Babywearing Basics: It is a Family Affair

May 1, 2023 | Babywearing

Mother kissing newborn wearing babywearing basics

by Laci Tang, B.S., IBCLC, PCD (DONA), CBE

What is Babywearing?

The word babywearing may be new to you or you may already be familiar with the term. Simply put, babywearing is wearing your baby on your body, usually in a sling or some kind of baby carrier. People from all over the world and in many different cultures have been babywearing for centuries. Babywearing can look different from family to family depending on what type of carrier is being used or how they choose to incorporate the practice into their lives.

There is not just one way to wear your baby and there are many reasons parents and caregivers have been keeping their infants close to them since the start of humankind. Babywearing can be done on the caregiver’s front side of the body, hip, or on their back. Tandem wearing, or wearing two children, can also be achieved with a little practice. Multiple types of carriers are available, from long wraps, stretchy wraps like the Boba Wrap or Baby K’Tan, the Moby Ring Sling, and soft structured carriers like Ergobaby Omni or BabyBjorn to name a few.

Benefits of Babywearing

There are so many and here are just a few of our favorites!

Babywearing can increase milk supply and increase your baby’s weight gain. Keeping your baby in close proximity can encourage more frequent feedings, which can boost your milk supply when breastfeeding. Having your baby close to you can help you be more responsive and aware of your baby’s earliest feeding cues, so you are able to bring the baby to the breast before they begin crying or prepare a bottle sooner. Babies who are worn cry less, thus burning fewer calories, conserving more energy, and are more contented.

Convenient and good for your mental health.

Babywearing can help new parents and caregivers get outside for a walk or fresh air. It also helps to get things done around the home. When your hands are free you are able to eat, read a book, or do simple tasks around the home as needed. Babywearing can also make going out with a baby more convenient. When you don’t have to load and unload a stroller; riding public transportation, grocery shopping, and even a walk around the park may sound much more manageable.

Babywearing can help ease the transition from womb to world.

Many of us have heard the term “fourth trimester.” This is an easy way to define the first three months of an infant’s life. The fourth trimester can often be overwhelming for the infant and for the parents. Wearing your baby on your chest frequently in the first three months can help ease them into life outside the womb. When they are worn on your chest, the familiar sound of your heart is close by. They can smell your comforting scent, and be able to easily look at your face. All these things may bring them comfort in a place where everything is new, loud, bright, and can be overwhelming.

Babywearing is for everyone.

The babywearing world may often focus on babywearing for women or mothers who breastfeed, but babywearing can be for everyone! When babywearing becomes a family affair, everyone can benefit. The benefits of babywearing are beneficial whether it is the mother doing the wearing or someone else. When a new mother knows that her baby is calm and cared for by someone else, she can use that opportunity to bathe, eat, relax, and truly find a few moments for herself.

Many new fathers are looking for ways to bond with their new infant and babywearing can be a great option. Babywearing can help promote that special bond between baby and father by providing the opportunity for baby to get some much-needed warmth, comfort, and nurturing from their father. Baby will also be able to smell their father’s unique scent and hear the deep cadence of his voice.

This can help the baby get used to and feel safe in his presence. Sometimes after birth, it can be hard for a father to know exactly where he fits into the new family dynamic when much of the infant’s care falls on the mother. Babywearing can be an incredibly powerful tool for the father to use when his child needs comfort.

The benefits of babywearing don’t have to stop with just the parents. Older siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles can all get in on the babywearing action. Babywearing can help integrate the new family member into the household more quickly. This could also help lay the foundation for the relationship between babies and their families beyond just their parents.

Get help to learn how to use them

No matter what type of carrier you choose or if it is your first time using one, you might feel a little intimidated. That’s normal! There are videos online and paper directions with the carriers when you purchase them. However, many people feel having hands-on with someone who is certified in how to use them safely and efficiently is a better option for learning. There are resources to help get a personalized session to help get “fitted” for the best infant carrier for you and your little one by trying on several styles. Click the link to see what classes Laci Tang has available for you to get a personalized session!

Source: Reduced Crying

Sarah Early - MSN, APRN-FNP-C, IBCLC

Sarah Early, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, IBCLC, is a clinically trained Integrative and Functional Health Family Nurse Practitioner who specializes in women's health and is the owner of Peony Women's Integrative Health and Lactation Room. She graduated with a Master's in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner with high distinction and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Sarah has been a practicing International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) since 2011 and opened Lactation Room in 2014. Lactation Room specializes in supporting parent/baby dyads who are struggling with infant oral dysfunction, feeding difficulties, and tongue-and-lip ties. They earned the prestigious IBCLE Care Award from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) have recognized Lactation Room for excellence in lactation care. She is a member of ILCA, USLCA, MBC, AANP, IATP, and MBC.