Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Babywearing - What's That All About?

Before The Pure Baby's birth, I had that question. I saw all these moms with babies wrapped onto their bodies. Little babies, big babies, and -WOW- even toddlers! I wondered what it was that made these moms want to have SO much closeness. What was this babywearing thing all about?

I did wear my first baby in a Baby Bjorn, but its use was purely functional for me. Pretty much, I only used it when my lovely Peg Perego pram would be inconvenient. I much more enjoyed gazing at my beautiful little one in his (almost equally beautiful) stroller. Well, I'm just joking about the beautiful stroller part, but I'm sure the moms with beautiful strollers will know what I mean! Anyway, this all means that I mostly only wore my first baby when I was grocery shopping. Yep. He was not a babywearing baby :(

My second baby was a little more fortunate in the babywearing department. Before he was born, I bought a lovely Over The Shoulder Baby Holder (OTSBH) sling from a La Leche League Leader friend. I started wearing my second baby in this sling as soon as we were home from the hospital. I also had a two year old, so I really had no time for a babymoon :( I was never a huge fan of the OTSBH though. The OTSBH has a lot of padding, and I found it to be too much - especially for the petite mom that I am. When my second baby was nine months, I won a New Native Baby Carrier sling at a La Leche League conference. It is a non-adjustable pouch sling, with NO padding. I loved my new sling. I was comfortable, and I was no longer invaded by the padding! My baby loved it too, and we ended up being a babywearing pair in our New Native Baby Carrier. His favorite position was the kangaroo, with his legs folded pretzel and facing out.

When I was pregnant with The Pure Baby (PB), I met a mom with a BEAUTIFUL Zolo ring sling. I decided that I needed one for PB, so I told my husband. He said he would take care of everything and get one for my birthday. Well, my birthday came, and I did not get a Zolo ring sling. Instead, my husband bought me something that even was more wonderful - a black Baby K'tan carrier! (Disclosure: I actually cannot recommend Baby K'tan due to pretty much non-existent customer service when I had a problem, but I still love my Baby K'tan). A Baby K'tan is basically a pre-formed Moby wrap, with a sash.

The Pure Baby began life as a babywearing pair when PB was a week old. After cuddling in bed together (for our babymoon!) for PB's first week, I first wore him in my Baby Bjorn on our first family-of-five outing. We went to our local nature center, where we took a short walk on the trail. PB was cute and cuddly in the Baby Bjorn! When PB was two weeks old, I started wearing him in our lovely Baby K'tan. PB loved it. He was so safe and snug against me.

When PB was six months old, we had outgrown our Baby K'tan. His weight was just too much for me to support in the Baby K'tan. So, we moved on to our next carrier, a BabyHawk mei taiBabyHawks are absolutely beautiful and allow for fashionable babywearing! No more basic brown, black, or blue for us. I was able to *design* my stylish carrier, made from my choice of hundreds of designer fabrics! I chose a reversible BabyHawk, with my choice of TWO lovely fabrics! My BabyHawk includes the standard head rest as well as the D-hook, which is useful for attaching toys or keys. BabyHawks are also available with pockets in the fabric panels, though I did not include that option in my order.

Even now at 21 months, PB and I continue to babywear in our BabyHawk for at least a couple of hours each day. When we are out and about, I wear PB in the front carry position. We grocery shop, take walks, window shop, and do errands - with PB snuggled against me in our BabyHawk! When we are home, I usually wear PB in the back carry position. With PB on my back, I am able to get a lot done - all while he feels loved and a part of what is going on! Together, we cook meals, bake cookies, do laundry, clean, and all the other fun stuff a mom needs to do at home. Additionally, PB loves to take his naps on my back in our BabyHawk!

I plan to continue babywearing with PB for quite a while longer! Right now, I am dreaming of a beautiful toddler-sized Olives and Applesauce soft structured carrier. They are absolutely gorgeous, and I've heard such great reviews regarding comfort! So, we will see if I get to buy one :)

I hope also to continue babywearing with PB when he becomes a big brother (someday). I have visions of the new baby in front, wrapped in a Sleepy Wrap or Gypsy Wrap, with PB on my back in our Olives and Applesauce soft structured carrrier :)

The Pure Baby and I so much enjoy being a babywearing pair! PB feels safe and cuddled, while I treasure his sweet closeness. There is nothing like his beautiful smell, his sweet breath, and the sound of his breathing :)

According to William Sears, M.D., babywearing provides great benefits:
(1) Babywearing babies cry less.

(2) Babywearing babies learn more. Research has shown that babywearing babies have enhanced visual and auditory alertness. Perhaps this is because babywearing babies spend a great deal more time in a state of "quiet alertness" than their non-babywearing peers.

(3) Babywearing babies are more organized. Babywearing extends the womb experience and allows mom's rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) to have a balancing effect on baby's irregular rhythms. Without the regulating presence of mom, baby may develop disorganized patterns of behavior such as colicky cries, jerky movements, disorganized self-rocking behaviors, anxious thumb sucking, irregular breathing, and disturbed sleep.

(4)Babywearing babies get humanized earlier. This is because baby is intimately involved in mom's world and shares mom's experiences.

(5) Babywearing babies are smarter. By being part of mom's world, baby's brain is given the opportunity to store a wealth of experiences. Baby then will remember these experiences when exposed to a similar situation. Additionally, babywearing babies appear to be more attentive than their non-babywearing peers and are more able to click into adult conversations. This leads to speech development as well as listening skills.

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