…submitted by guest contributor: Dawn
When I was pregnant, I was gifted an “Over the Shoulder Baby Holder” (a baby sling) and “The Baby Book” by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, R.N.. These two gifts became great aids in my first years of parenting.
I had heard of the concept of babywearing which refers to using a sling or other kind of carrier to hold the baby on the parent’s body while they go about their daily activities like walking, doing chores, attending social gatherings.
The benefits to the infant from babywearing are that the baby feels close and secure to the parent (or caregiver), often the baby is happier and more content, and shows the baby (or growing toddler) how the world is an interesting place to explore from the viewpoint next to their parent.
We began to explore the various ways of carrying our daughter in the baby sling in our first big travels to Alaska when she was 10 weeks old. We spent a week of traveling, hiking (there was one incident of her nursing in the sling, while I was hiking on a trail following my husband trying to avoid the moose below us in the woods! – and my daughter was still happy!), and waiting in lines at restaurants. All the time my daughter was content, whether I was wearing her, or her Dad or a close friend was.
We had the car seat for driving and the airplane ride but it frequently stayed in the car as we explored.
As my daughter grew, we changed how she rode in the sling from a laying down position, to sitting up and seeing the world, to riding on one hip of mine as she became a toddler. This phase was especially nice to keep her near me in the sling and allow me to have a free hand. It also kept her out of trouble at times when we were in stores that didn’t have shopping carts.
I have since noted the growing industry (and therefore, choices!) of baby carriers – front packs, Maya wraps, etc. I’m glad the options are so varied now, making it easier to search for the style that fits best into lifestyles and fashion styles. My daughter even has her own child-sized baby sling so she can keep her baby doll close by while playing!