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:: i <3 babywearing ::

October 3, 2010

Babywearing is probably the most important thing I have learned about parenting. Ever.

I didn’t know about it with my first except for the token Bjorn or Snugli that everyone seems to get as a shower gift.  I tried it, disliked it, forgot about it and moved on.

Then, four years later, I had another baby.  He was a  preemie and wearing my baby took on a whole new meaning for me.  I read book upon book those countless minutes, days, weeks that he was encapsulated in an isolette in the NICU.  Dr. Sears became my new best friend. It was through him that I learned of the benefits of attachment parenting (AP) and with that, babywearing and the belief that “the womb lasts 18 months: nine months inside Mother and nine months outside”.  The number of times I’ve had strangers on the street comment that my baby looks like ‘she might as well still be inside you’ as though it were a criticism rather than a compliment is unnerving.

The benefits of babywearing in general are astounding, but for preemies that special closeness with a caregiver is even more important.  A technique often used with preemies is Kangaroo Care.  Holding the baby skin to skin helps to regulate the baby’s temperature, breathing, heart rate and also keeps them close to nourishment.  There are several scientific articles that have studied babywearing.  With titles such as Increased Carrying Reduces Infant Crying what mother of a newborn wouldn’t be interested?

After my son was home from the hospital we used baby carriers daily.  Part of it was due to the fact that after having him taken away from me for so long in the hospital, I just didn’t want to let him go; and knowing the benefits of babywearing, I didn’t.  The other factor of my near-constant wearing was the reality of having a four year old at home.  A four year old whose needs and differences were just starting to become noticeable to us.  Keeping Isaac close to me allowed him the security and comfort of being held, nourished and attended to, but also let me colour at the kitchen table, bake bread and cookies and play dinosaurs with my daughter.

It was around this time that I stumbled across and it has quickly become my favourite internet haunt ( I love it even more than Facebook!).  It was here that I learned everything that I know about carriers.  The differences between slings, wraps, mei tais and soft structured carriers; the safe way to use each of those different carriers, support from other moms who had preemies or children with special needs and other interesting tidbits you could only learn in General Chat. 😉

Babywearing has not only been beneficial to my children, but it has provided me with countless benefits as well.  Of course I can cite that carrying around a huge chunk of baby on my back for five days in Disney World must have done something for my overall fitness, but it was my mental health that babywearing and AP really managed to salvage.  I suffered some pretty intense post-partum depression after my first child was born.  That bond just wasn’t there.  I feel that having worn my children so close to my heart and always having them near me to hug, kiss, smell and talk to stunted any stirrings of PPD in my most recent pregnancies.

The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance is an organization working hard in Canada and the United States to ensure everyone has the opportunity to wear their babies close.  Please support them in their efforts (and enter to win a Manduca baby carrier for yourself in the process!)

Instead of a quote today I want to share a link with you: Baby Carriers of the Animal Kingdom.  Get your fill of cute animal babies.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 4, 2010 11:54 pm

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