Friday, March 20, 2009

The ABC's of Babywearing

My first daughter was about 6 weeks old the first time I tried to wear her. That was over 20 years ago! I had a Graco frontpack and snuggled all 8 pounds of her into it. Her little head sort of wobbled over to the side, but she was so happy to be next to me. She was a very high need baby, so wearing her allowed me to get some housework done. Unfortunately, the frontpack really hurt my back, so I didn’t use it very much. When she was 6 months old we discovered Dr. Sears and the world of comfortable babywearing. I promptly bought a ring sling (sling EZ) from Parenting Concepts. It felt so good to be able to wear her without killing my back. It would not be an understatement to say that the sling revolutionized the way I parented. Eventually I actually began to sell the Sling EZ because everywhere I went people asked me about it.

Over the next 12 years I went through several slings as we traveled around the country and to Costa Rica and Peru. In airports, on busses, in restaurants, at tourist destinations…everywhere we went, my sling would go with me – I felt lost without it! Whether I had a baby or a toddler, the sling was an indispensable accessory.

Today’s mothers have a dizzying array of options when it comes to babywearing. The is a great resource for moms who are new to babywearing. You can choose from a pouch sling like the Peanut Shell, a wrap sling like the Mei Tai, a ring sling like the Maya Wrap, a two shoulder pouch sling like the Baby K’Tan, and the list goes on and on. At A Nurturing Moment we have chosen to carry both pouch slings and two shoulder slings. We are looking at other options because our moms have asked for more variety. Nevertheless, our most popular sling is the Baby K’Tan. This incredibly versatile carrier can hold a newborn snugly and securely. It can even hold twins because the pouches are each so deep. But it can also securely support a 42 pound toddler! They even have a position in which your baby can be worn on your back in your Baby K’Tan.

When Should You Buy Your Sling?

You will want to begin wearing your baby in the first weeks of his life because it will make him feel secure, and he will get used to being worn. However, I have found that it is much easier to fit a mom with the proper sling after her baby has been born. Often we’ll have new parents come in with their 4 or 5 day old baby to get fit for a sling. That really is the ideal! You can see how your baby does in different carriers and figure out which is most comfortable for you. Will you want to nurse in your carrier? If so, you want to make sure you find a carrier that makes nursing easy and discreet.

Getting Used to Slinging Your Baby

Once you get home with your carrier, practice with it in front of a mirror until you are comfortable getting baby in and out. As soon as you get baby positioned in the sling, begin moving with him in a sort of ‘Mommy Dance” where you gently sway back and forth. Being in the sling where he can feel your heartbeat again may remind him of the comfort of the womb! However, some babies do fuss at first, so moving gently with your baby in the carrier will help calm him. Practice nursing in it at home so that when you’re out, you can nurse without giving it a second thought. Go to the manufacturer’s website and watch any videos they may have posted there. Remember, the more you use your carrier, the better you’ll get at it, and the more you’ll enjoy it. Happy Babywearing!!

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