By Maura Keating
Life with Baby is never easy, but always precious. Baby wearing makes day-to-day life a little easier so that you can cherish the precious moments and minimize those moments that are not so prized. Baby wearing is when you use a carrier (which can be as simple as a long piece of fabric) to carry a child on your back, front, or hip. Aside from the obvious benefits (getting things done hands free, bonding with your child through a close physical connection, no more dragging car seats and strollers through crowds), most babies seem to enjoy being in a carrier as much as parents enjoy the freedom it affords them. The number one question that I get when I’m wearing my son is, “Is that comfortable?” The answer is a resounding yes! (Well, most of the time . . .) Some carries were not instantly comfortable; I think that I needed to build up muscles that had never been used. However, after pregnancy, it felt natural for my son to be close to me. What a bonus that I could actually SEE him!
I always knew that I wanted to try baby wearing. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law gave us a beautiful Baby Bjorn carrier before my son arrived. It worked well enough until my husband snapped off one of the buckles in the car door (my son was not inside). For long carries, my back would start to ache mercilessly, and as my son grew larger (and he grew quickly), I found that I could only wear the carrier for short distances, until finally I could barely make it around the block without ripping the Baby Bjorn off in disgust. My dislike for the Baby Bjorn led me to so many other carriers that have made my life easier.
TheBabyWearer.com is an excellent place to immerse yourself in the topic. From forums to product reviews, this website has it all. There is also an excellent list of articles on the subject that go into far greater depth than I can here. In Rhode Island, the Kangamamas is an amazing group of people who meet every month to discuss baby wearing, trade tricks and ideas, learn new methods, and lust over new carriers. Their website has a forum where you can introduce yourself, learn about upcoming meet-ups, or ask questions about baby wearing from a local perspective.
Baby wearing might not be for everyone, but I think it would be for most everyone if they gave it a try with the right carrier. The benefits of baby wearing far outweigh the price, learning curve, or anxiety that may be attached to your perceptions of the practice. If cost is the biggest obstacle, there are patterns available that make it easy to construct your own sling, pouch, or mei tai carrier, or use a long length of gauze and teach yourself how to wrap. Give it a try—I hope these reviews inspire you to go hands free. This week, we’re reviewing pouches and ring slings. Stay tuned for future reviews of soft structured carriers.