Baby wearing, the practice of carrying your child next to your body in a sling made of cloth or in a front or back carrier, is gaining popularity among families. Long touted as a beneficial practice for the development of young babies by Dr. Sears, author of 30 parenting books, including The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby, wearing your baby is becoming mainstream and is no longer reserved for the “earth” mothers.
Baby wearing has been practiced for millennia in some cultures and, in its simplest form, is simply holding the baby close to mom using a long piece of fabric wrapped around the body. American Indians used the “papoose” to hold the baby on mom’s back while she worked. There are many benefits to wearing your baby: two free hands to attend to other needs, the baby is comforted by your closeness and the sound of your heartbeat providing a gentle transition from the womb, the stimulation of seeing the world from higher up as opposed to being in one place, and the ease of going for a walk without a stroller (toss in a diaper and a few wipes and ditch the diaper bag as well), just to name a few.
Today there are many options to choose from including wraps that you tie or slings that secure with rings, pouches and tubes, Asian-style slings, front carriers, and back packs. One is sure to be right for you.
Do a Google search of the term “baby wearing” and you’ll get over six million hits while searching on “baby slings” will net you over one million links. There are a myriad of resources in print, online, and most importantly, family and friends. When you see someone wearing their baby, stop and ask questions. Why do you do this? What type of carrier are you using? Why did you chose this one? Which don’t you like? Why? What works for one mom may not work for another.
Dr. Sears has an excellent online resource that covers baby wearing in great detail at http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051100.asp. It is under the “fussy babies” section but baby wearing is for all children, not just the fussy ones.