BABYWEARING is holding or carrying a baby or young child using a cloth baby carrier. Holding babies is natural and universal; baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable, allowing parents and caregivers to hold or carry their children while attending to the daily tasks of living.Babywearing International
Babywearing allows me to bring my 8 month old daughter wherever I go without the agony of carrying her with my bare arms. It also allows me multitask since I am hands free. At times, I breastfeed my daughter in a carrier as well. My baby loves it too – she sleeps well in a baby carrier and even stops crying or being fussy. Being close to me, it creates a deeper bond between me and my child.
CHOOSING YOUR BABY CARRIER
There are lots of baby carriers available in the market. For someone new to babywearing, choosing can be a bit overwhelming. There are lots of factors to consider, but it’s best if you can try one before you buy.
Sling meets are usually organized by babywearing support groups. Local babywearing consultants are available if you want to seek professional help. You can opt to rent baby carriers from local retailers at a minimum fee. Some brands are also available in department stores or in baby fairs.
Here are the common types of carriers:
- Ring sling
A Ring sling is a long fabric with attached rings on one end. It is a one shoulder carry and is easier to put the baby in and out. This type of carrier is advisable for newborns.
A wrap is a long piece of fabric that you need to wrap around you and your baby. By tying the ends, you are creating a snug and safe place for your baby. Among the types of carriers, wraps (especially woven wraps) are very versatile since there are various carry types to try on.
- Soft structured carrier (SSC)
SSC or buckled carriers are the most common type of carrier. The waistband and straps are adjustable in order to adjust to the size of the wearer. The width of the panel must be considered to ensure that it supports ergonomic positioning. This type of carrier can be easily shared among members of the family. SSCs now come in fully adjustable types wherein you can usually use it from birth to toddlerhood.
PROPER AND SAFE BABYWEARING
In babywearing, you don’t just pop in your child in a carrier. His safety must be considered first above everything else. Here is an acronym which most babywearers remember because it’s easy to recall:
Your baby must also be positioned properly to optimize the benefits. Baby’s knees must always be higher than the bum, his knees spread out in order to allow healthy development. This is what we commonly call as the M-position or a deep seat.
Forward facing carriers and carrier’s where baby’s legs are dangling (commonly called as narrow-based carriers) should be avoided, as they do not support proper positioning.
OUR BABYWEARING JOURNEY
It started when I attended a sling meet near our place organized by a mom blogger in partnership with a local carrier brand. It helped me gain the confidence to wear my preemie baby in a ring sling and woven wrap as early as 29 days. This was even before she reached day 1 of her corrected age. So yes, babies can be worn in a carrier staring day 1 as long as the carrier used is age appropriate. I started with a ring sling, now we also have an SSC and a woven wrap.
Until today, we are enjoying the convenience of babywearing my daughter wherever we go. My husband, although not frequent, babywears too. I also spread babywearing awareness by reaching out to soon-to-be parents in our work place and in my friends list.
If you want to learn more about babywearing, join the Facebook group Babywearing Philippines (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BabywearingPhilippines/). BWP is a support group that supports safe, responsible and proper babywearing.
Written by: Camille Anne L. Hernandez