While baby-wearing is not a new concept in many parts of the world, it is rapidly gaining popularity in western cultures. What are the advantages? How do you do it? Find answers to these questions and more!
Close to your heart
Baby-wearing, or "slinging," has been around for 1000's of years. Although there are many types of slings --padded, unpadded, formed, swaths of fabric, with rings, or knotted -- they all serve the same basic function: Keeping baby close.
Real life benefits
Is this really practical?
Those not familiar with a baby in a sling often ask how the baby can stay in the sling without falling out. The fact is, that his own weight makes the fabric snug and creates a small pouch or pocket, which holds the baby against mom's body. There are numerous ways or "holds" for you to carry your baby in.
Every woman is different and the choices available for slings can cover any body type, weight, height and weather you may have. The most important thing to remember is that you have to find the right type of sling that feels comfortable to you and your baby. Most sling companies will offer a trial period before your sale is final.
As your baby grows, the sling is an essential part of baby equipment. Much less bulky than a stroller, it can be tossed into a diaper bag and mom/baby are ready to travel. A baby can be "Passively Active" and when placed Indian-style, or forward facing, he can observe the world from his most secure place, feeling safe and yet observant to what is going on around him. This creates a calm, confident baby that can see what he wants to yet sleep without fuss. Common concerns
In a word, no! Slings do not cause bowleggedness. A baby in a sling is in his/her natural position, either lying down, or snuggled up in the position of his/her choice. Studies have shown that a baby carrier forces the infant's legs apart and into an unnatural position, putting incorrect pressure on the forming pelvic area and cutting off circulation to the legs. Baby carriers also keep the baby in the full upright position at all times which is not natural for the baby or the mom.
As for it interfering with motor skills, Baby-wearing promotes the development of neural responses in the developing brain, and provides a stimulating, yet secure view of the world for the baby. A baby will let the mom know when he/she wants to get down and you will be surprised to find that it probably will be later in the first year than the mom or others think it should be. Babies grow and mature at their own rate. To force a child to entertain itself or put it in a device that creates an isolated feeling for the baby does not "train" a baby to play alone. It is not beneficial to the baby and doesn't promote bonding between the mother and child.
To interfere in developing motor skills, a baby would have to be strapped in and refused release when he/she shows interest in getting down. In a sling, this is next to impossible because the baby is "right there" and can't be ignored the way a baby can be in a stroller or other baby holding device.
Tips and tricks
2. Slings need to be snug! Your baby has to feel secure and if positioned correctly, mom won't feel like baby will fall or slip out. I found that I couldn't tighten my new sling correctly without help. I had someone pull on the tail with all her weight to make it go through the rings. It then was easier to adjust myself and I haven't had any problems with it since.
3. Do not cook or handle hot things with the baby in the sling if you are using the front holds. Talk to an experienced slingmom and practice!
4. Anyone can sling! Dads can wear babies/toddlers. Kids can wear their dolls. I fashioned a sling for my older son's doll using a receiving blanket and tying it into a loop around him, tucking in the other two corners and VoilÃ¡! A perfect size sling.
5. You can sling until you can't physically carry the weight of your child. Just use a sturdy fabric for larger children.
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