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7 Reasons Babywearing Isn’t Just for Crunchy Moms

I’m on a mission to break down the us/them mentality that sucks the peace out of motherhood.

We need to stop reaching for parenting categories, and instead hold out a hand to the parents themselves; no matter which category they are in.

Take, for example, babywearing.

Traditionally, wearing your baby during the day is seen as “crunchy” – for a specific category of parents.

That’s a mistake.

No matter what you feed your baby, or whether there are BumGenius or Huggies under your changing station, babywearing is something that could really benefit your family.

Especially if you have a fussy high-needs baby.

Wanna know the best part about babywearing?  No one is going to stand in the living room with a stop watch.  You don’t have to wear your baby 24/7 unless you friggin want to!  

You could wear your baby at the end of the day, when she’s starting to get overtired and needs a power nap.

Or, like you’ll see in a minute, you could plop your too-tired toddler in Dad’s carrier after supper and keep King Crankypants pacified until bedtime.

Here are 7 reasons ALL parents (regardless of pounds of granola consumed) should consider baby wearing.

Benefits of Babywearing #1:
The Calm

All babies like to be held, but some babies like to be held all. the. time.

In fact, the “I can’t put her down or she’ll scream down the house” compliant is one of the most common comments made on Incredible Infant.

Sometimes that’s because the newborn is struggling with reflux and (having never felt pain before) doesn’t know what to do with these new, not-pleasant, sensations.

Or sometimes it’s because the newborn has a sensitive personality (like my Elena) and feels exposed and a little freaked out by the big massive world of colors and sounds swirling around her.  It’s a big change after the muted quiet of the womb!

Either way, it’s a challenge.  You used to have two useful arms.  Now you don’t.

Fortunately, you can keep your baby calm without having to do chores with your toes.  

This study I’m actually hyperlinking, found that babies who were worn for 3 hours a day cried 43% less than babies who weren’t.

What would your day feel like with 43% fewer tears?

Which carrier/wrap/sling is best?  We’ve done the research!  Click here to see the best of the best baby wraps, slings, and carriers.

Getting Through the “Witching Hour”

Babywearing is also a brilliant way to help get through the so-called “Witching Hour” every evening.

Rachael, who helps me here on Incredible Infant, shared that her husband will often wear their 2-year-old son when he gets crabby at night.  In fact, the little tired guy has even asked “Put me on the back, please!” in order to find a calm space in the midst of chaotic siblings.

(Let’s be honest, if your baby has siblings…they are chaotic siblings.  Is there any other type?)

Benefits of Babywearing #2:
The Comfort

Not only do you exhibit this zen-baby-calming aura, wearing your infant is a great way to provide comfort while you are busily going through the days tasks.

Is your infant struggling with reflux?

Being upright on you will help keep his last bottle down.

Is your baby teething?

Being close to you (or Dad) is one of the greatest soothing techniques you can offer.  (Besides these other 56 teething remedies…)

No matter how old your child is, there is a natural desire to be close to mom and dad during sickness.  If your baby has a fever or you know is just “off” and needs some extra cuddling, babywearing is a perfect way to meet that need without giving up on everything else.

Benefits of Babywearing #3
The Connection

When I was a Child Counselor for foster families oh-so-many-years-ago, baby wearing was one of the very first things I added to our therapy plan.

Why?

Because it built intimacy and helped create a connection between the child and the foster mom/dad.

If that connection can be built between neglected children and complete (yet loving!) strangers, think what it can do with your relationship!

Dads: Overcoming the Short-End of the Parenting Stick

Dads can often struggle to get caught up in the bonding game. After all, we’ve had months of prenatal bonding he’s got to catchup on.  Add that to breastfeeding, and Dad can feel like the third wheel.

Help your man out by letting him wear the baby while watching TV or playing video games with friends.

Manly carriers: They do exist.

Benefits of Babywearing #4
The Convenience

We are queens of multi-tasking, are we not?  Here are just a few suggestions of things you can do while babywearing:

  • potty train a toddler (because one screaming child is enough)
  • put on your makeup
  • achieve your dream of becoming a competitive extreme dog groomer (warning: sad-looking dogs)
  • take a walk outside – strollerless *shocked silence*
  • read more articles at Incredible Infant (perhaps starting with this one…?)
  • do some side lunges to tone the thighs
  • prepare a cold dinner (hot stoves are a no-no in babywearing)
  • get your $#!&%@ meal planning done for the week
  • play a video game
  • enjoy a sports game
  • check your Facebook Status and upload a cute baby/mama selfie!
  • eat food (but don’t do this – or at least, don’t do it and get caught.)

Benefits of Babywearing #5
The Cranium

As awesome as the Back to Sleep campaign is for preventing SIDS, it’s been rough on…brace yourself for a medical term…plagiocephaly.

Plagiocephaly is also called “Flat Head Syndrome” and it’s when your child has a flat head.  (I’m so good at explaining these things…)

Here are two things you should know about Plagiocephaly before you panic:

  1. It’s usually not serious.
  2. Doctors are quick to spot it.  (Again, because the head is flat.)

This is why Tummy Time is so strongly encouraged by pediatricians.  Not only does it prevent plagiocephaly, it’s also a great deterrant to plagiocephaly’s close cousin:  torticollis.

Babywearing is a no-brainer way to help your baby exercise his neck and shoulder muscles, preventing both plagiocephaly and torticollis and getting a solid “thumbs-up” during well baby visits.

Benefits of Babywearing #6
The Calories

Babywearing is like carrying a few extra weights around all day…which means that more calories burned doing the same stuff you were going to do anyway.

Grab that wrap and do some squats, lunges, yoga poses, and other “upper-body upright” kinds of moves.  (No running, obviously…)

Benefits of Babywearing #7
The (Cruisin’) Crib

If your newborn is struggling to get regular naps (perhaps because of reflux, or a very sensitive startle reflex), babywearing is a great way to help him lengthen out those naps.

This is especially helpful if you have older kids that have activities outside the home, making the “crib nap” more difficult.

As a certified sleep coach, I recommend that children older than 20 weeks transition to non-motion napping, since it allows their brain to avoid habituation and get into the deeper brain-building sleep their bodies need.

That said, if your baby isn’t napping well during the day, some sleep is better than no sleep! One of the things we discuss in our one-on-one Napping Sessions is how to set up an Emergency Nap. Babywearing is perfect for those Emergency Naps!

Of course, if your baby is younger than 20 weeks, let them nap anywhere you can get them to sleep.  The goal during those newborn months is simple: sleep survival!  

If your 12 week old naps best in the sling or wrap, let him sleep all day in the sling or wrap.  (See the best “sleepy happy” newborn wraps in this article here.)

We also have one-on-one Newborn Sessions that will teach you how to shape the environment and schedule around your newborn to see positive sleeping results!

The Hardest Part
About Babywearing

…is knowing which carrier/sling/wrap/contraption/device is a good fit for your baby and, more importantly, your back.

Obviously, the next difficult step is to determine which wrap, sling, or carrier would fit your family best.

Let me help with that.  In this post, I go through the 5 types of carriers, their pros/cons, and also the top brands reviewed for each.  All the research you need in one (lengthy but helpful!) post.  🙂

Do you wear your baby during the day?  Has it changed how you parent?  Has it helped?  Or has it made things more difficult?

Have You Read These Yet?

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10 thoughts on “7 Reasons Babywearing Isn’t Just for Crunchy Moms

  1. I’m so happy to have found this article!! I’ve been struggling with whether or not wearing my son for all four (sometimes five) naps a day is setting us up for trouble down the road (he is just 8 weeks now). I do try every once in a while to put him down in the crib and some times we do have success but when we don’t I can feel confident that popping him in the wrap isn’t going to do him any harm with regard to developing sleep skills. Plus wearing him is just the absolute best feeling in the world and why give that time up when it’s so short!

    1. Don’t feel guilty, Virginia, about wearing him all day. You’re right! It’s short time, so enjoy it. You can always address these things when he’s older. Right now, soothe him with the wearing and enjoy the naps! 🙂

  2. As I type this I am wearing my 14 week old in the boba wrap and she is sleeping snugly. I thought babywearing was crunchy too but I was unable to get a thing done because she wanted to be held all the time. I was desperate and tried it. Now we both love it and look forward to the cuddle time.

  3. I wore (still do) my son a lot, especially as a colicky infant. The only catch was, I could never stop walking or moving, or he would wake and fuss. That was then, now he doesn’t mind if I stop. 😉 (As long as it’s not too long, heehee!) I have the Moby I used while he was tiny. Ergo is all I use now, it is so amazing and never hurts my back!

    1. So what you’re saying is…we need a mom carrier and a giant swing? I’m totally all over that! Sitting and swinging all day… 🙂 Those are some great brands, I’m going to be talking about those specific brands more next week!

  4. We love baby wearing at our house! It is so great to have a backup plan when the normal naps aren’t happening (can someone say teething?). It has been a life saver with baby #4. Great article, Heather!

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