2011: Charlotte in a Sleepy Wrap, almost 2 months
2009: J in a handmade Mei Tai (*from Etsy), 11 months
It’s International Babywearing Week! I think most people in my life just think I have some nifty baby carriers but “babywearing” has become an important part of how we parent and how we operate as a family. Mothers (particularly but certainly not exclusively) have been wearing their babies for centuries. We’ve all seen pictures of women of long ago or of other cultures securing their babies to their backs as they work in fields or tote water from a well. But babywearing is about more than convenience.
Many studies and articles illustrate the ways in which being “worn” benefits babies and the act of wearing benefits caregivers. A baby who is held close fusses less and interacts with the world more. The skin-to-skin contact that often accompanies babywearing has tremendous health benefits. The practice of holding a baby close to mother’s skin is called Kangaroo Care. While the practice is often prescribed for preemies, all babies can benefit. The closeness stimulates oxytocin in the mother, the hormone that stimulates bonding and plays an important role in the supply of breastmilk and the let-down reflex. All good things!
With our third baby, babywearing has become both a joy and a necessity. I’m not sure how parents handle more than two children without some way of toting around the littlest one. I’ve enjoyed wearing my boys in a ring-style sling, a pouch, and a Mei Tai, but the Sleepy Wrap (name recently changed to Boba Wrap) gets my highest accolades. It is my absolute number one piece of baby gear, perfect for a newborn.
If I needed any more evidence of the wonders of babywearing, I got it when our family went to a major theme park with no stroller. No stroller! And last night we washed our Jeep as a family. It was wet and messy, and guess who was happily tied to my chest? Miss Charlotte joyfully took in all the festivities. I love having her so close.
I would love to hear your babywearing stories!
* I wish I could remember the Etsy shop that made my beautiful Mei Tai. For a long time I carried the business card in my purse, but I’ve misplaced it. As soon as I figure it out, I’ll direct you to this mama/seamstress who did such beautiful work.