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Sunday, March 27, 2011


Using a wrap, baby carrier, or sling

Wear a baby, you ask? What exactly does that entail? Although it may conjure up some odd images in your mind, it just means carrying your baby in a carrier: a sling, wrap, or soft structured carrier.

Your baby may not be a calm, smiling, cooing picture of perfection 24 hours a day. If your baby is anything like most babies, he or she will love snuggling with mom and dad and be much more fussy when lying alone. In the first few weeks, relaxing on the couch with baby in arms is better than anything. But eventually the house needs cleaning, groceries must be bought, and mama needs to be out and about. You’ll get used to doing chores one-handed, but it’s twice as fast (and you drop less stuff) when you have both hands free.

Does baby really need to be held all the time? If your baby is like mine, the answer is a clear yes. I could sit on the couch and rock my babies to sleep, then try to set them down, but inevitably, they would wake within 20 minutes. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I couldn’t get anything done. And they would get cranky from having no real naps all day.

When I wear my babies, they may sleep for three hours straight. When they wake between sleep cycles, they are warm and cozy and soothed back to sleep by my heartbeat or a quick pat on the back. So many people say their babies only nap in their arms. So they're stuck on the couch. Unless they put baby in a carrier so they can go about their day. When baby sleeps in your arms, he is much more likely to wake at every little noise or movement. You cringe if you so much as sneeze. But when baby sleeps in a carrier, listening to your heartbeat and feeling your warmth, you can feel free to move around, talk, turn on lights... baby sleeps much more deeply and won't wake as easily.

Baby T is constantly in motion and wants to look at everything, even when he is exhausted. He won’t stop and rest on his own. But putting him on my back in a baby carrier gives him the rest he needs and still lets him interact with the world. When there is too much stimulus, your baby or toddler will feel safe in a carrier.

Now that I have two kids in diapers, I can’t imagine not having baby carriers at my disposal. If I couldn’t wear Little M while playing with Baby T or putting him to bed, Little M would cry all the time. And soothing a hysterical baby after the fact is much harder than keeping him calm in the first place. Plus, if I had to spend extra time calming hysterical Little M, Baby T would become hysterical in the meantime. Fun stuff. I would not be able to handle two children without being able to wear one of them.

I have walked through Costco nursing Little M in a wrap. I freelance, and I have held phone meetings with baby napping on my chest. I have worn my baby on my chest and my cranky toddler on my back. I love having my babies near while I live my life. And with babywearing, I can have babies and live my life. And my life is much easier.

And yes, that's Little M sleeping on my chest as I write this.


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