7/31/2006

Question: Is it too late to start babywearing?

Very often, people ask me if it's too late to start babywearing. My generic answer is that if you are holding your child, you would probably be happier with a good baby carrier. As a related question, many people feel that their child is much too heavy to be worn because they have hit around 22 pounds. Let me address that concern first and then get back to thoughts on starting babywearing.

Most babies, especially breastfed babies, have a similar pattern to weight gain. You can see from the new World Health Organization Growth charts that at around 6 months, weight gain begins to taper, and it tapers more rapidly at around 12 months. So many parents watch their babies gain very rapidly in the first 3-5 months and immediately assume that they will have huge toddlers that will be impossible to clothe or pick up. Generally, this is not the case. And in the rare instances where it is the case, you pretty much have to deal with it because babies still need to be held, and a very good baby carrier such as the Ergo Baby Carrier or a Wrap will help you be more comfortable. I ask you, do you want to support 30 pounds with your arms, or strap the weight onto your body? And for you moms that say you are simply too petite to practice babywearing, again, I ask you, do you find yourself lugging your baby around and pushing the stroller with the other hand? You will be surprised how much easier it is to babywear with a proper baby carrier.

So, back to the original question,
it's definitely not too late to start babywearing. If you're carrying your baby anyway, a well designed baby carrier, like the Ergo or the EllaRoo Mei Hip will support him just how you are holding him except hands free. Or on your back so he's out of the way.

If he's not used to being worn, the thing that is important to remember are that you can't stand still. So many people put the baby in the baby carrier and then stand there and say, "He doesn't like it," and conclude that it's not going to work for them. Um, babies aren't all that different. It does take a bit of work. My older daughter couldn't stand to be in a carseat if the car wasn't moving, so I planned my whole route around where I could go right on red! It's just the stuff we do to keep our littles happy. The same for babywearing; you have to at a minimum rock, bounce, or sway, and even better is to pace, or, best, go outside and walk! Once the baby gets used to it, they settle down, but even now, when I pick up my 2 year old, I bop pretty hard for a bit if she's fussing.

1 comment:

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I reach for my sling before the stroller or shopping cart 99% of the time because 1) it's just plain easier! & 2)Both baby & I love it!