When you first have a baby, most likely all you want to do is hold them and snuggle them in your arms. Those first few days or weeks where all you do is hold them and stare at them is amazing! But once real life kicks in…you quickly find that it can be a major struggle to get stuff done while holding a baby. And you also find out that many babies don’t like being put down…ever! Because if you do they will scream bloody murder. These are affectionately known as Velcro babies.
So what do you do when you can’t put your baby down??
Enter babywearing! When I had my first baby, I knew what it was but didn’t give it much thought. Well I ended up with a Velcro baby and I had to figure out a solution fast! She wouldn’t even sleep if she wasn’t in my arms. Someone suggested going to a babywearing meeting, (a meeting where you try on different types of wraps and carriers to see what you like best) and I haven’t looked back since!
Benefits of Babywearing
Not only are your hands free while you can still hold your baby close, but there are so many other benefits to babywearing as well!
Fourth trimester- Babies are used to sitting snuggly in your womb. It’s where they lived for about 9 months. So they instinctively want to be near you in what is known as the fourth trimester. The fourth trimester starts from the day they are born until they are 3 months old. It is a huge adjustment for a baby to go from being in your womb to being in the huge open space of the outside world. When you wear your baby they get that security of being near you all the time.
Bonding- While babywearing you are bonding with your baby! You are taking care of their needs because you are right there as soon as they need you. You can talk to them, sing to them, snuggle them, feed them, all which promotes bonding! – (LLL)
Feel safe- Babies feel safe because they are with their caregiver who meets their needs very quickly. They don’t have to cry for a long time to get someone to hear them and come to them because you are right there. Knowing you respond to them quickly begins to build trust between the two of you, which is essential for your relationship. – (Dr. Sears)
They learn socialization- Babywearing allows babies to look around at the world while still close to you. They are closer to your face so they can watch while you interact with people. They can hear how language sounds when you are talking to someone and they talk back. It’s a great way to learn socialization while staying safely tucked against you. – (Dr. Sears)
They control their stimulation- Once your baby inevitably becomes over-stimulated from all of the things they see and hear in the world, they can nestle right into you to block out that stimuli.
It promotes exercise for you- You have to engage your core muscles while babywearing so this is great to improve your core strength! It’s also like weightlifting because you are having to bend, squat, and move around with extra weight attached to you! – (LLL)
Baby carriers are much easier to use in public- Carriers take up much less space in your car than a stroller. When you go out in public you don’t have to worry if your stroller is too bulky to get around the store, or if it can make it over bumpy terrain outside, or how you’ll carry around your car seat with your infant inside. You just pop the baby in and go! – (Laura Simeon)
Baby is calmer and happier- Your baby will be more calm because again, you are there to meet their needs very quickly. So they don’t have that rise in cortisol when they cry for a long time. That is the hormone that increases when they are stressed out.
Baby sleeps better- This was one of the biggest benefits for me. Instead of trying to battle with my oldest to get her to sleep in a crib, I just let her sleep on me in the carrier. Some people say it causes bad habits but I can assure you it doesn’t. Now my daughter sleeps in her own bed with no problems. When you wear your baby, they can sleep whenever they want and if you are against sleep training, you won’t have to listen to them cry when you try to leave them in a crib.
Toddlers love it too- Many times toddlers want to be near you but they are too big to be carried in your arms for long or you have other stuff to do. This was true for my oldest as she was 22 months old when I had my son. While she was gaining her independence, she still very much wanted to be held. Occasionally I would wear her if I wasn’t wearing my youngest, or at times I would tandem wear them! (Tandem wearing is when you wear multiple kids at the same time). It would help her to feel close to me and continue to keep my hands free to cook or get chores done.
It decreases tantrums- A lot of times when my daughter was a young toddler, her tantrums would subside if I would hold her. By wearing her, it decreased the length of tantrums or they subsided completely. If your toddler had a meltdown, it helps to promote bonding once again. They can be near you while regulating their emotions. – (Laura Simeon)
Helps with jealousy- If you have young children, chances are the older one will be jealous of the littlest one. One of the things that was hard on my oldest was I would babywear her all the time before I had her brother. So once I started wearing her brother she would want to be worn too because I used to do that with her. By wearing her alone or tandem babywearing, it decreased her jealousy because I was still able to do something I had done with her all the time before the new baby came.
Baby Carrier/Wrap Resources
There are so many benefits to wearing your baby. There are also so many different types of carriers so if you have tried one and you didn’t like it, try a different one! I’ve been babywearing for nearly 4 years and I’ve tried out many and some were definitely not as comfortable as others!
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My absolute favorites are:
I prefer the stretchy wraps when my babies were little and once they were between 4-6 months old I switched to the Ergo, Tula, and Kinderpack. The Ergo doesn’t have as high of a back as the Tula and Kinderpack so as my kids got taller, the Tula and Kinderpack were more comfortable for them especially when they fell asleep. That high back provided more head support when they fell asleep. It also gave them more room to hide their faces when they wanted to sleep or block out stimulation.
These are my go to carriers because they are super long lasting! I’ve had mine since my oldest was born and it has gone through two kids and they are still in great shape!
I also love the comfort factor. When you’re wearing your baby for a long time, you need something comfortable! These carriers support your back and shoulders so you don’t become uncomfortable using them.
Don’t let the naysayers scare you from trying out babywearing. Babywearing is great for you and your baby! Your child will not be dependent on you forever if you hold them when they are little. In fact, if you let them be dependent on you when they need it, it actually creates independence because they feel safe that you will be there for them when they need you.
Have you tried babywearing? Which carrier is your favorite?
More great resources: