Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Babywearing

2 kids, 1 wrap and a momma with her hands free.

G always wants to cuddle in the afternoons-typically about the time I need to start dinner. He hasn't been worn in a very long time (he's 36# for crying-in-a-bucket! Look at the proportions in the pic above) so he wasn't sure about the wrap last night. But he had fallen asleep in the car on the way home from Village Home and kept wanting to go back to sleep. I had to make dinner for C's birthday. What to do? Plop him in the wrap. He loved it and it was just enough to transition him to wakefulness. And we had a lovely dinner with my own variation of Turkish chicken and rice.

Babywearing is one of those "crunchy" things, but I can't understand why. Who wouldn't want to have free hands and a happy baby? And who really wants to haul around one of those baby buckets (whose handles are always being recalled anyway?).
I asked for a sling for M and always wanted one, but never got one. Boy do I wish I would have!! He was the ideal candidate for babywearing. By the time G came along, I knew more, and had a pattern for a ring sling. I made 2 and used them constantly. Then I discovered wrapping. I made a couple of woven wraps and wore those quite a bit too. When G was suffering from his wheat allergy that was still unknown to his parents, he screamed constantly. I couldn't put him down for anything. Ever. That's when I made my first Mei Tai. Beautiful thing to have. He lived in that for quite some time. Even after I stopped feeding him wheat. For quite a long time, it's where he went down for a nap. Or should I say UP. Babywearing is how I survived Village Home with a busy toddler.
This time around, I made a jersey wrap like a Moby Wrap. E spends a lot of time in that. I think he has only been transported in his carseat 2, maybe 3, times. If we are out, he's in the wrap. The pictures above are of my very first purchased babycarrier. It is a Hoppediz and I'm in love!
So why babywear? Other than being able to get things done with a baby/toddler around? Studies have shown that babies who are worn cry an astounding amount less. Like hardly ever. They breastfeed better, and mom is much more attuned to the baby's cues. Spending time together just increases familiarity.
Because baby is facing towards mom in all situations (or should be--don't use the outward carries unless you are just at home in a calm setting), baby can see mom's-or dad's- face and therefore learn how to respond to various situations. Babies read expressions on their caregivers faces to learn what situations are safe/happy/worrisome/stressful.
Even though a baby looks pretty squashed in a carrier, it's very comfortable for them and helps them feel safe. Just like swaddling. But, there is more "give" than one might expect. This has an interesting side effect. Because the wearer is in constant motion, baby has to learn to adjust to the movement. This has a dramatic effect on balance coordination. And it may be life-long. You just don't learn much balance sitting in a carseat.
There has been a lot written lately about the flat heads babies are getting. Between sleeping on their backs, sitting in carseats, laying on playmats, sitting in swings and bouncy seats, it's no wonder they are getting flat heads. Not in a baby carrier. Baby is cradled in fabric or sitting upright. No pressure on the back of the skull=no flat head.
Babywrapping is also ideal for skin-to-skin time or "kangaroo care." The wrap goes all around mom's torso and cuddles baby right against her chest. Then mom can still move around or just stand and sway in the living room. This is especially beneficial to preemies and adopted babies.
I love babywearing in public because it provides private space for my babes. In a carseat perched in the shopping cart, it seems like they are up on display for anyone to come and admire. Yes, my kids are amazingly beautiful, but they get tired of hearing it from strangers--or being petted by strangers. People are not likely to touch or sometimes even see a baby snuggled in a pouch of fabric on your chest. It just isn't considered very polite to reach out and touch a woman's chest. That way, baby can sleep or cuddle in peace and safety.
For more information on babywearing, my favorite site is The BabyWearer.

4 comments:

Lanna said...

*sigh* my kids were born *just* too early, it seems. If I ever have another, I can't imagine relegating the wee thing to an impersonal car seat carrier! And yet, that's just what we did. Meh.

Haha, that reminded me though, I did have one of those stupid bucket carrier whatsits. It seemed quite useful in the catalogue, but was so ungainly it got used perhaps twice. The more 'normal' carrier I had (for '98) didn't fare much better as it seemed just wrong to put my kid in something that forced him/her to do the sideways splits..

Mommy Bee said...

What a marvelous post! (not to mention spiffy pictures...oh you'll be seeing them appear on my blog soon fear not! LOL and thank you a TON!)

Mommy Bee said...

You need to post some tutorials, by the way, of how to do these back carries...I have not been able to get the hang of them, and Bear is getting awfully big to be on my front!

RasJane said...

I will see if dh can take a series of pictures tonight and I will get up a tut of the backwears. One for little ones and one for bigger ones, sound good? That is, if I'm still awake and able to tie a knot tonight, LOL