International Babywearing Week runs from the September 30th to October 6th this year. Combined with the start of more baby-friendly weather arriving, it seems like perfect timing to give you the 101 on why, what and how to baby wear. We’ve put this guide together to help you get started.
We’ll also be sharing some news from Sofi Chabowski of Eggs & Soldiers, who will be offering some exciting free events ahead of International Babywearing Week.
There are a number of advantages to babywearing that can benefit parents and babies.
When we have our first baby, most of us will discover that our newborn is only happy in our arms and is less than impressed upon being put down. Although there is nothing better than snuggling up to your tiny baby, it’s not always practical to manage life one-handed. Wearing your baby close to you in a carrier provides your baby with the familiarity and closeness that they crave, whilst allowing you to grab a quick snack or brush your hair (for the first time in days!).
Not only does it make life easier for you practically, but researchers found that babies who were worn for three hours a day cried 43% less during the day and 54% less during evening hours.
These bonuses aside, babywearing can be a very handy way of getting out and about with your baby, without lugging a bulky stroller along with you. Airports and flights especially become a whole lot easier to cope with when using a carrier.
As with all things involving your baby, there are some safety points you should be aware of when babywearing. The “T.I.C.K.S” guidelines serve as a helpful reminder:
T is for Tight
Your carrier should be tight enough to ensure that your baby is hugged close to you, with no loose fabric allowing baby to slump inside the carrier. Slumping can not only affect baby’s breathing, but it can also mean that your back is under additional strain and at risk of injury.
I is for In View at All Times
You should be able to see your baby’s face whenever you glance down. There should always be an opening in the fabric of your carrier to enable you to see your baby’s face. If you are wearing your baby in a cradle position, their face should not be turned in towards your body.
C is for Close Enough to Kiss
You should have your baby worn high up, close to your chin. Close enough to be able to kiss them on the forehead without difficulty.
K is for Keep Chin off the Chest
To ensure your baby is able to breathe freely, make sure your baby’s chin is not pressed against their chest. You should be able to fit at least one finger between baby’s chin and chest.
S is for Supported Back
If you’re wearing your baby in an upright position, their back should be suitably supported by the carrier, so that baby’s tummy and chest is pressed against you. If you are able to put your hand on your baby’s back and push your baby closer to you, it indicates that they are slumped and the carrier is not tight enough. A baby worn in a cradle position should be seated in the deepest part of the carrier, so that the carrier cannot fold in half, causing their chin to press against their chest.
Remember to protect your baby’s hips
Aside from practicing general common sense, another point to be aware of when babywearing is the position of your baby’s hips and legs when in the carrier. Your baby’s bum should be down and knees slightly upwards-higher than the hips. Younger babies require knee to knee support from the seat of their carrier. Older style carriers that allow babies to sit with legs dangling downwards can put a strain on the baby’s hips and are not recommended. For this same reason, babies who are born with hip dysplasia are not recommended to be worn in a baby carrier.
Types of carriers
Now to get to grips with the types of carriers available to you. Whilst there are endless brands and designs available, most baby carriers fall into the following categories:
Wraps (woven or stretchy)
Wraps come in a variety of fabrics, designs and lengths. Wearing your baby in a wrap is a more traditional way of babywearing which can be particularly suited to newborns who are still in that stage of wanting to be snuggled in close to you. The stretchy fabrics are perfect for newborns whilst the woven fabrics have the added strength to carry a toddler. There are a number of ways you can carry your baby in a wrap and mastering these may take some practice initially, but as with most things, it becomes easy once you know how!
Ring slings are made of a long piece of fabric which is passed through two rings and worn across the body. Once you master the technique of carrying your baby in a ring sling, it becomes a quick and easy way to babywear. The ring sling can be ideal for newborns but they are also usable for babies up to toddler age.
These traditional Asian style carriers are a simple design made of a panel of fabric with a strap to go around your waist and two straps to go over your shoulders. Unlike buckle carriers which are secured by clicking the buckles into place, mei tais need to be tied according to the baby and wearer each time they are worn. They are easy and comfortable to wear, and have the benefit of feeling like a structured carrier without as much bulk. Some mei tai’s can be adjusted to fit newborns and are usually suitable for front and back carries up to toddler age.
Buckle Carriers, also known as Soft Structured Carriers (SCCs)
These tend to be the most popular style of carrier thanks to their ease of use and practicality. The straps and seat are adjusted to baby and wearer, and in many cases, these carriers can be adapted for newborns up to toddlers in front or back carry positions.
Free babywearing workshops and a CarryBaby Fit class at Eggs & Soldiers
‘Try before you buy’ has perhaps never been more advisable than when it comes to choosing a carrier for you and your baby.
We love Eggs & Soldiers for their broad range of carriers. What’s better is that the staff can provide you with expert guidance on how to correctly use them.
For more information go to Eggs & Soldiers Facebook and Instagram pages, or email email@example.com. Eggs & Soldiers is located at Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.
Written by British Mums Rhiannon Haines.
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