Why I’m Choosing: Baby-Wearing

Baby-wearing has been one of my all time favorite things about being a mom – second to co-sleeping.  I went to a Baby Wearing class at Bella Vie back in December last year, before Ezekiel was born.  The instructor/store owner taught us about safe baby-wearing and showed us several types of wraps, slings, and carriers.  We were able to test them out and see first hand what ones we liked best.  Since I was pregnant and had no baby in hand to practice with, they handed me a 7 lb baby doll stuffed with rice to practice wearing. πŸ™‚  I loved this little class (and met my lovely friend Jessica there!), and loved trying out all of the different carriers.  My favorite was the Boba Carrier.  I decided that was the carrier I wanted for my kiddo’s (though I also really liked the wraps, but I figured the Boba would be easier for me to get on and off frequently.). 

I wasn’t able to buy it right away (they’re $100-$125 online), but I was able to get the Snugli carrier for free so I settled for that at first!  It worked well for the first 2-3 months, but once he started getting heavier, the straps started digging into my shoulders more and it wasn’t very comfortable to wear for more than an hour or so.  Not only that, but baby carriers should be ergonomically correct for the baby as well.  The baby needs back/spine support as they are growing.  Their legs should be spread apart and knees higher up than their bottom – making a “M” shape.  (My Snugli definitely didn’t do that, as it made his legs just dangle, but we made do until we could purchase the Boba.).  (Here’s a link to some good information on safe baby-wearing/ergonomics: http://www.squidoo.com/the-most-uncomfortable-unsafe-baby-carriers)

This is a good picture representation:

Regardless, I was very glad to have a carrier to be able to keep Ezekiel close while running errands or just on a walk.  And for the first couple months the Snugli worked well.

The Snugli came in handy for many things and places, like for:
 Roaming around Seattle.

Discovering a museum.

Shopping.  (At Cabela’s).

 Running a paintball tournament.

Taking a family walk through the forest.

(And many more places!)

Here are some great benefits that we’ve enjoyed from babywearing with Zeek:

Happier Baby:  There have been several studies that have shown that babies that are held, carried or “worn” for at least a few hours a day, cry and fuss less.  Babies enjoy the warmth and security of being held close to their mom or dad in a carrier.  The first comment people always make about Ezekiel is either one of two things: 1.) His eyes are SO blue! 2.) He is such a happy guy!  Is he always this happy?!

Great Exercise:  When Ezekiel was first born, we used to get out of the house and just stroll around Target or the mall.  I’d wear him in my Snugli and would walk around for 3-4 hours a day.  I am convinced that my quick baby weight loss was definitely partly due to baby wearing.  Walking briskly while wearing a 10 lb baby definitely gets your heart rate up! πŸ™‚

Convenience:  It was very easy to put Zeek in the carrier and cart him everywhere.  Stores, paintball tournaments, the beach, Pike Place Market, … anywhere.  πŸ™‚ Much easier than taking up the whole trunk with a huge stroller and having to clumsily push the giant stroller all around.  It has ESPECIALLY been convenient when we have flown with Zeek!  So much easier to carry him in the Boba and pull around bags, than if I had a stroller or had to carry him too.  It’s also a really nice space saver – it hardly takes any room to pack!  Also, if it gets food/spit up on it, it’s way easier to throw the Boba in the washing machine than to try to wash the fabric on a stroller.

Encourages Physical Development:  Baby wearing is a great transitional piece for the baby getting used to being out of the womb.  Baby can still hear mom’s heartbeat and breathing and feel the sway of her walk. Research has shown that babies put on weight faster and are healthier when they are touched more often – and baby swings and other seats don’t give the same sort of contact that babies need.

Encourages Mental Development:  Babies who are carried develop a better sense of security and deeper trust with his parents.  Babies are simulated while being carried because they can see things from your level, instead of staring at the ceiling or whatnot.  Extra simulation benefits brain development.

Helps Babies Fall Asleep:  Ezekiel will take naps when we are out and about when he is in the Boba carrier.  He will NOT fall asleep in his stroller.  When he’s strolling, he just wants to look at everything, people come and talk to him constantly and there’s just too much commotion for him to fall asleep.  When I’m wearing him, he’s held close, so strangers are less apt to stop and chat with him.  He is able to close off from the world and fall asleep when he is being over-simulated.  Plus… who doesn’t love a sleeping baby, laying his head on your chest?!?! πŸ™‚

Promotes Bonding:  When I have been gone from Ezekiel for a few hours in a day, or if I feel like I just haven’t been able to spend as much time with him as I would’ve liked in the day, then I really enjoy wearing him for a while to “make up” for it.  Ezekiel loves being close and being held in the carrier.  It encourages us to have our faces close, and he always gets many kisses planted on his cheeks and forehead.  He’ll hold on to my clothing and lay his head on my chest.  He gets his “mommy time”, and I can still run errands or do housework as I need.

These are just some of the benefits that came to mind.  I love love love babywearing.  I love the special time with Ezekiel.  I love the convenience.  I love that strangers don’t just reach over and touch my kid when he’s so close.  πŸ˜‰

Here are some of our adventures in the Boba:

 Climbing Prayer Mountain in Washington.
Beach in Newport.
Working hard outside = bandana!
Strolling around Oktoberfest.
I know that $100 is a bit steep to some parents, but investing in a really good carrier is just so good for you and baby and it will last you a long time!  We use ours at least 3-4 days a week, have washed it several times and it still looks like new.  Because of the design and the padding in the straps, I can easily wear him (even at 20+ lbs) for 4+ hours.  People always ask if he’s heavy and I always reply that I feel like I’m not even carrying him – it’s that comfortable.   We have gotten FAR more use out of our Boba than we have out of our $200 stroller, which I have only used a handful of times. 

Great articles on the topic:

Skyler came across this photo today and showed it to me laughing, and saying something along the lines of, “hey, this is you!”:

Guilty… I have definitely dropped and licked food on Zeek… I just can’t help bust up laughing at this… So totally been there… πŸ™‚  But overall, I’d say baby-wearing has offered far more benefits to both Ezekiel and me than harm. πŸ™‚

Love, K

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