Did you know that this week is International Babywearing Week? We spoke with Jessica Mailman, the President of Boston Babywearers, a non-profit educational group that teaches parents and caregivers the joys of wearing their children and often holds events at our Concord Studio, to learn more about the hot new trend of babywearing. Read on for Jessica’s thoughts on the benefits of babywearing, tips for babywearing dads and more!

Q: What are the origins of babywearing?
A:
Babywearing has been going on for centuries in cultures all around the world. It’s definitely not a new idea, it’s just taken a while to catch on in industrial cultures.

Q: Why do you think it’s grown in popularity?
A:
I think that caregivers are just finally starting to realize just how easy and helpful babywearing can be. There are more and more carriers available on the market today, offering many safe options for all preferences.

Q: What are the benefits of babywearing for babies and caregivers?
A:
There are so many benefits it’s hard to list them all! Wearing your child can be a life saver when they are colicky and cranky or just need to be held constantly in those early days. It’s a natural way to manage tending to a newborn and chasing an always-moving toddler at the same time. It allows the wearer to hold the baby close and be aware of their needs, even nurse, while being totally hands free and able to get other things done; multi-tasking at its best.

Q: What is your favorite way to wear your baby?
A:
My youngest will be two in a few weeks and I still wear her quite frequently. These days I typically wear her in a soft structured carrier on my back, but for those times when she’s upset or just wants to cuddle, there’s nothing better than a wrap conversion mei tai in a front carry!

Q: What are some tips for caregivers trying to wear very wiggly babies?
A:
Keep moving! Babies enjoy motion and often don’t like it when you sit down while wearing them. Most people will naturally sway while holding a baby, so keep that up while wearing them. Bouncing gently while putting a child into a carrier will help keep the baby calmer and also help seat him/her lower into the carrier for better positioning.

Q: Any special tips for dads wearing babies?
A:
We love seeing dads wearing kids! It’s definitely not just for moms. The biggest thing Dad should be aware of is his torso height. If he’s super tall, he needs to be careful with positioning—baby should always be high and tight on the chest, close enough so that Dad can see baby’s face and kiss the top of his/her head.

Q: What is your advice for wearing babies who are colicky or spit up often?
A:
Babywearing is perfect for colicky babies. They often go through long periods where the only thing that helps is being held close, and this can be torture on the caregiver’s arms/body. The right carrier can make life so much easier, allowing baby to be held close, while letting the wearer do other things, like take care of older children. For babies that spit up, stick to front carries (imagine that spit up happening behind you when you can’t see!!) and keep a burp cloth between the two of you for easy clean up.

Q: How can you juggle a hot cup of coffee while wearing a baby? Tips please to avoid accidents!
A:
Honestly, the only way to be safe is not to do it. It’s impossible to guarantee that you won’t drip a hot item on a small face and if you have an active baby, he/she could easily grab the cup. If your child is older, you can try putting them in a back carry to keep them out of reach.

Q: What’s been the most unique way you’ve seen someone wear a baby?
A:
Most people don’t realize that you can wear more than one child at a time. You can wear twins, or an older child on your back, with a small baby on your front. It seems complicated, but with practice it can be a great way to keep them both close and safe.

Q: Do you have any tips for caregivers who did not wear their baby when their baby was very small but would like to start now that their child is a little older?
A:
I often find that it’s easier wearing a baby from day one, but you can certainly start wearing at any time! Finding the right carrier for your body and the baby is the key, since there are so many options out there. Boston Babywearers offers a lending library of over 50 carriers, and can help you find the perfect fit. If baby doesn’t seem to like it, start out wearing for just a few minutes and work on getting you both used to it, gradually working up to wearing for longer periods.

Q:  If you could describe babywearing in three words they would be?
A: That’s easy! Life-saving, addictive and fun!

For additional tips, head to ABCKidsINC for Baby Wearing 101: The Basics of Using a Baby Sling for First Time Parents.

 

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