By Jennifer Buchanan CNM WHNP-BC, IBCLC ~
In the United States wearing your baby may seem like a new concept, but this activity goes back thousands of years and spans the entire globe. In a time before babysitters, daycare or maternity leave (and in some areas of the world where culturally this is not the norm), mothers have to carry their babies with them while working, doing household chores and everyday tasks.
What are the benefits of wearing your baby?
Wearing your baby is not only a benefit to your baby, but also a benefit to you, your partner and even your breastfeeding relationship with your baby. The close proximity allows you to learn your baby’s delicate clues, understand your baby’s behaviors and breastfeed on demand.
Being able to remain in constant contact with your baby allows you and those who wear your baby the opportunity to create a close bond. Babies who are “worn” are less likely to cry; they sleep better and have reduced stress which helps with healthier weight gain and mental development.
How wearing your baby helps with breastfeeding on demand
The notion of “breastfeeding on demand” is the baby’s preferred schedule to breastfeed; not yours. With baby wearing, your baby is the one regulating when they want to eat. The more you wear your baby, the more effective it is to follow this method of feeding on demand.
Baby wearing using a carrier, sling or wrap. What’s the difference?
It doesn’t make a difference. It’s based on your personal preference on what you feel is the most comfortable to wear.
What to consider when you wear your baby
There are many baby carriers, slings and other devices to carry your baby. I am not attached to a specific product or brand as it’s a personal decision depending on your lifestyle and budget.
Here are some helpful tips when selecting and using a carrier, sling or wrap to wear your baby:
- Safety always comes first. Second in priority should be comfort for you and your baby.
- Always be aware of your baby’s body alignment while in a carrier, sling or wrap, especially during the newborn period.
- Your baby’s face should always be visible, with their head and neck placed in a position that does not risk closing off the airway.
- If you have a newborn, your baby’s legs and hips should never be spread, rotated or turned out like a frog while on your chest. This can cause damage to the growing and fragile hips of your baby. I suggest you look for particular inserts, products and wrapping techniques made specifically for newborns and to ask the sales representative for more information if needed.
Happy Baby Wearing!