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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Babywearing and the New Baby

The following is a guest post written by Megan from SortaCrunchy - thanks so much for filling in for me, Megan!

Allow me to say a warm hello to readers of Problem Solvin' Mom! I am honored that Steph asked me to fill-in a little for her over here while she is on her babymoon. Our topic today speaks to just that idea - nurturing, snuggling, and carrying a new baby in the ancient art of babywearing.

I didn't begin wearing my oldest daughter until she was five or six months old, so when our second daughter came along, I was unsure of what sort of carrier I would want for carrying a wee one. I did, however, know I would need one as Big Sister was, by then, two and a half and very active. I did plenty of reading in the months leading up to Little Sister's arrival, and I wanted to share with you some of the more popular choices for wearing a new baby.

(First, a PSA of sorts: Please note that a safety concern for newborns in a baby carrier is positional asphyxia which can happen if baby is positioned in a sling in a "chin to chest" position. Please read this article from thebabywearer.com on Correct Positioning for the Safety and Comfort of Your Newborn for more information!)

1. Stretchy Wrap

Many, many mamas are in love with stretchy wraps for new babies. Stretchy wraps include carriers such as The Sleepy Wrap or the Moby Wrap. Although some new babies do enjoy being carried in the cradle carry, there are some who do not. My babies never liked to be worn that way. The stretchy wrap allows the baby wearer to wear the baby in an upright position. Baby is snuggled in close to the warmth and heartbeat of the parent or care giver and can experience sound and motion similar to when he was still tucked into the womb. Additionally, if a baby is having problems with reflux, this upright position can ease his pain.

2. Mei Tai Carrier

My personal favorite for a new baby was our mei tai - probably because a mei tai was the carrier with which I was already the most familiar when LIttle Sister came along. Some parents are not comfortable with the mei tai until baby is a little older and has a little more head control. I think it depends largely on what sort of mei tai you are wearing. I have a Mei Tai Baby carrier with an adjustable bottom that snaps inwards to accommodate wearing little ones. I have a friend who simply swaddles her new babies and then tucks them into her Babyhawk carrier. The mei tai is obviously another carrier that will allow for upright carriers.

3. Pouch Sling

You've probably seen babies worn in a pouch sling because brands like Hotsling are now carried at Target and have become a bit more "mainstream." Pouch slings are fantastic for moms on the go because they are essentially just a tube of fabric. These can be easily rolled up and tucked in a diaper bag. They are also a very chic way to babywear - no straps or excess material hanging off of you. For the new baby who likes to be worn in a cradle carry, a pouch can be a wonderful choice, and a pouch sling can continue to be worn into older babyhood and toddlerhood - they are perfect for hip carries. My very first sling purchase was a Lucky Baby pouch! One caveat - getting the right fit with a pouch sling is imperative. Each pouch maker will have specific sizing information so you'll know which size to purchase for yourself.

4. Ring Sling

Finally, the classic choice for wearing a new baby is the ring sling. Ring slings are wonderful because they can accommodate several types of positions. You can easily wear a baby in a cradle carry, but if baby likes to be upright, you can also wear her in a tummy-to-tummy hold. Ring slings are also adjustable, so sizing isn't an issue and each parent could wear the baby in the same sling. Some people don't care for the extra fabric or "tail" of the ring sling, but others find it makes a great nursing cover. As with all things babywearing, it's really a matter of personal taste. Popular ring slings include Zolowear and Maya Wrap, but if you are handy with a sewing machine, you could also make your own.

I enjoyed wearing my oldest daughter when she was a baby and toddler, but babywearing became an imperative - a way of life, actually - for me once our second daughter came along. Practicing the art of babywearing has many benefits for both mama and baby, including a possible reduction in the risk of SIDS. For me, the biggest benefit was that it allowed me to stay physically connected to my sweet new baby while I cared for, chased after, and shared precious time with my the new Big Sister.

Perhaps this will answer some questions and start some good conversation about your favorite way to wear a new baby!

Megan blogs about faith, motherhood, and natural living at SortaCrunchy.

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1 comment:

HeatherPride said...

Wow, I can't wait to see the new addition!!! Congrats!