From my previous posts, it should come as no surprise that I love babywearing. But considering how few people babywear and how many strollers and tired arms I see in my daily comings-and-goings, I thought I'd share a few things that I absolutely love about it.
1) Weight loss: I don't know about other mamas, but I've had a beast of a time trying to shed the pregnancy pounds (and more!) but after beginning consistent babywearing, I've noticed that the pounds are dropping much easier. Makes sense--carrying around an extra 15-20 pounds is burning more calories and helping me to shed those pounds! I'm also less likely to grab that cookie when I know my little tyke is watching me do it.
2) muscle strengthening: Wearing your baby in an ergonomically correct way shouldn't hurt but it definitely gets those core muscles toned. Through consistent babywearing I've noticed considerably more strength in my lower back and abs--and I didn't even have to do any crunches.
3) physical contact with baby: Beyond being pleasant, frequent physical contact with your baby is very healthy for both mom and baby. When babies, especially premature babies, are born, their heart rhythms are not regulated. When they are worn tummy-to-tummy with a parent their heart rhythms align and are brought into regularity. Babywearing, especially skin-to-skin, is also linked with greater ease in breastfeeding and better weight gain for baby. For both parent and baby, communication through body and "social" cues are recognized more frequently and responded to more quickly through babywearing. Babywearing parents and babies are better attuned to one another.
4) quieting crying: this is very much linked to the above point. Because babywearing babies are in close proximity to the mother and because their cues are more easily read, they cry less frequently. Also, the rhythmic movement brought about through walking and the natural rocking of the body help to create a comforting, womb-like environment for baby.
5) comfort vs. stroller: Though some people complain that babywearing is uncomfortable, this is usually caused by a poor quality baby carrier and/or incorrect positioning. When a baby is worn correctly it is remarkably comfortable. For me in particular, I have a bit of tendonitis and carpal tunnel and pushing a stroller really aggravates it because of the closed hand positioning. Wearing my baby when we go for walks is considerably more comfortable than taking the stroller.
6) ease vs. stroller: Using a babycarrier or sling is SOOOOO much easier than pulling that darn stroller out. For one, we live in a basement which means I have to lug it up the stairs and set it up every time I want to use it. Also, since we're without a car right now, we use public transportation frequently. Every time I see someone struggling to maneuver a stroller on and off the bus I wish I could just hand them a carrier and preach the gospel of babywearing-ease. (I seriously almost did once when I saw three strollers on the bus. Thankfully there were no handicapped or elderly persons trying to get on the bus because even the most limber had a ridiculously hard time trying to get past all three of them).
7) getting things done: babywearing means that I'm able to get just about anything done around the house with baby riding happily along. Before babywearing it seemed like it took hours to try to get everything done as I set the baby down to play, took care of one task, came back and checked on him, ran and did another task quickly, came back and held him because he was crying, waited until the nap to get more done, etc. Not only am I able to get more done but it means that nap time is now "me" time because I don't have to clean during that time and I'm able to have more time to actually get on the floor and play, read a book, rock, sing, etc with my baby. In addition to more time, I also really like how my baby is with me as I take care of our home. I like to think that as he grows he will be more exposed to what it takes to keep a home clean and tidy. So many people complain that their children don't want to help out and I think a lot if it is because they don't feel needed and/or don't know what it entails because Mom always did the chores while they were napping. Bringing baby along exposes him to chores and tasks at a young age which means he'll be more likely to help out as he gets older.
8) verbal, social, and physical development: Babyworn babies are at eye and mouth level with adults and therefore receive much more verbal and social stimulation than a baby who is at knee-level in a stroller. These babies also develop their neck and trunk muscles more quickly because they exercise the same muscles in a sling or carrier that are used in "tummy time." Babyworn babies tend to hold their head up, roll, and sit earlier than non-worn babies.
9) safety in the city: this one is from none other than this paranoid mommy. When we're in the city or at the mall I like the security of knowing that my baby is on me where he is safe rather than in a stroller where he is more vulnerable to people touching him or even taking him (remember, paranoid mommy here!). Ain't no one gonna get my baby when he's strapped securely to his mama!
10) cutest accessory: Is there anything cuter than a baby? Add a cute sling and things get even better. As a new mommy I often find myself feeling a little homey or otherwise less "done-up" than I'd like to be. But, when I wear my baby I feel remarkably beautiful.
Up next: Babywearing positioning pointers and carrier types.