Mothers (and fathers and caregivers) across the globe have been wearing their babies for CENTURIES. And (Motrin, this is addressed to you) slings and carriers positioned correctly will evenly distribute baby's weight and put less strain on a mother's back than carrying a baby in her arms. All the literature out there on babywearing warns that if you feel pain or discomfort you have the sling positioned incorrectly.
When J was an infant, my husband and I both used sling carriers with him. In the sling, J seemed more of a participant in whatever we were doing than while riding in a stroller. The hands-free functionality of slinging was also a great benefit. Going for a walk or making a trip to the store, I had less to lug in and out; I had two free hands; and I was still snuggling my baby!
Luckily for me, my good friend Margaret was experienced with slings and babywearing, so she was able to help me choose comfortable slings and positions. Dr. Sears' books and web site were also very helpful resources to me while I got the hang of it. Here are a couple facts from Dr. Sears's web site about the importance and benefits of babywearing:
- Sling babies spend more time in the state of quiet alertness . This is the behavioral state in which an infant is most content and best able to interact with his environment.
- Sling babies are intimately involved in the caregiver's world. Baby sees what mother or father sees, hears what they hear, and in some ways feels what they feel.
- Carried babies are intimately involved in their parents' world because they participate in what mother and father are doing. A baby worn while a parent washes dishes, for example, hears, smells, sees, and experiences in depth the adult world. He is more exposed to and involved in what is going on around him.
- Carried babies become more aware of their parents' faces, walking rhythms, and scents. Baby becomes aware of, and learns from, all the subtle facial expressions, body language, voice inflections and tones, breathing patterns, and emotions of the caregiver.
- A parent will relate to the baby a lot more often, because baby is sitting right under her nose. Proximity increases interaction, and baby can constantly be learning how to be human.