Basics of Babywearing
by Jessica Long
As a doula and momma of two beautiful little girls I am a huge advocate for babywearing! Babywearing encourages bonding, can support breastfeeding, help combat postpartum depression, and can make caregiving easier especially if you have other little ones in tow!
But what may you ask is babywearing? Put simply it is the practice of keeping your baby or toddler close to you during your daily activities using some type of baby carrier. Getting started with babywearing may feel intimidating or overwhelming. There is quite a variety of styles of carriers. Just a few examples are ring slings, woven wraps, and soft structured carriers. There is no type of carrier that is truly the best. My advice is to try out a couple options and see what type is most comfortable and the best fit for your lifestyle. You may also find that as your child grows and changes developmentally you may start to favor a different kind of carrier.
Once you find a carrier that you like how can you be sure that you are using your carrier safely. Of course, safe wearing will depend on the carrier type, so be sure to consult the manual or instructions that came with your carrier. There is also local chapters of Babywearing International that you can meet up with that can help you make sure you are using your carrier correctly and safely. There is also some basic things to remember that can help you and baby keep safe no matter what type of carrier you are using. These are loving called the babywearing ABCs.
A stands for Airway: The baby’s chin should not be on the chest, baby should be visible and kissable and air circulating around that sweet little face.
B stands for Body Positioning: The carrier should support baby in a developmentally-appropriate manner. Ideal positioning includes a well-supported baby whose knees are higher than their bottom. This is especially true of younger babies.
C stands for Comfort: You as the caregiver should be comfortable wearing and using your carrier. Your carrier should fit your body type and needs. There is so many carrier options, so make sure you find the perfect one for you!
With all types of babywearing make sure you feel confident with the carrier you are using. When using a new carrier, a different carry position, or especially back wearing be sure to practice over a bed or use a spotter. Some carries may seem cumbersome or difficult at first, but practice makes perfect. Enjoy babywearing and all those extra snuggles! Carry them close!