As babywearing has grown in popularity so quickly, we thought we would give you a few tips on how to make your slinging life easier!
Let’s start with the basics…
What is babywearing?
Babywearing is the practice of carrying your baby in a sling or carrier. It has, in fact, been practised for centuries around the world, and has only recently become popular in western countries due to the emergence of something called “Attachment Parenting“.
What should your baby wear in a sling?
Well, that depends on the weather and the sling! But, for a general rule, consider how many layers your baby will be carried in. For example, a stretchy wrap like AmaWrap has three thin layers, while a buckle carrier may have one very thick sewn layer. Make sure to factor that in, and consider the weather outside.
How long can you carry baby in a sling?
For as long as you need to. You will still be taking them out periodically to feed them and change their nappy, which is ample time for baby to get a good stretch in!
Babies’ spines are naturally curved like a ‘C’ shape, and keeping them in a sling will support that natural curvature. Essentially, they are lying exactly how they did in the womb, and will be as comfy as they were in there too.
Can babies sleep in slings?
Yes, and chances are they will. And who can blame them? In the womb, they became used to the sound of your breathing and your heartbeat, your warmth, and the sensation of being rocked to sleep while you were on the move. Now they are on the outside, the sling offers that same warmth and security, rocking gently as you move, and allowing them to hear your breathing and heartbeat…
You MUST make sure that you are able to see your baby’s face, and that their breathing is unrestricted at all times while in the sling. This becomes even more important when they are sleeping.
Breastfeeding – particularly for those of us who struggle to produce breastmilk, the skin to skin contact enabled with babywearing actually helps milk production! The presence of your baby tells your body to make milk, which is why skin to skin contact is so important in the first few weeks and months.
And now that we are coming into colder weather, I thought I would share some more seasonal information for those long autumn and winter walks!
The reason that we love the AmaWrap in the winter months is that babies are as snuggled to you as they could be. Lots of skin to skin contact, and the ability to share your body heat. You both have your own personal hot water bottle to snuggle up to while out and about! For this reason…
Remember that while some carriers are worn over coats, the AmaWrap and other stretchy slings are worn underneath so that your baby can benefit from both your body heat and your coat. Snowsuits could lead to overheating very quickly if combined with the wrap, your body heat and your coat. Thick fleece all-in-ones with hoods are wonderful to wear when the baby is in any type of sling or car seat.
Most ladies find that their maternity coats provide ample room for their baby inside if you want to button up (and you get a little more wear out of it!), but even if you don’t want to button it you will both be warm.
So, rather than using a snowsuit, layer your baby up. That way, if baby seems a little warm, you can just strip off a layer. A jacket for baby is fine, but not a puffy coat. Baby’s legs and head are the only things which may not be protected by the warmth of the wrap, so make sure that you layer the legs up with fleece stockings, thick booties, etc. and ensure that baby is wearing a hat.
Be aware of your baby’s breathing
Please be mindful of your baby’s airways at all times. Remember to ensure that there is a gap between the chin and chest, and make sure that any scarves you have on do not restrict their breathing.
Shabs Kwofie. Founder of AmaWrap. She is also a baby-wearing consultant and is part of the local MSLC (Maternity Services Liaison Committee).
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