By Peggy O’Mara
What do Miyam Bialk, Brad Pitt, Brooke Shields, Gwen Stefani, and Rachel Weisz have in common? They wear their babies. Babywearing means carrying your baby or child in a wraparound sling, ring sling, pouch sling, mei tai, soft structured carrier or structured carrier. A baby carrier can be as simple as a long piece of cloth or as sophisticated as a Gucci or Louis Vuitton.
Babywearing is a necessity for women all over the world who carry their babies while they work and do domestic tasks. This practice has been around for centuries and has seen a dramatic resurgence in popularity in the US during the last five years.
According to a study in Pediatrics, babies who are carried cry less. Babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during the evening hours.
A study at Columbia University compared the attachment of babies carried in a baby carrier with babies carried in a car seat. After 13 months, the babies who had been transported in wearable carriers were significantly more attached to their mothers.
Babywearing is a practical solution for moms and dads who can tend to older children, make a meal or straighten up the house, all while wearing the baby. It can be more convenient than a stroller in crowded places such as stores, restaurants and airports. And, some carriers allow for easy and discreet breastfeeding.
Experts recommend a baby carrier that is made of “breathable” fabric, one that does not press baby too tightly against the wearer, and that allows the wearer to see the baby’s face. It helps to try on a variety of carriers to find the best fit. Fortunately, there are babywearing classes in cities all over the country.
Join or start a chapter of Babywearing International
Visit the Facebook Babywearing Safety Page
See Mothering’s Special Report on Babywearing
Join the Babywearing conversation with our Community