Baby wearing can be a helpful tool for caregivers. It can help settle a fussy baby or encourage a nap on the go. It can give you two free hands to get things done (wash dishes! Zumba! get through airport security!) while also staying close to your baby. In cold weather, it can help keep baby warm inside a big coat. Baby wearing can also help contain an older, mobile child in a busy place. The list of benefits goes on. It’s no wonder that baby wearing is practiced across the world.
But with so many different types of carriers and ways to carry, it can feel a little overwhelming to get started. The first time I saw another mom turn a large piece of fabric into a snug wrap carrier for her baby, it seemed like magic. Over the past few years, I’ve used a variety of different carriers: a stretchy wrap for the newborn days, ring sling for quick carries. A buckle carrier for longer wearing, and a frame backpack carrier for hiking.
What was most helpful for me was to hear how other caregivers wore their babies. Once I learned some basic safety guidelines to make sure baby had a clear airway and was positioned comfortably, I’ve focused on making it work for our lifestyle. Some days I don’t wear at all, and sometimes I wear a lot. Here’s how I wore this week:
The kids were in daycare all day, so no baby wearing until the evening. I put the baby in a buckle carrier while I finished some emails at my standing desk. She got a catnap to help her make it to bedtime, and I got to catch up on snuggles and head sniffs I missed out on during the day.
A double wearing day. I picked the kids up at daycare and had to take them into the grocery store with me. My plan was to wear the baby and let the toddler ride in the grocery cart, but the baby fell asleep in her car seat on the short drive to the store. I didn’t want to wake her, so I put her car seat in a click and go stroller and the toddler went up on my back in a buckle carrier. I rarely wear the toddler anymore, so it was a nice treat for both of us.
Once we got home from the store, the toddler settled in for some screen time and I put the baby in a ring sling while I prepped dinner. The ring sling isn’t my favorite carrier, but it’s great for a quick carry to get things done around the house.
No work or daycare today, so we went to a local children’s museum. I wore the baby in a buckle carrier so I didn’t have to maneuver a stroller in a crowded space and was free to chase after the toddler.
No baby wearing while the kids were at daycare, but I wore the baby in the evening when she was fussy and tired.
We went for a family walk. I wore the baby in a buckle carrier, and the toddler wore one of her stuffed animals in a doll-sized carrier. IT WAS THE CUTEST.
No baby wearing for me, but my husband wore the baby in a buckle carrier while he did some chores around the house.
Baby Wearing Resources
There’s a whole world of other types of carriers I haven’t ventured into. Bay State Babywearers is a non-profit group with an active Facebook group, local meetups, virtual support, and a vast lending library of carriers. Some stores, like Diaper Lab in Cambridge, MA, offer baby wearing consults. Postpartum doulas and moms groups may also offer baby wearing education.