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Better than a Little Black Dress: Baby-wearing has many benefits for you and your cutest accessory.
Sacagawea carries her baby on the dollar coin. Daddies strap on the front pack carriers to head to the park. Baby-wearing is a practice that has been common throughout history. The practice has many benefits, both for the baby and the parents.
Baby-wearing can soothe a fussy newborn. The closeness and gentle motion can replicate the familiar closeness of the womb. It can allow for you to complete simple household tasks when the little one doesn't want to be set down. Carrying your baby keeps them close and protected from germs while you are out in public. Baby-wearing can stimulate bonding, promote nursing, and relieve tired arms, while still comforting a fussy baby.
If you are interested in baby-wearing, you have boundless options. There are many types of carriers, many different holds, and many ways to use your carrier. There are groups and websites dedicated to the practice of baby-wearing that offer reviews, advice, and help for new mothers who want to learn more. We have forums on this topic as well.
A few basics:
- Baby carriers are widely available. Some of the more common types are the structured soft carrier, the pouch sling, and the Asian-style carriers, or mei tai.
- The widely known structured carrier is the Baby Bjorn. These carriers allow the wearer to carry baby on their chest, facing in or out (depending on their age, neck strength, and preference). These carriers can be adjusted so that either parent can wear the baby.
- Pouch slings are the simplest type of carrier. The carrier is a band of fabric that, when worn across the body, forms a pouch for holding your baby. These carriers are easy to learn and easy to take along, but don't offer size adjustability.
- The wrap-style carriers consist of a fabric square with long straps that wrap around the carrier's shoulders and waist. These can be worn on the back or the front. They are easily adjustable, but take some practice to learn how to tie and secure.
- You may find that one carrier works best for you, or that you like different types for different uses. Try to find a local store, where you can experiment with different types of carriers, before you decide which type to purchase. Some people begin using one type of carrier with their newborn, but find that another type fits their needs better as the baby begins to grow and change. The benefits of baby-wearing, and the convenience of being able to carry baby close while still enjoying some freedom, make it worth exploring.