So this is still part of my Preparing for Baby #3 series, even though baby #3 decided to make his appearance a month early! On Oct. 11th, I delivered my third. 🙂 He came into this world kicking and screaming, weighing a hefty 7lbs, 4oz, at 36 weeks and 3 days. So I have gotten a refresher on much that is in this post. 🙂
I decided to give babywearing its own post. Babywearing can be confusing, but now that I have worn a newborn, I don’t know how I ever lived without it!
There are so many ways to wear a little one and everyone has their favorite(s). 🙂 I personally love wraps, ring slings, and wrap carriers.
Reminder: Until a baby has really good head control, they need to be front-carried only, facing you! No back-carry! Back-carries can be started once baby can hold their head up well, and have enough control to look around.
- Wraps – These are great for the first few weeks. They help to keep the baby warm and close to you. They are also great for skin to skin contact, as the way the wrap is worn, it keeps mom covered. Also, wraps hold the baby so close that it can allow mom to lean back and rest. Just like having the baby lay on mom’s chest, just wrapped up. 🙂 Just don’t fall asleep!!! You don’t want to roll over on baby.
There are 2 different kinds of wraps. Both are great for newborns.
The first is a stretchy wrap, like a Moby or a Boba. The stretchiness helps you get practice taking the baby in and out of the wrap while giving plenty of room to adjust as needed. The downside to stretchy wraps are they need to be rewrapped if you need to take baby out, can get looser the longer you baby wear, and they can really only safely support a baby smaller than 12lbs.
The second is a woven wrap. These are typically a woven cotton. Popular brands are Dolcino, Wrapsody and Tula. (Wrapsody also makes stretch wraps.) Woven wraps are great for long-term babywearing, as there is no spandex to stretch out. Woven wraps can also support larger babies, so you can safely wear your baby after they hit the 12lb mark. The only downside I have noticed to woven wraps is that sometimes it can be hard to get the wrap to where it is not digging into your shoulder while you are wearing. But this can be remedied with practice.
There is a bit of a learning curve with wraps. It take some practice to get the right fit and snugness.
- Ring Slings – I love ring slings! They are so easy to use. You just throw it on, make sure baby is all snug, tighten it up, and you are ready to go! These are perfect for running in the grocery store, or days you just don’t feel like wrapping yourself up in a wrap carrier.
A word of caution! Do not lay baby down in the sling like a hammock! This is a very unsafe way to babywear, as the baby’s head can tilt forward and cut off the airway. I feel I must be blunt here, your baby can smother if worn this way. The proper way to wear a little one in a ring sling is snuggled upright against your chest, with their legs wrapped around you. Like they are giving you a full body hug. You want them up high enough that you can easily kiss the top of their head.
- Soft-Structure Carriers – Since we are talking about wearing a newborn, this category can be a little confusing. This category includes carriers like the Boba 4G, Action Baby Carriers (ABC) and the Tula Standard, which can be used without an infant insert, or the Ergo and Beco, which need an infant insert. (Tula also makes an infant insert, but I have found that it is not 100% necessary. With the Ergo, it is needed in order to give the baby the proper head support.) I personally love the Action Baby Carrier and the Tula Standard, as they are super easy to put on. I have one of each and usually keep one in the car and one in the house. 🙂
With carriers that do not need an infant insert, you still might need something to give baby a little support for the first few weeks. I have found that a small receiving blanket works very well. Just roll it up and use it like a seat for the baby. Make sure to keep their legs spread out, just like with the wrap or ring sling. Like they are giving you a big hug. 🙂
This is in no way an exhaustive list of your babywearing options. If you want more info on babywearing, many areas have babywearing groups that provide help with many different types of carriers at many different stages. Some groups also have carrier “libraries”, where you can borrow carriers and try them out for a few weeks, before you commit to a big purchase. (Let’s be honest, carriers are expensive!) One place to look up groups is Babywearing International. Many local groups also advertise on Facebook. These groups are well worth the time to look into, whether you are new to babywearing, or if you have worn all of your children.
For me personally, babywearing from the start has been a huge help! It lets me care for my other children and just helps to provide a sense of peace and calming for me and my new little one.
Babywearing is a life-saver. 🙂