Have you ever thought about how mothers parented well before the modern inventions of the Pack and Play, baby swings, cribs and other devices meant to hold children in a safe place? How did frontier families deal with their 10-month-old crawler?
Throughout the centuries, moms have strapped their babies on and done their work. They didn’t know that future research would show how beneficial it is for babies to be close to their moms, hearing their heartbeat and helping them to discover the world from mom’s point of view. Our ancestral mothers were just doing what seemed intuitive and logical.
When I see moms man handling huge strollers-most often with the toddler actually on her hip and the stroller full of shopping bags, I wonder why she’s not tried baby wearing. Especially when moms have an infant and a toddler, baby wearing is life changing. When out and about, the baby goes in the carrier and the toddler is held by the hand or is in the shopping cart. Home schooling the bigger kids could not have happened without my MayaWrap ring sling or Ergo soft sided carrier. They were my most used pieces of baby gear.
I am not in the know of brands anymore-is Tula still the one to buy? Fifteen years ago, Ergo was the one and it’s still great (and cheaper). Here’s why-these carriers, and more like them, use the adult’s pelvis to bear the weight, not the waist. That means there is no place in which the straps cut into the wearer’s shoulders, back or waist. This is a game changer over other cheaper carriers. Skip the $35 and under options, they just aren’t comfortable.
In addition to starting with a high quality carrier, here are some tips:
Place the belted portion of a soft sided carrier low on your pelvis, not at your waist or you’re missing the whole point of how it keeps you comfortable
Always face baby in. Babies and toddlers can get overstimulated with all the sights, sounds, noises, and other stimuli they come in contact with when they face out. Facing them toward your body gives them the option to hide their face from it all for a few moments and come back to the stimuli when they’re ready. If they really love to look around, it’s time to learn the back carry. I know Ergo 360 users, you think this doesn’t apply to you, but read the instructions-Ergo only suggests letting baby face out for a few minutes at a time.
Watch baby’s posture-facing out arches their back in an unhealthy way. Cheap carriers have narrow crotches and baby’s knees hang down. The knees need to be level with the hips to avoid hip and back problems in your baby’s rapidly growing body.
Baby wear often in your home when your baby is young. Using a wrap, ring sing, or other carrier designed for an infant, carry your baby several times a week at minimum. This helps them learn to enjoy it and helps your muscles acclimate to the baby’s growing weight over the months. Trying out an Ergo on your 8 month when you’ve never worn this baby at all could mean your muscles fatigue quickly and your child wants down to explore in the manner in which he’s used to.
Get help with your carrier. Some of them feel awkward and overwhelming until you get used to them. My favorite was a quality ring sling until they were old enough for the Ergo and then the Ergo until they could walk long distances. Other people love the K’tan or long wraps. Try your friends’ methods then grab your own and master it. The awkwardness disappears just as it did when you learned to tie your shoes. You won’t even think about it soon enough-if you keep at it.
Watch for the return of our classes in mid to late 2021. If you need help before then, give me a call and if I can’t help, I’ll track down a mama who can.
P.S.- Tribe Talk moms are often great at baby wearing and can help you as well!
Written by: Wendy Fowler