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There are several reasons that I ended up being a babywearing fan…

First off, its good for the baby (and what is good for baby is great for mama)…

Babies who are carried cry and fuss less than babies who spend most of their days out of physical contact with their parents. In Hunziker and Barr’s (1986) study of increased carrying and its affect on infant crying it was shown that increased carrying throughout the day reduces both the duration and the quality of infant crying. In this study, which included 99 mother-infant pairs, the experimental group (49 pairs) was provided with soft infant carriers and asked to carry their children for a minimum of three non-crying, non-feeding hours a day for eight weeks. It was found that at six weeks of age, the time of normal peak crying for infants in Western society, the supplemented carrying group of infants cried and fussed 43% less than the control group; this was about one hour less of crying per day. These children also fed more frequently, though not for increased duration, and were quiet and alert for more time each day than the control group of babies. This quiet and alert period is typically regarded by child developmentalists and pediatricians as the time when a baby is most capable of learning (Sears, 1995a; Sears & Sears, 1993).
     The development of attachment is also affected by infant carrying, as shown in a study of mother-infant dyads by Anisfeld, Casper, Nozyce, and Cunningham (1990). In contrast to the Honziker and Barr (1986) study which enlisted middle-class Canadian mothers, this study was conducted with the participation of lower socioeconomic mothers of minority ethnic backgrounds in a large city of the United States. The Anisfeld et al. study consisted of 49 participating pairs. The study sought to prove that mothers who carried their infants in soft carriers in the first three months of life would be more sensitive and responsive toward their babies after 90 days than mothers who toted their babies in plastic seats and, further, that this responsive behavior would be related to the child’s security of attachment at 13 months. Indeed the authors’ hypotheses were proven correct. Not only were the cloth carrier moms more responsive towards their babies in infancy, but 83% of their children were securely attached to them at 13 months of age. This was compared to the control group in which only 38% of the children were securely attached to their mothers. Curiously, within the control group, four of the mothers used a soft baby carrier in addition to using the car seat-type carrier and three out of those four mothers and babies had secure attachments. The authors also noted that a high percentage of avoidant relationships within the control group (38.5%) was consistent with existing data on mother-infant attachment for similar inner-city, low-SES populations. It was clear that the increased carrying of the infants in a soft front-pack carrier improved considerably the chances of the mother-infant pairs having a securely attached relationship and was a worthy intervention to be tried with high-risk populations.

Probably the best newborn tricks I learned working at the hospital include kangaroo care (which, if you can’t breastfeed, minimizes all but the nutritional difference between breastmilk and formula–but don’t let the milk nazis hear you say that one) and swaddling…combined with babywearing, it seems to ease the transition for the baby between in the womb and “oh shit, big wide world!” 

I think about it this way…baby bakes at 98.6 degrees F for 9 months in a dark, squished place where it sways around with whatever motion mommy makes…it hears mommy’s heartbeat, mommy’s voice, mommy’s tummy gurgling (most estimates of what it sounds like invitro, compare it to a vaccum cleaner in volume)—and then, it gets yanked out into the big wide world , let loose into bright lights, strange noises, cold (hey, 98.6 is downright HOT), and SPACE…swaddling provides security, babywearing provides the same motion and some of the same noises and a wee bit of the coziness and darkness that it had in the womb…

Second of all, its convienent…wearing a baby is HANDS FREE!!!  Strollers are big and bulky–especially if you are going to go shopping (unless, of course, you are going to be trying on clothes), and a sling is FAR easier than lugging around a baby carrier… some carriers even come with pockets or clips to attatch a pouch to hold a diaper, bottle, etc…  A friend of mine’s mother is a seamstress and made her an adjustable sling that has a zippered pocket sewn in and snaps that attatch to a big fleece blankie that can be wrapped around and tossed over baby in the sling

Third of all (this is so shallow)…it looks cool——-AND you can coordinate with your outfits.  (my hubby even has his own sling—its black  Roll Eyes)…and it covers that baby bulge that takes a while to go away…tongue

for more info on baby slings and other carrieres, try here.

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