Why babywear? Why not! This post on all the benefits and perks to hands-free babywearing is brought to us by Linnea Catalan the Executive Director of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance.
Think of a baby carrier as one of the most versatile tools in your caregiver/parenting toolbox. What kinds of things could you do more easily if you could keep your hands free while attending to your baby? There’s no absolute right or wrong way to practice babywearing- the goal is to find a carrier that makes life just a bit easier for you, your family and your baby.
Here are some of the common ways that caregivers use their carriers:
- Physical activity, hiking, dog-walking, travel. A baby carrier lets you carry on with life slightly off the beaten path with ease.
- Bonding, attachment and feeding. Close contact between you and your baby facilitates bonding, helps promote breastfeeding and can give the non-feeding parent a comforting way to connect with baby and give the feeding parent a break.
- Special needs. Whether it’s the baby or the caregiver with a condition that needs accommodation, a baby carrier can be an extra set of arms to lend support.
- Caring for other children. While we would all like to give our kids undivided attention, with other kids in the house, everyone needs to share a bit. A baby carrier lets you keep baby close while still keeping up with the older ones, whether you’re packing lunches, juggling extracurricular activities or giving baby a place to nap on the go.
- Sleeping and soothing. We don’t know the exact science behind it (though we think it’s the all over ‘hug’ feeling of the carrier plus the caregiver movement), but bouncing, walking and shushing in a baby carrier often soothes even the fussiest baby whether they are ill, teething or fighting much needed sleep.
Babywearing puts your baby in the safest possible place – on your body. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind for everyone’s safety.
- Your baby must be Visible & Kissable® to you at all times. This means that you can see his or her face and s/he is high enough on your chest so that you can easily kiss the top of his or her head.
- Clear and unobstructed airway. Your baby should be chin slightly up and breathing easily. Never cover your baby’s face or let baby slump over into a chin to chest curled position.
- If you nurse your baby in a carrier, always reposition your baby back to snug and upright after feeding.
- The safest position is upright and tight against the caregiver’s chest. The carrier should mimic the way you hold your baby in arms. If you feel like you need to hold onto your baby in the carrier, tighten and adjust the carrier until it feels secure.
- Be mindful of tripping and fall hazards, especially if you can’t see what is under your feet. Bend at the knees, not the waist while your baby is in the carrier.
If you could tend to your baby while still having the freedom to use your hands and go where you want- where would you go? What would you do next?
Linnea Catalan is the Executive Director of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. The BCIA is a non profit trade organization that promotes the baby carrier industry, works on the carrier safety standards that protect consumers, and assists manufacturers, educators and retailers with compliance and best practices. Learn more at www.babycarrierindustryalliance.org