Close for Comfort: Benefits of Babywearing

Every parent would love to make life with young children a little easier. “Babywearing” is a new term for carrying your infant or toddler with the help of some cloth or a carrier. Though it may seem trendy, the tradition spans centuries and has been a part of cultures on nearly every continent. Babies have always loved to be held and carried along with their caretaker.  Easily carrying your baby while having your hands free, makes for a happy baby, as well as a happy parent who can get things done.

Bunch of benefits

Benefits of babywearing include better bonding and attachment, less crying, and enhanced mental and physical development. In a study in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found worn babies cried and fussed 43 percent less than babies who were not worn, with 51 percent less crying in the evening hours. Many pediatricians count time that you wear your baby as “tummy time,” so you can replace the oft-tearful infant while mom exercises with some snuggling as you walk through the Toledo Museum of Art or the grocery store. Babywearing’s close contact can also boost parents’ confidence and can help lessen the effects of postpartum depression.

Babywearing is especially beneficial for newborns, some special needs children, travel, and siblings who are close in age, allowing you to put one into a car seat while wearing the other, or nursing one while following the other at the playground. It’s also easier than rolling a stroller to a Mud Hens game or on a camping trip.

Something for everyone

Toledo Area Babywearers (TABW) is a group of parents that holds meetings twice a month to learn about different carrier options and how to safely wear children from newborn to preschool age. There are countless options to wear babies on your front, back, or hip, and carriers for every budget. You can spend $30 at Target for an Infantino mei tai, based on a traditional Chinese design, $100 for a soft-structured buckle carrier like an Action Baby Carrier, which is made in Detroit, or thousands of dollars for a highly sought-after, handwoven wrap. Stretchy wraps such as the Moby Wrap are very popular for newborns, but aren’t as comfortable for carrying older babies and toddlers. TABW has a learning library so parents can try 15 different carriers and see what works best for them, and a Facebook group Toledobabywearers for added information and assistance.

Kelsey Stone, a leader of TABW, explained why she enjoys wearing her two children, Katie, 5, and Joey, 2. “I love the bonding between mother and child. I also love being somewhat hands-free. It also allows me to remain close to both my children, especially while on my own, such as at the zoo, or the Metroparks’ walking trails. It also helped with my postpartum depression, and made breastfeeding on the go much more feasible.”

“I have gotten a variety of comments, ranging from ‘Isn’t he too big for that?’ to ‘That is really neat,’ as well as people who were flabbergasted that I was able to get Joey up securely with one long piece of woven fabric. Moms ask about my carrier, and I always love to spread the knowledge.”

Don’t forget dad

Babywearing isn’t just for moms, either. With the wide range of carriers available, there are plenty of options for dads, too. Babywearing is a great way for dad to bond with baby, whether while out and about or helping to calm a colicky infant in the evening. When it comes to babywearing, the closeness provides comfort.

You’re invited!

Toledo Area Babywearers Group meets at 10am
every second Saturday of the month and at 5pm every fourth Monday
at the University Church on Hill Avenue.

Intro to Babywearing Classes, taught by Kelsey Stone,
meet at 6:30pm every second Thursday at the Babies “R” Us in Holland.
Call the store at 419-382-9990 to register.

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