by Cheryl Grant
Babywearing? That sounds strange!
It does sound strange, doesn’t it, wearing your baby, but that is a general term for carrying your baby in a sling/carrier. Despite the common misconception (mainly portrayed by the media) babywearing is neither a fad or associated with a particular type of parenting style
(e.g./ attachment parenting). In fact, babywearing is an age old parenting tool that was around way before pushchairs!
Benefits of babywearing
There are many, many benefits to carrying your baby/child in a sling. I’m going to list a few that I think are great to know.
You have your hands free!
Your baby is more likely to be settled and feel secure.
It makes getting out and about easier!
It has positive effects on both mum and baby’s mental health!
It is a great gentle postpartum exercise
It promotes baby’s development in all areas
It is great for bonding, perfect for dads and other caregivers too!
Wearing your baby in a sling/carrier will not make them clingy. Babywearing helps promote a secure attachment from caregiver to baby.
T.i.c.k.s rules for safe babywearing
We have a set of guidelines to follow to ensure that babywearing is as safe as possible! It’s really good to remember these when positioning baby in a sling/carrier and whilst wearing your baby. Never do anything whilst babywearing that you wouldn’t do with your baby in your arms.
There are so many different types of baby carriers available to buy, from buckle carriers to woven wraps to ringslings. It can often be difficult to find something that is suitable and comfortable. But over the past few years there has been a major progression in support, advice and comfort! There is so much support and advice out there, sling libraries and babywearing consultants are great. They have a wide range of slings available for you to try and hire. There are sling libraries in Derby and Nottingham!
There is always some confusion about babies facing outwards in slings (world facing). It is important to have a sling suitable for forward facing (recommended on the manufacturers instructions) and it is usually recommended that baby has good head control (average of 4 months plus but dependant on baby) and that it is for short periods of time (20-30 minutes) and that if baby falls asleep whilst facing forward that you then turn them back to face you to keep their chin off of their chest! Remember those TICKS!
You can see here that baby (demo doll!) is in a good seated position with the hips rotated upwards. Baby is nice and high and both are comfortable.
The picture below shows an optimum position for a baby in a sling/carrier and this is the position that you should aim for! It is an ‘M’ position with baby’s bottom
lower than their knees. It makes a really comfortable seated position with the hips rotated upwards and soles of baby’s feet facing the ground. This position is perfect for the natural development of baby’s spine and hip joints! Baby’s head is high up on your chest and the spine is curved naturally.
(Photo credit to jeportemonbebe)
It is recommended that, when babywearing, you use layers of clothing rather than thick padded snow suits. This is because when you wear your baby, they are already getting warmth from your body heat and it’s much easier to add or remove layers of clothing as needed! Tights, leggings, long socks, knitted boots and leg warmers all work well for carrying in a sling. But check to make sure there’s no squishing of tiny toes!
and remember to follow the TICKS rules for safe babywearing!
Below are links to some local babywearing resources! Happy babywearing!
Cheryl Grant, B is for Babywearing
Babywearing peer supporter and consultant in training