Monday, February 18, 2008

Reasons to Wear Your Baby

If you have kids I know you have been in this situation. You are at the store in the parking lot and your baby is safely buckled in his/her car seat inside the car. You look at the stroller like it is a WWWF wrestler. You know it will you or the stroller-one of you is going down. I think they purposely make strollers cumbersome and difficult to open and close so we all look like fools in the parking lot. I am only 5'2 and I think the stroller comes up to my neck. Cut to me shoving it into my trunk that is filled with things I am too lazy to throw out. There are still about 20 rubber ducks in my trunk left over from my baby shower. The stroller always bounces off of them and comes back at me. The best is the toy Lightening McQueen car that someone gave me. I meant to bring it in for my students back in September but never did. If I hit it just right with the stroller it shouts out quotes from Cars. I know that stupid car is taunting me and my inability to get the stroller back into my trunk smoothly. Usually I have broken into a sweat and am cursing under my breath by the time I am finished. I have decided you just cannot look cool while performing this task. It isn’t just me. I have also seen my 5’11 husband struggle with the stroller. My answer to this dilemma is baby wearing. I try to forgo the stroller at all costs. Let it collect dust in my trunk with everything else. I know I will just end up with my shopping bags in the stroller and the baby in my arms anyway. Don’t try to deny it moms. I have seen you all at the mall.

Here are my top five reasons for baby wearing

1. I can finally ditch that stroller and go hands free.- stop looking like a fool and started looking cool.

2. I can work out without really trying. It may not really count as exercise but I tell myself it does.

3. It brings Eliza and I together in a way that nothing else can. I can feel her breathing and we truly become one.

4. I always know she is safe and right there with me.

5. I can spend time online researching baby carries to make up for the time my husband spends on the golf course. He wanted me to get a hobby!


Ok, here are some additional reasons to wear your baby from http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/laura_simeon.html

1. Wearing a baby is convenient.
When we carry a baby in a sling, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a stroller. Plastic "baby buckets" and removable car seats are heavy and awkward for parents, babies often look uncomfortable, and they are kept at knee level. A sling can block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby, and it allows for discreet nursing in public places. A sling can also double as a changing pad, blanket, or cushion when away from home. I've found my sling especially handy when negotiating busy airports with a small child and several bags!


2. Wearing a baby promotes physical development.
When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes – walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The sling is in essence a "transitional womb" for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not1. Mechanical swings and other holding devices do not provide these same benefits.


3. Babies worn in slings are happier.
Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss2. In indigenous cultures where baby-wearing is the norm, babies often cry for only a few minutes a day – in contrast to Western babies, who often cry for hours each day. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby's developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones.3 Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.


4. Baby-wearing is healthy for you!
It can be challenging for new mothers to find time to exercise, but if you carry your baby around with you most of the day or go for a brisk walk with your baby in her sling, you will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and "weightlifting". A long walk in the sling is also an excellent way to help a tired but over-stimulated child fall asleep.


5. Toddlers appreciate the security of the sling.
Slings are usually associated with infants, but they can be very useful for toddlers as well; most slings accommodate children up to 35 or 40 pounds. The world can be a scary place for toddlers, who feel more confident when they can retreat to the security of the sling when they need to do so. Toddlers often become over-stimulated, and a ride in the sling helps to soothe and comfort them before (or after!) a "melt-down" occurs. It can be very helpful in places like the zoo, aquarium, or museum, where a small child in a stroller would miss many of the exhibits.


6. Baby-wearing helps you and your baby to communicate with each other.
The more confidence we have in our parenting, the more we can relax and enjoy our children. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our baby's cues successfully. When we hold our baby close in a sling, we become finely attuned to his gestures and facial expressions. Many baby-wearing parents report that they have never learned to distinguish their baby's cries – because their babies are able to communicate effectively without crying! Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction enhances the mutual attachment between parent and child, and makes life more enjoyable for everyone.


7. Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers.
Slings are a useful tool for every adult in a baby's life. It makes me smile when I see a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby is becoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Fathers don't have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn't mean they can't make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents and all other caregivers. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!


8. Slings are a safe place for a child to be.
Instead of running loose in crowded or dangerous places, a child in a sling is held safe and secure right next to your body. Slings also provide emotional safety when needed, so that children can venture into the world and become independent at their own pace.


9. Slings are economical.
Slings cost far less than strollers, front-carriers or backpacks. Many mothers consider the sling to be one of their most useful and economical possessions. Inexpensive used slings can be found in consignment and thrift stores, and new ones can be bought for about $25 -$50 (U.S.) - not bad for an item many parents use daily for two years or more! A sling can also be sewn for the price of a length of cotton, some rings and batting; sling patterns are available.


10. Baby-wearing is fun.
Who doesn't love to cuddle a precious little baby? And when your baby is older, having her in the sling makes conversations easier and allows you to observe her reactions to the wonders of the world around her. It's also fun for baby, because when she is up at eye level, other adults notice and interact with her more. Your child will feel more a part of your life when she is in her sling, and you will find yourself becoming more and more enchanted with this special little person.

6 comments:

Pam said...

This was great--fun to read and information! I am guilty of being that mom pushing an empty stroller around (okay, not so empty- it has coats and bags in it) while trying to balanced holding my toddlers hand and hold my baby in my arms. Yeah- babywearing would have saved me! This is absolutely the worst reason - but we didn't have the money to buy a sling. I was given the stroller at my shower, but no one gave me a carrier or sling. Riley is almost 10 months old, but I am trying to save up money so I can get one that holds up to 35 or 40 pounds so we can use it until he is much older.

Pam said...

I'm not sure if you have read this blog yet or not, but you should visit Andrea at

http://www.jonathanandandrea.blogspot.com/

She is loves babywearing as well!

Future Mom said...

I love seeing moms (or dads) with slings in the mall because it actually benefits me :) What's the deal with all these people pushing huge strollers in between the clothes aisles and then expecting me to move out of the way for them? Not that I wouldn't, but I wasn't the one who thought it was a good idea to bring that thing into the store. And the ones who bring it into the store and just leave it someplace in there while they walk around & shop is even better. Thanks for leaving it for me to trip over and maneuver around while I look for something. And I haven't met many kids who want to be in a stroller anyway...I bet you wouldn't enjoy the trip as much if you were forced to look at the nasty floor and everyone's ankles the whole time.

30 minute mommy is a major inspiration to me to baby wear. The few times i have been to her house since Eliza was born, it was like a sling showroom in there. I have seen or heard her talking about at least 6 different ones. I would say I am an average sized person, 5'6 ish, but I have some back issues that I know will definitely become a problem when it comes to moving all of the baby's equipment in & out of the car, carrying the baby around in the carseat (some can be about 20 lbs. with a newborn in there) and god knows what else. If I don't have hubby there to act like a pack mule, I plan on leaving all of that stuff in the car and wearing the baby. I think that would solve a lot of problems (we'll see).

a wandering heart said...

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LaskiGal said...

I'm wearing J tomorrow when we go on a major errand run. He sits up, but needs a little help. He hasn't hit the 15 lb mark either, so he's pretty light. I LOVE wearing him--and he kinda likes "wearing" me!

Ugh, and carrying the carrier/car seat is a killer! Not to mention lugging the stroller around.

I'm pretty petite myself--5'4" on a good day, so I hear ya about all the stroller stuff!!