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I've written quite a lot about babywearing over the years, but do still get asked the same questions over and over again. So, here's a little refresher!
If you are just starting out and have a new baby, I always suggest a ring sling. It was my first sling and I found it to be the easiest when starting out. Any ring sling will do- you can shop online, check ebay, La Leche League meetings, or visit a local Mom's group.
If you can, try out a couple different types of carriers to see what works best for you! If not, I recommend buying a carrier that you can easily exchange in case it is too big or too small, or just not the right fit for you.
Wraps are great, too. Just remember that stretchy wraps are best for smaller babies and woven wraps are better for both smaller and heavier children.
If you are going to do a lot of walking or wearing baby for a long period of time, a mei tai (pronounced MAY-tie) is definitely worth the investment. The only mei tais I've had experience with are the FreeHand and Baby Hawk, but there are many out there to choose from. Don't get intimidated by the straps- it is very easy to learn the best ways to tie and wear baby in both a front & back carry!
I've never tried an ERGO Baby Carrier, but would love to. Don't you think Ivy & I would look great with this!?
If you are a larger Mom, you might find that a ring sling with a longer tail will give you a better fit. Just ask the person making the sling to make it a little longer for you. Same with mei tais and wraps- just ask for a little extra and it shouldn't be difficult to have a custom carrier made for you.
Some tips if you find that the sling is not comfortable for you or baby- often the "cradle hold" is not the baby's favorite position, so try carrying them with their tummy to your chest and the rings up high if being worn in a ring sling. You should be able to smooch their little head when wearing them- this is Ivy's favorite way to be worn (as shown in the photo above)!
Make sure your sling is spread evenly across your back and that the rings are up high in the area where a corsage would be worn. No matter what baby carrier you are wearing, baby should be in a position that would resemble how you would hold them in your arms. They should not hang too low to the front or side.
This past summer I was able to attend the Babywearing Conference in Chicago. Jennifer Norton, founder of TheBabywearer.com was the keynote speaker, and I was moved by her babywearing journey: One important note that she expressed with her heart was- that because a Mother's need for support is so very necessary in feeling like she is doing a good job as a Mom- we mustn't ever criticize someone for not wearing their baby.
We should never make another Mother feel less-than or that what she is doing is wrong. If it works for her, that is what is most important. The findings about the benefits of babywearing that Jennifer was sharing is what has been found through her extensive research, and while I hope that every Mom could experience the bliss of babywearing that I've known in my own life, I can not expect every Mom to be just like me. I want the "every Mom" to be just who she needs to be.
You can go on to read more about Jennifer Norton's presentation here.
What's your best babywearing tip? Have a babywearing question? Please leave your comments below!
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Photo by Beth of Beth Fletcher Photography.