Babywearing is increasing in popularity and is a part of parenting world wide. There is an extensive array of options available making it overwhelming to get started, but with the right help it’s easier than you think to get started.
Getting Started in Babywearing
Great places to start are local shops that carry babywearing gear. In Ottawa check out the Extraordinary Baby Shoppe and Milkface. Check in with local babywearing experts and educators, here at National Capital Doulas we have two resident educators available for virtual and in person consults and we also run a social media group dedicated to babywearing in the Nation’s Capital. Experts will help you understand your options, navigate them, and get the most out of your carrier. Covid has limited some of the availability to access these types of services, but at NCD we are here to help you.
Babywearing – Why Do You Want To?
The reasons for wanting to explore babywearing will be unique to every parent and baby dyad. For some it will be more about function and practicality but for others it may be more about celebration of the artistry in textiles, and everything in between. There are a number of reasons why you may want to learn more about this and add it to your parenting tool kit.
Here are some of the more common reasons, and by no means is this an exhaustive list:
- holding your baby close while they are young fosters secure primary attachment which is key to their development
- the ready responsiveness to their needs while they are so close to you is a major element in attachment
- physical proximity aids in neural development
- babies tend to sleep more soundly which is beneficial for physical and neural growth
- when worn safely it allows for support of their natural spinal development (supports the C curve of the spine in infants)
- can aid in comfort and digestion for babies with reflux – they are held upright which curbs the reverse flow of stomach contents
- keeps babies off of their heads and in devices that can lead to plagiocephaly
- deepens the physiological and emotional connection between parent and child
- from a practical standpoint it keeps your hands free to function (you can eat, make a phone call, use the washroom)
- you can also find comfort in their closeness
- if you’re chestfeeding you can feed your baby on the go
- helps to soothe a fussy baby – it becomes a powerful parenting tool
- it allows others to provide you with relief while they also tend to your child
Keep in Mind
There are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to babywearing. Always follow manufacturer instructions on any wrap, ring sling, soft structured carrier (buckle carrier), or meh dai. They will include safe usage instructions, and age and weight minimums and maximums. Check over your carrier often to ensure there are no areas of damage, wear, or other signs of weakness. Always remember T.I.C.K.S and keep those babies visible and kissable.
T – tight (keep that carrier snug so baby is stable and safely contained)
I – in view at all times (back carrying is safe once baby reaches a stage of being able to sit unassisted and has good core and neck strength – remember manufacturer instructions)
C – close enough to kiss (baby’s head should be close to the wearer’s chin, close enough to kiss)
K – keep chin off the chest (baby’s head should be in a neutral or slightly back position to keep their airway open)
S – supported back
Wear your baby for as long as is comfortable for you both. Keep body ergonomics in mind when choosing a carrier and enjoy this special time with your baby.
Check out local experts for advice on types of carriers and how to use them safely.