June 12, 2011

Loving Babywearing

Since we've had Micah, I've gotten a good work out everyday from holding and carrying him. He gained about a pound a week in the first two months, so each day was a new challenge. I would wake up with sore arms, chest, back, and even my finger tips hurt.

I knew I wanted to use some kind of baby carrier even before Micah was born, but we hadn't bought anything since he was 3 weeks early. We heard great things about the ERGO Carrier , but we hadn't bought the Ergo by the time he was 2 months old because we thought he was still too small and not enough head control. We did get a Maya wrap ring sling which came with a DVD that shows different ways to use it. The videos made it look so easy, but but it was a lot harder when came to using it myself. It wasn't until I went to a Capital Region Slingbabies meeting that I learned I should put the wrap through the laundry a few times to make the fabric more slippery, therefore easier to adjust.

I tried a bunch of different carriers at the meeting, and it was a great way to meet other moms and learn new ways to wear babies. The warm in-person, hands-on advice was so much better than DVDs! Ringslings are great for some people, but the one shoulder carrying position made me sore after about 20 minutes of carrying. I also tried the ERGO, but found that it was near impossible for me to reach the snap closure in between my shoulder blades. I guess I lost some flexibility with being so tight from carrying the baby.

The type of carrier I settled on is really simple, the Bali Baby Breeze wrap from Wrapsody. I love this wrap because of its versatility and comfort. This wrap can be used with the baby face towards or away from mom/dad, and on mom or dad's back.

The ERGO carrier or any other soft body carrier can be used only with baby facing inward.  The Bali Baby Breeze can also allow the baby's leg to hang out while the baby faces out while rings slings must have baby's legs be folded froggy style if baby is facing out. Some babies are completely comfortable with their legs tucked in, but ours is a kicker so he loves to hang out while looking at the world in the Superhero position using pocket carry (see video below). When he gets tired, I simply lift him out, and switch him to the Cradle hold without even untying my wrap. The pocket hold allows enough head support for him as well as evenly distribute his weight so much so that I can carry him for 1-2 hours without any soreness.

The main complaint I hear about wearing babies is that it gets too hot. The Bali Baby Breeze is made of 100% cotton gauze material that's super breathable. I've taken walks with Micah in 80F weather without much problem.

Another plus is I don't have to take out the carseat from the car everywhere I go. I wear the wrap before I start driving, and once I get there, I simply lift the baby out and he goes in the wrap. I can push the grocery cart and my hands are free to shop. I also heard of moms who wear the wrap under their coats in the winter, and baby goes from warm carseat to warm mom's chest in seconds. No buckles, no carseat covers needed. I do get comments from strangers on the wrap though, mostly positive such as "What a great way to hold your baby!" or "What is that wrap called? I've never seen anything like that!" It's fun to meet strangers sometimes.

I can't wait to start wearing him on my back so I can even cook and do more things around the house with him on me! I will be sure to write about that experience when I start.

I highly recommend baby wearing to make it easier on yourself and provide a great comforting tool for baby. It's worthwhile to spend some time learning and trying different ones until you find one that works for you. Afterall, if you are happier and more comfortable, your baby will be too.

The Bali Baby Breeze is a great choice although it does take a few tries to really feel comfortable with it. With any carrier, having someone experienced show you the ropes is super helpful. If you are in the Capital Region, Slingbabies is a great place to do just that. Otherwise, Le Leche League meetings might be another place to network and learn from babywearing moms.

Got questions or want to share your experience with babywearing? Leave a comment!

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