The three months after birth are often referred to as the fourth trimester. This concept seemed strange to me, until my first child was in my arms. Babies undergo a tremendous adjustment to life on the outside, and close physical contact is one of the best ways to ease this transition. Baby wearing is a tool to satisfy the needs of both the mother/caregiver and the baby.
Providing a newborn baby with close physical contact helps him grow into a confident and happy toddler. Baby wearing allows mama (or caregiver) and baby to navigate through the world as a unit, offering security and comfort. It is much easier to be responsive to baby’s needs when he is literally connected. Some slings or carriers also allow the mother to discretely nurse the in public.
Many new moms end up driving a lot, especially during the colder months. Baby wearing helps keep baby toasty, making it more appealing to leave the car at home for shorter trips. In colder weather, I use my husband’s coat (which is larger than mine) to zip us both up, so only my son’s head is showing. In extremely cold weather, I zip him up completely and make sure he has enough air to safely breath. Using a carrier or sling, instead of a stroller, makes riding public transportation simpler—especially during peak times or when navigating stairs.
Although I have certainly done a lot of housework with my son or daughter in a sling, it is important to keep safety in mind, especially when cooking. Be cautious when bending over or backing up to not bump the baby and be aware that older babies may grab hot or breakable items.
The biggest complaint I hear about baby wearing is that is isn’t comfortable. It’s extremely important to find a comfortable carrier. The Ergo Baby is a very popular model that distributes the weight between the hips and shoulders, can be worn in front or back, and is available in organic cotton. The Moby Wrap, which can be tied in numerous different positions, is fairly popular especially for younger babies and is available in organic cotton.
Image: Photo Courtesy Moby Wrap
Sarah Lozanova is a mother of two, a holistic parenting coach, and a freelance environmental writer. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and has an MBA in sustainable development.