This week Scout is the size of a peach. A soft fuzzy peach- and it’s definitely official- my upcoming fatherhood- proved today by the fact that I got lost in the world wide web- but not to the usual cocktail culture I am used to losing myself to- but lost to the world of baby carriers. I’m talking wraps, ring slings, pouches, packs and all sorts of things. There’s a world of international close cradle out there that I knew not existed.
My research of pouches and slings started a couple weeks ago when one of the general baby books laying on our table suggested I read another more specified book if I had a further interest in slings and things- which I did since the general baby book revealed some benefits associated with babywearing. I know, babywearing? Such a stupid name. It makes me wonder if there will be a moment in the future when I’m going to be like, “Ah, I don’t have a bowtie to match this baby- guess I won’t wear the baby tonight.”
In all seriousness however, there seems to be many benefits to wearing your baby (I’m just going to use this term as ridiculous as it sounds). Also, as idealistic as this all sounds, I am not promoting or advocating for babywearing, as I have never personally done it, and I have only known about it as a thing for a couple of weeks. I will say though, if it’s cool enough for a couple of The Beatles to have done it with their babies, then it’s cool enough for me…
The book I ended up getting is called Babywearing: The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition. I know, I’m a nerd. But it sounded like it could provide me with some insight- and it’s written by an M.D., not just some woman stuck in the seventies with a drug induced idea- even if that’s what the cover looks like…
The act of wearing your baby has been around forever, blah, blah, and blah. Every culture has used a piece of fabric or backpack type thing to carry babies for years and years. Even here in America, Native Americans carried their babies in papooses for thousands of years- in fact, Sacagawea is carrying her baby on her back on her featured dollar coin. The tradition of babywearing came out of necessity most likely- with your newborn on your body it leaves both your hands free, allowing you to work. Not only is it beneficial to you, studies have also shown it is one of the best things you can do for your baby…
- The baby feels safe and secure with skin to skin contact- it is close to your heartbeat and can feel your breathing, your movements, and your body temperature- just like when they were in utero- it’s a familiar place for them and they stay calm and happy- which means they cry less! Up to forty three percent less some studies show.
- Since they are not crying so much they are developing at a faster rate and learning more- just from hanging around you. When they are awake they are seeing everything you do. They watch your facial gestures when you communicate with friends and are more a part of what’s happening rather than being held in a carrier at waist level with nothing to look at but crotches and crotches.
- They sleep better- I didn’t really get the facts down for this claim but you can imagine, right?
- Digestion is better- the constant motion helps stimulate good digestion and babies spit up less.
- Speaking of spitting up, babies who are worn by their mother more often nurse better and gain more weight than babies that are not.
- The constant movement and stimulation is supposed to help babies develop better too. They develop a better balance and musculature because they are always shifting and responding to the movements of the carrier’s body. They are also at much lower risk for developing plagiocephaly (that’s when they get a flat head because they are constantly laying down with the back of their soft head against a surface).
Basically, what I learned, is that a sling baby = a happy baby. And I do understand that this is all theoretical for me right now, as I have no experience and reading things in a book is way different than real life experience. A year from now I will be able to tell you with experience- we might find out that the whole idea ended up being farfetched and stupid. Or we might find out that I loved every aspect of it until Scout fell right out and bonked his/her head because I forgot to tie it or something. But until then, I am excited to give this whole thing a try.
The most daunting thing about doing this, however, is picking a carrier to try out. There are so many different types and brands… There are wraps, ring slings, pouch slings, back packs, soft packs, meh dais, buckle carriers, Graco, Freedom Slings, Chicco (BabyGo), Hold Me Baby Slings, Nojo The Original Baby Sling, Boba Wrap, Baby Bjorn, Eddie Bauer, Evenflo, Seven Slings, Baby K’tan, Moby Wrap, Infantino, Lenny Lamb, iAngel, Ergobaby, LILLEbaby, Tula, Beachfront Baby Wrap, Maya, Oscha Slings, Sakura Bloom, Kali Sling, Beco, New Native, Caboo, Amawrap, Mamaway, and Vlokup.
I didn’t actually look all those up, I just found a list… but Whew! That’s a lot. Or, I also found that I can just use a bed sheet or piece of fabric and make my own. Where does one even start? That was a rhetorical question, but let me answer it for you… babywearinginternational.org. It’s a good spot to get started with some general information and it helps you navigate the underworlds of babywearing.
I know I have an overzealous outlook on this but I can just see myself not missing a beat at work. I see a full bar with a line of drinks I have to make. The music is loud and the lights are dim. Drink orders coming from every which direction. I’m shaking a drink with one hand, stirring another drink with the other hand. Through all this, I look down at Scout, who is sleeping peacefully in his/her sling that perfectly matches my bowtie.
Until then, it’s just going to have to be practice, practice, practice…