print pattern or your carrier is well taken-care-of. The HBC’s especially are awesome once they’re broken in and floppy!
Another great thing about the B/S/T groups on facebook is that you can sometimes try out carriers by borrowing from another mom in your area so you know what you like before you buy. Facebook B/S/T groups are an all around great place to connect with moms and learn about baby carrying (and other baby products, like the Nugget, Gathre leather cushions, and Pikler Triangles! And my bank account is giving me the side eye…)
Tips to Save Time
So once you’ve decided you’re going to be a babywearing mama, and you’ve chosen the baby carrier, and you and baby are happy as clams in your pick… you can start doing things! Yay!
Things you can do while baby-carrying to save time:
- Grocery shopping
- Making dinner (back carry is best for this!)
- Playing with your other children
- Cleaning (light cleaning, with natural cleaners)
Keep them Quiet
I found that nursing before putting the baby on, puts them right to sleep. Sometimes they’d wake and just nurse again, or hang out with me until I took them off.
If you put a baby on while they’re screaming, they typically stay screaming, so I always make sure they’re nice and calm first.
You can do all sorts of loud things with baby on! In my experience, if they’re close to your chest, they don’t mind what else is going on around them.
Keep Supplies with You
My kinds were not much for the binkie but if yours are, you can strap one right to the carrier so it never falls on the floor. I also used to tuck in a couple of burp clothes, a teether, or toy, and a hat. The HBC comes with a hood in the zip pocket, which I love, but sometimes I’d prefer the hat.
I use straps to attach things to the carrier so everything is right within my reach.
Another great babywearing benefit— you can also clip your phone or wallet if it’s small enough, right on to the carrier! Which makes shopping trips super easy.
When to Stop Baby Wearing
It’s a sad day when your baby is ready for independence! I love wearing my kids because it allows me to monitor exactly what they’re doing and keep them safe.
Once they start cruising though, all they want to do is explore. Unless they’re tired, the carrier becomes a restriction for them.
Many baby carriers have weight restrictions up to 45 lbs, but more than weight should be considered.
While babywearing and all the benefits are convenient for mom, exploring, walking, and developing leg muscles are important for babies.
There are some situations where baby wearing will be the safer option but be sure to check the baby’s positioning to ensure their hips and legs are comfortable.
When to stop is your choice, but I have found that it’s best to stop wearing at home once my baby is cruising on furniture. I usually will get a jumper seat or walker at that time for exploring safely. I baby wear when we go out until around 2 years old.
Babywearing benefits are endless, but when my kids stop napping during the day, that’s my finish line.