A long, long time ago when I was a little girl, I remembered seeing in encyclopedias and on National Geographic women in far away lands strapping their babies to their front or backs and thinking that it was strange. A little later I attended an independent African Centered school, and whenever a teacher would have a baby, they would just bring the baby to work and have them strapped on their back.
It became so normal that I never really gave it much thought until during my second pregnancy I started reading about something called "baby wearing" and slings as if it were some revolutionary practice. It turns out the common practice that mothers have been doing for centuries actually has more than practical benefits.
Called by many names- Baby Wearing, Slinging the Baby, etc., is the modern industrialized world's name for what came natural to the many mothers of Africa , North America and Asia for thousands of years. Only now thanks to modern studies we know that there are more benefits to wearing your baby other than having two hands free. Here are just some of the benefits for baby wearing:
1. Keeps babies calm and content: We all know that babies like to be held, and unfortunately American, particularly African American culture has embraced the thought of "if you hold the baby too much you spoil the child". My answer to that is "spoiled is what happens to something when you don't pay any attention to it - like milk- and it goes bad". Babies are meant to be held, they can't walk or talk, let alone meet any of their own needs. When children are crying it's because they have a need for something, if you ignore that need it teaches the child that they can't get their needs met. Meeting the baby's needs now, fosters a more emotionally secure baby later.
2. Increases intelligence: Simply put when you carry the baby around, they do less crying and more watching and learning.
3. Allows moms to feed on the go:
Breastfeeding has become more of a "chore" to modern moms rather than a necessity. The benefits FAR outweigh the negatives for breastfeeding, but I can admit formula did get tempting when I had to stop what I was doing several times a day to feed my then newborn baby. Baby wearing allows the baby to nurse while mom is hands free and also provides breast coverage.
There are many more reasons to wear your baby, but really bringing it back to practical, if you or someone you know has ever had to ride the bus, go shopping, or just about any other outing with a baby, you know that it makes the errand much more difficult holding the baby on your hip or worse trying to lug around that heavy car seat or stroller.
Consider baby wearing to benefit your baby, maintain your sanity, lighten your load, and free your hands. Tell us about your thoughts, feelings and experiences with baby wearing
I invite you to a FREE baby wearing workshop in the DC Metro Area on Sunday April 20, 2008 @ 12 noon . Please contact us to RSVP and for location details.