A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog post outlining my experience as a new breastfeeding mother (read here) One question which came up quite a bit was where to purchase a sling. I was very new to babywearing but had heard many people praising their usefulness as a tool in your mother artillery! I was very dubious about how useful it would be. After all, hadn't I just spent a fortune on a state of the art travel system!? Wouldn't the baby be in it every day as I leisurely walked around the country roads working off my baby tummy?
Baby had other ideas and for a number of weeks she had ZERO intention of lying down in her pretty and colourful bassinet. Make that lying on ANY surface other than Mammy's tummy! As someone who has come to learn alot about attachment parenting in the past few months, I knew that this clinginess was normal behaviour for a newborn. Afterall they have been plucked from the lovely comfortable surroundings of your uterus where they were in constant contact with you, listening to your heart beat with constant temperature, a steady stream of nutrients and a feeling of safety and security.
All of a sudden they are plucked from you and brought into a world full of bright lights, incorrect temperatures, hunger, itchy nappies and clothing and so many unknown sensations. All of this can become too much for your baby and they look for reassurance and contact with the only thing they know and feel safe with - YOU.
For me, having researched this so called "Fourth Trimester" and the need to allow your baby to learn to trust you and its surroundings, I knew that this "clinginess" that everyone talks about is in fact perfectly normal. For me, allowing my baby to cry it out or feel unsafe was not an option, despite the advice from others. However it is not always possible to hold your baby all day (much as we would like to!) Other children, housework and other demands on our time dictate that we do sometimes have to use both our hands and holding a baby all day may not be feasible. The solution? Babywearing.
Babywearing is the practice of carrying a baby around in a wrap or sling and has been practised by many cultures for centuries. It has seen a resurgence in recent years and has any important benefits to both mother and child:
- Close contact with newborn promotes the release of oxytocin which is very important for promotion of bonding with baby as well as production of milk.
- Important role in prevention of post natal depression and an important tool in paternal bonding.
- Promotes calm baby as he/she can smell, hear and touch caregiver
- Maternal heartbeat promotes calm in baby as they remember the pulse from being in the womb
- Movement is soothing for the baby
- Position and movement can help sooth the colicky or windy baby and promote passing of wind.
- Close contact promotes social development and allows copying of facial expressions.
- Contrary to popular belief baby wearing actually promotes independence faster as baby learns to trust and feel reassurance earlier.
- Allows both hands to be free allowing caregiver to get household tasks done easily or eat meals while baby feels content and happy in the sling.
Which Carrier/Wrap should I choose
There are many many types of wraps and slings on the market. It can be very difficult to know what type would be suitable for you to choose and it is therefore recommended that you visit a Sling Meet close to you to gain advice and try on various types to see what suits your needs. Some even have a sling library where you can literally borrow a sling/carrier and try it for a while to see if it is suitable. To find out where there is a local meet in your area check out Babywearing Ireland's Website
I purchased a Moby Stretch Wrap as I wanted something soft and suitable from birth (many carriers need an additional purchase of an infant insert to allow you to hold your baby from birth) as well as wanting it to allow baby's neck and body to be adequately supported. The Moby wrap fitted my brief and I bought from Irish website www.earthmother.ie who I happened to meet at a baby fair and who I felt had excellent customer service and support.
My Moby wrap has been and continues to be an important part of my day to day life. I use it more than my buggy and it is so useful for situations where a buggy is not practical (such as at large events with lots of people or on country walks or hiking) or when baby is feeling like he/she needs reassurance of extra cuddles (during development leaps, teething, sickness etc)
As someone who never contemplated baby-wearing in the past, it has quickly become an invaluable part of our everyday lives and something we will continue to do into the future.
To celebrate my blog reaching an amazing 19,000 likes and with special thanks to www.earthmother.ie I have a Moby Wrap available to giveaway to one lucky reader!
To be in with a chance to win please like and comment below my Facebook post and let me know why you want to win this for you or someone close to you.
Entrants must also visit and like Earth Mother on Facebook. Tell them I sent you!
Check out their website for details on their sale which has up to 50% off selected lines.