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Baby Wearing 101

 
 
Babies being worn:

·         Cry less. 43% less overall and 54% less during evening hours. 1

·         Are Healthier. They gain weight faster, have better motor skills, coordination, increased muscle tone, and sense of balance. 2, 5, 7

·         Get a better view of the world. Babies pushed in strollers or lugged around in car seats only get to see the adult world at knee level.

·         Become Independent Faster. Making them confident and less clingy. 3

·         Sleep Better. They fall asleep quicker and sleep for longer periods of time. 4

·         Learn More. Not over stimulated, but calm and alert, observing and taking in the world around them. 5

·         Are Happier. They feel loved and secure. 6

 

Parents who wear their baby:

·         Enables better communication between you and your baby (without your baby having to cry) as you become attuned to your baby’s facial expressions and other gestures.

·         Creates confident parents. There’s no better feeling than when your baby is calm and content because you have met all of his or her needs.

·         Is convenient. Nothing is more awkward than carrying a heavy plastic car seat with one arm!

·         Allows you to safely move about with your baby regardless of terrain; you can stroll down uneven sidewalks, squeeze through heavy crowds, narrow lanes, walk up stairs, or climb mountains.

·         Does wonders for your spirit. Encourages you to get out and breath in the air and let the sun shine warmly on your face with your little one

·         Encourages weight bearing exercise. Lactating mothers will lose less bone mass by carrying with them the extra weight of their babes.

·         Makes discreet nursing possible without having to find a place to sit.

·         Helps you to interact with your other children while holding your little one close at the same time.

 

 
 
 
 
Babies are vulnerable in their first four months of life. They require constant supervision, which is why baby wearing is critical to the well-being of infants. It keeps newborns in the safest possible place; in the parents arms, with baby's face visible to the wearer. Your baby should be in the same position in which you would hold him in your arms. Check your baby's position by embracing him after settling him into the carrier; his position should not shift significantly in your embrace.

When using any baby carrier, please keep the following safety tips in mind:
 
  • Read and follow all manufacturers’ instructions for use, and watch any included DVDs, if applicable.
  •  Ensure you can see baby's face at all times. Do not let baby's face press into your body. Do not cover baby's face with a blanket, sling fabric, nursing covers, etc.
  • Baby's head and neck must be gently and completely supported, with chin off chest. If baby's chin is pressed tightly to baby's chest, this can restrict baby's airway. Check to ensure you can slip your finger between baby's chin and chest to check for correct positioning.
  • Consult an expert if your infant was born with a low birth weight, such as a preemie or twins, or if the infant has respiratory illness or other respiratory problems. Extra vigilance is required with these babies.
  • After nursing in a carrier, remove baby from breast and return baby to proper carrying position with head above the breasts and face free of fabric and turned away from the mother's body.
  • Attend to and check on baby often, especially those less than 4 months of age.

 

 

 

 

When first trying on your baby carrier, make sure that your baby is fed, changed and generally happy. Then once baby is in, get moving! Go for a walk, clean your house or just bounce around. The more you move, the less focused your baby is on the new way you are holding them and more on the environment and motion. If movement still doesn't help, try a new carrying position if your carrier allows.
 
The earlier you begin baby wearing, the more your baby is used to being worn. This makes them more adaptable to different carriers and positions. If you are starting with a newborn, you will experience less resistance to being worn than the potential of it happening with an older, more aware baby. However, with small 5-10 min intervals of baby wearing, soon your older child will accept this new bonding experience. Also, if older babies have a preference in the way you hold them, wear them the same way. This will make your carrier less “different” to them.
 
 
References

1 Kostandy et al., Kangaroo Care (Skin Contact) Reduces Crying Response to Pain in Preterm Neonates: Pilot Results, Pain
Management Nursing 2008: 9:55-65
2
Lawn et al., Kangaroo Mother Care to Prevent Neonatal Deaths Due to Preterm Birth Complications, International Journal of
Epidemiology 2010: April.
3
Whiting, J.M.W., Environmental Constraints on Infant Care Practices. In Handbook of Cross-Cultural Human Development
edited by R.H. Munroe, R.L. Munroe & B.B. Whiting, New York: Garland STPM Press, 2005.
4
Ferber et al., The Effect of Skin-to-Skin Contact (Kangaroo Care) Shortly After Birth on the Neurobehavioral Responses of the Term
Newborn: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Pediatrics 113 2004:858-865.
5
Charpak, N., Kangaroo Mother Care: 25 Years After, Acta Paediatric 94 2005: 5, 514-522.
6
Powell, A. Harvard Researchers Say Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Gazette.
7
Ludington-Hoe, S. Kangaroo Care: The Best You Can Do to Help Your Preterm Infant. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.