My son had double hernia surgery when he was two months old. But that didn’t stop the spitting up.
First I couldn’t bear to let him cry because I knew what it did to his hernias, and then to his incisions. And then, crying just exacerbated his indigestion.
We finally concluded that it was diet-induced reflux issues. And changing my diet helped to some extent. But the only thing that really kept him from crying and spitting too much–and thus kept me sane–was babywearing.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with babywearing. But the shoulder and wrist issues I’d dealt with juggling my first two babies made me consider babywearing as a healthier alternative for my body. And my son’s hernias pushed me to study more ergonomically safe carriers and carrying positions for his little body.
I quickly discovered that babywearing was not only fun, but addicting (is there a babywearers anonymous for those who have too many baby carriers?). Babywearing has become part of some of my most precious memories of mothering my babies.
Here are the top ten reasons I really love babywearing. (There’s actually more to my obsession with babywearing than all the pretty colors, luxurious fabrics, and the #fortheloveofbabywearing hashtags. Honest.)
1. Fourth trimester.
Babywearing replicates the sounds and feelings of the womb.
I loved being pregnant. Babywearing recreates that closeness for me and for my little one. Though not the complete skin-to-skin of kangaroo care, it has many of the same advantages–including regulating baby’s temperature and breathing. (And instead of absentmindedly rubbing a now-empty belly, I’m subconsciously patting my baby in the carrier.)
2. Hands free.
Babywearing allows my hands to be free while I soothe and snuggle my baby.
I’m really not sure how I got anything done as a mom before I started babywearing. It’s so convenient to be able to have both hands free while shopping or cooking or working, and yet still have my baby close. (Basically, babywearing is the extra set of hands every mom has always wanted.)
Babywearing helps ensure my child’s safety.
It’s been said that to be a mother is to have your heart walking around outside your body. We as mothers are so prone to worry. But it eases my mind to know my baby is safely within the protection of my arms–or securely attached to my back. (As long as no one tries to “help” me adjust the carrier, that is!)
Babywearing eases digestive issues by keeping baby upright after a meal.
Babies who struggle with reflux can’t be laid flat for a period of time after each meal. The transition from burping to babywearing after each meal is much easier on little tummies than moving to a swing or seat. (And thankfully, baby carriers are washable. Because even being upright doesn’t eliminate all reflux symptoms all the time.)
5. Weight distribution
Babywearing takes the strain off my back and arms.
When I find myself juggling my babe in one arm again, I quickly remember why I turned to babywearing. A good carrier puts most of the weight on your waist, not your shoulders. Proper babywearing can help prevent over-extension and injury of elbows, wrists, and back because of the way the weight is balanced on your body. (A sleeping baby feels like it weighs a lot more than it really does.)
Babywearing lets baby be part of the action.
When the rest of the family has something going on, babywearing brings the baby right into the middle of what’s happening. It’s stimulating, it’s educational, and it might even lull them to sleep. (It’s also a good way to make sure they don’t get into trouble while the rest of the family is occupied!)
Babywearing allows for extra bonding time.
For adoptive babies, it’s essential. For caregivers, it’s very helpful. And for daddies and aunties and grandmas and anyone else who may not get as much quality time with the newest little one in the family, it’s an absolute delight. (Soft structured carriers are often easiest for those unused to babywearing. This is a legitimate excuse to buy another carrier style.)
8. Babywearing daddies.
There’s nothing more precious than watching a daddy with his baby.
There are so many sweet experiences of motherhood that are impossible to share with our husbands. But babywearing is a part of parenthood that Daddy can enjoy just as much as Mommy. It’s the closest he’ll even have to the experience of being pregnant. (And when he’s willing to take a shift juggling a crying baby…that’s really sexy.)
9. All the feel good hormones.
Research indicates that babywearing increases oxytocin and prolactin.
When you’ve been chasing little ones all day and the baby won’t stop crying, there’s nothing that calms mom and baby more than babywearing. Baby’s close proximity to mommy’s breast helps increase your milk supply. And there is even research to indicate that the hormones released while you snuggle your baby through babywearing can help ease symptoms of postpartum depression. (If nothing else, there’s the proven shopping therapy of searching for your next carrier!)
10. Close enough to kiss.
Babywearing keeps your little one snuggled close.
Babies don’t stay little long enough. But there’s something about having them there, head resting near your your heart, that seems to make time stand a bit more still. If babywearing did nothing but give me more opportunities to kiss that sweet baby head, it would be worth it. (No matter how much I spent on baby carriers.)
Babywearing my son out of necessity made me fall in love with babywearing as an indulgence. Four years later, I was expecting his baby sister, and I couldn’t wait to start babywearing again.
Now my littlest one is growing up so fast. I know our babywearing days together are numbered. I’m beginning to think about which carriers I’ll pass on to a family member and which ones I’ll resell (that was the logic in purchasing them, right?). But I know I’m not going to be able to part with all my favorite baby carriers.
After all, I want to have something on hand to wear my nieces and nephews. And before long, my dollywearing daughters will grow up to be mommas, and Lord willing, I’ll be the babywearing grandma my mom gets to be right now.
What do you love most about babywearing? I’d love to hear.
(Of course, you can also check out the reasons I would not recommend babywearing.)
Babywearing Mommy Photos by the Babywearing Grandma,
Babywearing Grandma & Daddy Photos by the Babywearing Mommy