"Carry them to the moon and back, with a woven wrap on your belly or back. Hold them close and keep them warm. Forever together, forever as one."
Did you wear your baby? Have you considered wearing your baby? Mom of multiples? Here's your new best friend: Babywearing. Here's why:
Babywearing has endless benefits not only to baby, but to mom/dad/wearer as well. The Babywearing International Website states that:
I started researching Babywearing when my first was about six weeks old. He went through a phase of Purple Crying in which he would not be happy unless he was in my arms and sometimes cry for up to 6 hours a day. I've always been drawn to the attachment style of parenting, so I researched Babywearing and found it's benefits endless. I purchased a ring sling as my first carrier and proceeded to wear my newborn for hours on end as it was the only thing that would soothe him. He was safe and snuggled against my skin, able to hear my heartbeat and breathing and have easy access to my breast when he wanted. I was able to get things done around my house and have some of my sanity back. As he was a premature baby, our breastfeeding journey started off rocky, so Babywearing improved that by allowing him to eat when he pleased and the skin to skin contact allowed him to work on his latch, smell my milk, and it decreased my stress levels. I then ordered a structured carrier that we used when he was a bit older. As I delved more into the Babywearing community, I discovered soft structured wraps and purchased a few of those as well. (Now I have a collection that seems to continue to grow because I may be a bit obsessed with the beautiful wraps you can get out there..)
When we found out I was pregnant with our second, Babywearing was a no brainer as our babies would be about 18 months apart. So obviously I was going to need free hands to play with Jackson but I also didn't want Jaana to be left in a swing chair all day. I wanted both of my babies to have my attention, so Babywearing makes sense for us. I still wear both of my babies, and I've even purchased a "dolly" wrap for Jackson so he can wear his babies when mommy wears Jaana. Wearing your child promotes bonding, improves mental and emotional health for both mom and baby and it just feels good. Not only does it give us the ability to go out and do things, but if we have other children it allows us to model active parenting and encourage closeness with our children.
There are a ton of different ways to wear your baby, and you need to research what is safe and what is not. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, but almost every single brand that makes baby carriers provides online tutorials that are incredibly helpful, especially if you're just getting started. Children love to be close to their parents, and Babywearing doesn't have to stop after 1 year old. I still wear Jackson and it gives us extra snuggle time and I love it. Just be sure to follow the weight limit on your carrier.
Generally speaking, the rules of thumb for Babywearing is that:
1) baby is at kissable height
2) baby's face/airways are clear and visible
3) baby has a deep seat with knees higher than bum (sitting in an "M" shape.
Choosing a baby carrier that you feel 100% safe with is so important, after all they do hold our most precious cargo.
Here's a list of my favourite carriers. I've linked their websites to their names so you can check them out to see more.
Ring Slings: True North Slings - a Canadian company that makes absolutely beautiful linen ring slings that both of my children absolutely love. These give the best sleepy dust and come in the most gorgeous colours. Their maker is pretty awesome too :)
Soft Wraps: Beluga Baby - another Canadian (British Columbia) made bamboo wrap that is absolutely wonderful. These are the softest wraps that provide a four way stretch and I find these to be so insanely comfortable, not only for me but for my babies as well.
Solly Baby Wraps - These are a company made in the U.S. and they have the most gorgeous patterns. These wraps are buttery soft and have just enough stretch in them to not become loose during the day.
Structured Carriers: Tula Baby - these carriers are super comfortable, and can be worn both in the front and the back. I love my Tula carrier for going hiking and going on longer adventures, especially for the heavier babies because they provide a lot more support.
As a Doula, I highly recommend Babywearing. It not only provides amazing benefits to you and baby, but it really allows for more special snuggle time to bond with your baby. It makes the adjustment to parenthood and motherhood a bit easier. As a mother, Babywearing has been a lifesaver. It has brought back my sanity, allow me to spend quality time with both of my children, and it allows me to continue my job as a doula/birth photographer as I can bring my child with me. It makes those days and nights not feel so endless, soothes upset tummies, eases a wakeful toddler, and gives the most amazing sleepy dust to our children. Both of my children could sleep for hours in their carriers and I genuinely will miss my Babywearing days when they are over.