Given a Boba Wrap by a fellow mom of 3, she said “because you will need your hands free with the other two”… and she was right. It has been a life saver. Because, come on, I now have 2 hands and 3 children. My ratio is off.
I have another more sturdy carrier, but never used it when my boys were newborn only when they were strong enough to fit into it and hold their own head. So this Boba sling wrap was a WIN! (I wish I had used it when my other two were teeny tiny).
Like kangaroo care (skin to skin), there are many benefits to baby wearing. And not only to sip on a hot cup of coffee (from a travel mug ermm errmm…) or pack a quick school lunch you may have forgotten about. There are physical, emotional and psychological benefits. And honestly, even if the only benefit was to have some free hands, that would be reason enough for me!
Credit: Thanks to The Natural Child Project for these awesome points (which I’ve adapted, and added my comment in on…)
1. Wearing a baby is convenient.
When we carry a baby in a wrap, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a pram. If not for the sling, I lug bub around in her car seat – which is fine, but also clunky and heavy. Some wraps/carriers also allow for discreet breastfeeding – something I managed with my older ones. Win.
2. Wearing a baby promotes physical development.
When a baby rides in a wrap attached to her mother, she in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes – walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The wrap is in essence a ‘transitional womb’ for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. Mechanical swings and other holding devices do not provide these same benefits.
3. Babies worn in slings are happier.
Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss. In indigenous cultures where baby-wearing is the norm, babies often cry for only a few minutes a day – in contrast to Western babies, who often cry for hours each day. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents. Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.
4. Baby-wearing is healthy for you!
It can be challenging for new mothers to find time to exercise (ha ha ha), but if you carry your baby around with you most of the day or go for a brisk walk with your baby in her wrap, you will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and ‘weightlifting’. A long walk in the wrap is also an excellent way to help a tired but over-stimulated child fall asleep.
5. Toddlers appreciate the security of the wrap.
Wraps are usually associated with infants, but they can be very useful for toddlers as well; most carriers accommodate children up to 35 or 40 pounds. The world can be a scary place for toddlers, who feel more confident when they can retreat to the security of the wrap when they need to do so. Toddlers often become over-stimulated, and a ride in the wrap or carrier helps to soothe and comfort them before (or after!) a ‘melt-down’ occurs.
6. Baby-wearing helps you and your baby to communicate with each other.
The more confidence we have in our parenting, the more we can relax and enjoy our children (aint that the truth). A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our baby’s cues successfully. When we hold our baby close in a wrap, we become finely attuned to his gestures and facial expressions. Many baby-wearing parents report that they have never learned to distinguish their baby’s cries – because their babies are able to communicate effectively without crying! Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction enhances the mutual attachment between parent and child, and makes life more enjoyable for everyone.
7. Wraps are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers.
Wraps are a useful tool for every adult in a baby’s life. How cool is it to see a new father going for a walk with his baby in a wrap. The baby is becoming used to his voice, heartbeat, smell, movements and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Fathers don’t have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents and nannies. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!
8. Wraps are a safe place for a child to be.
Instead of running loose in crowded or dangerous places, a child in a wrap is held safe and secure right next to your body. Wraps also provide emotional safety when needed, so that children can venture into the world and become independent at their own pace. Also, now that I have three, I’m constantly doing a head count, and having one of them on me, makes that whole ‘where are all my children’ thought a tad less stressful.
9. Wraps are economical.
Wraps cost far less than prams, fancy front-carriers or backpacks. Many mothers consider the wrap to be one of their most useful and economical possessions. If sued often it pays itself off quickly and if you no longer envision any more children, then why not donate your wrap to a new mom?
10. Baby-wearing is fun.
Who doesn’t love to cuddle a precious little baby? And when your baby is older, having her in the wrap makes conversations easier and allows you to observe her reactions to the wonders of the world around her. It’s also fun for baby, because when she is up at eye level, other adults notice and interact with her more. Your child will feel more a part of your life when she is in her sling, and you will find yourself becoming more and more enchanted with this special little person.
Here is a video on how to put on your wrap, and wear your newborn baby. You feel like a rock star once you get it right. Which you are. Obviously.
Contributor: Debbie Knighton-Fitt, Pure Beginnings pregnancy ambassador & author of the Our Greenish Life Blog.