Monday, June 11, 2007


I've had different people ask me different questions about babywearing, so here's some common questions and some info if anyone is curious:

Does it hurt your back?
Nope. Not at all. Ok, sometimes, but only when I do things wrong. I have muscle damage in my back (had a muscle spasm and seize when I was in high school, in a lot of pain for a long time and it still flares up when I'm not careful). Generally, I don't carry anything over about 10 lbs for any length of time without causing issues. Even being pregnant through me all out of whack because my posture was all messed up.

However, with babywearing, I can make sure Hana is in the right position so she doesn't hurt me. That means keeping her close to my body (so it doesn't throw off my posture), carrying her on my back, and making sure she's nice and high up.

Is it hard to get her on your back?
It was scary at first, but not difficult, especially once I got used to seeing other people do it. This video shows different ways to get baby up and down (Hana likes the "whoops" method some days). Basically practice over a bed or kneeling on the floor (or kneeling on the bed) and you get used to it. So does your baby. Hana hangs on now while I wrap her, which makes things easier (I'm still holding her too, don't worry!).

What should I use?
Anything. If it means having your baby with you rather than not, use anything. A Snuggli, Baby Bjorn, Mei Tai, Wrap, Pouch, Ring Sling, Podeigi, Onbuhimo, Soft structured carrier, rebozo, amutick, anything (tho I think that's a pretty complete list of options..). From my own experience and stories from others, the Baby Bjorn and Snuggli type carriers are good for newborns but then get very uncomfortable. They're also difficult for short people. We have one and Hana was in it once, for about 5 minutes. There's also some reaseach (which are admittedly biased towards wraps) that feel the position of the baby's legs (hanging straight down) can be damaging. Honestly I see little boys in them and sort of cringe myself. Other more traditional carriers have the baby's legs spread like they are when carried in arms. This is also the position babies with hip dysplasia are put in to encourage their hips to grow properly. It also allows the baby to be in a closer and higher position, which keeps their weight in a better position for the wearer.

I am a biased towards more traditional carriers (not the ones you can buy at Toys R Us) because they are prettier, last longer, are more comfortable and are more versitile, and most of what I talk about will relate to those. Really tho, use anything. I've even seen people use towels, pants and sweatshirts.

Why babywear?
Some people think it's just plain silly that I wear Hana. Other people even think it's harmful. They don't realize there are benefits to it for everyone.

First of all, I've never known a baby who didn't go through a "I want to be held all the time" stage at some point. A lot of mothers get frustrated that they can't get anything done. If you have a carrier, all you have to do is toss baby on your back and you can do pretty much anything (aside from driving, some exercise, and activities that require you to be on your back, etc.). It also makes shopping trips easier - next time you go to the mall, count how many people you see carrying the baby and pushing the stroller.

Babywearing is also good for nursing - it's possible to nurse in most carriers without anyone even knowing that's what's happening. And you can move around hands free.

In the early days, babywearing helps regulate a baby's system. Kangaroo Care is becomming more popular with preemies. If it's good for them, why wouldn't it be good for a full term baby?

There's a full list of benefits here

How long can you use them?
For most of them, as long as you want. I've seen pictures of people showing off with adults in different carriers. It's kind of funny to see. I've had people make comments along the lines of wearing Hana being a bad idea because when she's bigger I won't be able to, but I figure as long as I'm able to lift her I'll be able to wear her (just don't know if she'll want to be worn that much lol). Some carriers are better with bigger or smaller babies, and some have weight limits (depending on the brand), but usually they're able to be used in different positions and are long lasting.

Where can I get one?
Unless you're lucky and live in a place where they're available, you'll most likely have to buy online. Or, you can always make your own.

Babywearing is a wonderful thing. It might not be necisary (but then one can argue that no baby prouduct is really neccesary), but it does make life easier.

Here's some of my favorite babywearing sites:
The Babywearer

NINO: Nine In Nine Out

Wear Your Baby


Dena said...

So, in your opinion, which is better for a wrap: the stretchy fabric or the woven kind? We used a snugli with Micaiah and are thinking about a wrap with this next one.

Steph said...

The strechy one is nice for a newborn and very "popable" (easy to get baby in and out). The problem is as baby gets bigger and heavier it's hard to get it to stay tight. Plus the stretchy one is really long.

If you're only going to get one, I'd go with a woven one. I'll also mention I'm planning on sell my stretchy one, if you're interested.