BabyWearing Review – Does it Work?

5 out of 5 leaves

5 out of 5 leaves

 

Babywearing, or carrying baby around in a sling or other body carrier, is a childcare technique that goes back through the ages.  Recently it has been gaining new popularity with some groups of parents.  But does it work?

The Good

  • Better for baby – babies cry much less when held and carried
  • Saves Time – mama can hold baby and wash the dishes, or attend to the toddler, or make dinner
  • Saves Space – baby carriers are generally much smaller and easier to use and store than strollers
  • Better for you — you stay close to babe so you can anticipate needs, and get a workout at the same time!
  • Better for the Earth – peaceful babies make for a better world (am I stretching it here?)
  • Strangers tend to not touch baby when he is strapped to your body
  • Can discreetly breastfeed on the go (full disclosure – I never quite figured out how to do this, but have many friends who have)

The Bad

  • Carriers can be expensive
  • Potential for a sore back – Little babies grow into 30 lb toddlers who still want to be toted around
  • Hard to wear baby and carry a diaper bag

My Experience    

My first babe was a really peaceful, happy little guy.  As long as his tummy was full, he was content to lay in his basket, or sit in his baby bouncy seat and watch the world go by.  I had a front pouch sling that I used to carry him when I went out, mostly for my convenience.  I also liked keeping him close to my body, because it prevents those well-meaning strangers from swooping in for an unwelcome touch.

Wearing Baby on Front

 

When he was around 6 months old I upgraded to the ERGObaby Carrier.  While pricey (I paid $110 for mine on Ebay), I liked the versatility of the Ergo.  Baby can be worn on front, side, or back, from infant to 45 lbs.  I used this carrier to carry my baby boy on my back mostly for outdoor activities like hiking.

I didn’t really become a committed baby-wearer until my second babe arrived.  This little girl was also happy – as long as she was being held.  For the first 7 weeks of her life we didn’t put her down.  She insisted on being carried all. the. time.  I was so grateful for my pouch sling and my Ergo (with infant insert) during this time.  I was able to keep her happily snuggled against my chest, but still do all the things that needed to be done: taking the toddler on walks, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.

As she grew into an older baby, she preferred being carried on my hip, which got tiring and left me with only one free hand.  The Ergo came to the rescue again, as it can be adjusted for a hip carry.  It was great to have my hands free, but still have her up with me on eye level to see everything I was doing.

Wearing a Toddler on the Back

Today, as a 28 lb toddler, she still is a cuddly little girl who prefers being carried when she needs a break from her running-around toddler busyness.  She’s too heavy to carry in any other way than on my back, but once again the Ergo steps up to do the job.  Every day when I come home from work, she pulls the carrier out of the closet and brings it to me.  She usually spends about an hour on my back while I make dinner and do other little after work chores.  I consider this my work-out for each day, and have no guilt that I don’t have time for a “real” workout program.

Overall, baby wearing has worked really well for my family.  It allows us to keep fussy babies feeling better, and also to easily transport babies to places where taking a stroller would be complicated.  I’ve practiced baby-wearing while walking, hiking, dancing and cooking.  I’ve worn babes at the beach, on mountains,  at “grown-up” parties, at the Pentagon, and on vacations all over the country.  Baby-wearing keeps my baby happier, keeps my toddler happier, and makes me happy too!

Links to some of the most popular styles of baby carriers:
     

 

Do you wear your babies?  What’s your favorite style of carrier?

Shared at Teach Me Tuesday, Time Warp WifeSimple Lives Thursdays and Your Green Resource
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13 Responses to BabyWearing Review – Does it Work?

  1. Elise says:

    My favorite carrier so far has been the ring sling. He loved being snuggled up in it when he was tiny, and now that he’s bigger I can carry him on my hip with it.
    I’d love to try the ergo now that he’s bigger, but like you said, it’s pricey. With my next baby, I plan to try something like the Moby wrap. That looks like it’d be an awesome carrier for a newborn!

    • Victoria says:

      Elise, with all the work my Ergo has done, I’d say it’s well worth the price. But ring slings are definitely more stylish!

  2. I have been toying with buying an Ergo. I have a moby wrap but I find it very difficult to get the right amount of tension. It is either too tight or too loose. Then sometimes I have to try 2-3 times putting her in it before it seems comfortable and at that point she is fussy. I really should take the plunge. I would love to be able to wear her while having my hands free. Thanks for the info.

    • Victoria says:

      Hey Suzy! I have never been able to figure out the wrap carriers either. The Ergo is pricey, but I have used it literally every single day with my babe who is now 16 months old. I figure that’s about 25 cents a day — well worth it for peace and calm in my house!

    • Karen says:

      Perhaps you could find a cheaper Ergo on Craigslist. I bought 2 for other people for $25 a piece this way after being so completely wowwed by my own. Even if you don’t find one super cheap it’s an expense you won’t later regret. My son is now 32 lbs and I still carry him daily in the Ergo with no back pain, and I am a very small person.

  3. Becca says:

    My son is 7 now, but we loved babywearing! We had a Maya Wrap ring sling.

    I work outside the home, so I took him to a sitter every day and had to carry his diaper bag AND my lunch AND his milk or lunch. What worked for me was putting the bags on the opposite side from the baby: baby in front=bags on back; baby on hip=bags on opposite shoulder. I don’t know what would work when carrying baby on your back, though! By the time he was too big for the hip carry, he was able to walk.

    I never was able to breastfeed while walking, but once I found somewhere to sit the sling was helpful for discretion and warmth.

    Another advantage to babywearing is that it’s much easier to take your baby on public transit than if you were using a stroller. Holding a baby while folding or unfolding a stroller is very difficult. A stroller takes up a lot of space in a bus, so if it’s crowded the other passengers resent you. If the transit is subway or light rail, there may be steps in the station that are difficult to navigate with a stroller.

    Speaking of stairs, we live in Pittsburgh, an older city in the mountains. We encounter many staircases both indoors and out, and in some places there aren’t elevators or curb cuts (if the place hasn’t been renovated since the Americans with Disabilities Act), and sidewalks are often going steeply up or down hill and/or are uneven from tree roots or frost-heave. Getting around with a stroller is a lot more difficult than just walking! The older buildings also tend to have narrow spaces and heavy doors that are just so much easier to manage with baby close to your body.

  4. Christina says:

    We have an Ergo and have used it from very early on. My son is 5 months old. He calms down on a walk (not so much on a car ride…what’s up with that?) and it is much less tiring to carry him in the Ergo. Plus, it’s so cold and snowy/slushy that stroller is not the best option even though he could go in one now. He stays warm against me and going into stores is easy. A friend has the Baby Bjorn and says without the hip strap it’s hard on the back. The hip strap on the Ergo does help. Recommended!

    • Victoria says:

      Christina, I live in Southern California and hadn’t even considered the combination of a stroller and snow – Yikes! I’ve used the Baby Bjorn as well, but had back pain when baby passed 15 lbs. This was around 8 weeks old with my ginormous babes!

  5. I love babywearing! Like you I didn’t do it much with my first, in fact I used a Bjorn with her. But with my second I’ve been holding him since he was 3 days old. I have all kinds of carriers and I love each one for a different reason. My go to carrier right now is a Boba 2G, which is similar to an Ergo.

  6. Leanne says:

    I have an Ergo, too, that I love. I found it way more comfortable than any other carrier and it doesn’t bother my back. I found mine on babysteals for half price! I don’t have an infant insert though and needed another option for my 2nd kid until she’s big enough for the Ergo. A friend loaned me a Sleepy Wrap – it’s like a Moby but stretchier material. You just wrap it as tightly as you can, and it stretches to accommodate the baby without you having to leave room for her! Love, love, love the thing…and I never thought I’d be able to figure out how to tie it, but once you learn…no big deal!

  7. Amber says:

    I love my Moby wrap for newborns. It is kind of a pain when it is rainy and you have to wrap in the parking lot or something like that. Looking at getting an Ergo for the next one. I carried all three for a long time.

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