When I was pregnant, I imagined all the time what life would be like with a sweet little baby in my arms. I envisioned how sweet life would be, and the things we would do together. I imagined how motherhood would look, and I wanted to look like so many of the pictures I had seen in the media–social or mainstream. And the truth is, motherhood is messy, much messier than I had imagined. It’s more work, and more love, and much better than I had imagined too. But lets get back to messy.
Right now, my living room floor has about half of the toys in his box strewn about, along with an eighth of my kitchen utensils, a pie pumpkin, and two leafs of romaine lettuce–shredded into pieces. MESSY. My hair is unwashed (maybe tomorrow). There’s a giant pile of unfolded laundry at my feet (I’ll get to it in a few minutes). And images like the one above are much more like what I thought motherhood would look like. Sometimes it does, so I’m not solely perpetuating idealized images. And when it doesn’t, baby wearing is what allows me to feel like the living room, my house, and my life isn’t a disaster.
Baby wearing isn’t just a cute trend; it’s how I get $h!*T done! I plan on folding the laundry during nap, racing around and picking up toys during nap too. And after that? He’ll wake up and we’ll bake banana bread. He’ll be my sous chef from the sling. I’ve already used the sling three times today, and it’s only one in the afternoon. Babywearing and coffee make motherhood possible. And there are a million benefits to babywearing. Or less, but here are a few of them as listed by the most amazing resource for all potential baby-wearing mamas:
• Happy Babies. It’s true … carried babies cry less! In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours. (1)
• Healthy Babies. Premature babies and babies with special needs often enter the world with fragile nervous systems. When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes—walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses. Research has even shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. (2)
• Confident Parents. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our babies’ cues successfully. Holding our babies close in a sling allows us to become finely attuned to their movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored, or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction deepens the mutual attachment between parent and child, and is especially beneficial for mothers who are at risk for or suffering from postpartum depression. (3) (4)
• Loving Caregivers. Baby carriers are a great bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, adoptive parents, babysitters, and other caregivers. Imagine a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby isbecoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements, and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Baby carriers are beneficial for every adult in a baby’s life. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!
•Comfort and Convenience. With the help of a good carrier, you can take care of older children or do chores without frequent interruptions from an anxious or distressed infant—which helps to reduce sibling rivalry. Baby carriers are also wonderful to use with older babies and toddlers; you can save those arms and go where strollers can’t. Climbing stairs, hiking, and navigating crowded airports all can be done with ease when you use a well-designed baby carrier!
That said, not every carrier has made motherhood possible for me. We’ve purchased and tried our fair share, and have a few favorites. I’ll go over what we loved and loathed here:
This was the first carrier I purchased. In the beginning, the cost of other carriers was reeally intimidating. At the time, I didn’t realize just how much we’d use them and how valuable they are.
This was the first carrier we tried–when he was just a week old and then a month old, and he HATED it. I hated it too. I hated that I had to watch the youtube instructions 4 times to figure it out. Okay, maybe 8 times. Sixteen combined for two tries.
Maybe we’d have gotten the hang of it, but it was hot (we only wore it inside, and we turned up the heat to 75 when we brought E home from the hospital) and it was challenging for me to put it on. E also hated being swaddled–anything that constricts his hands, he’s hated from the start.
However, some babies love to be swaddled. If your little one likes being swaddled, this might be the carrier for you. It’s super affordable, adjusts to fit all sizes, comes in a ton of different colors, is stretchy and so soft for babies.
Okay, I couldn’t find any images of this one, and we already sold ours on Craigslist. It was really very easy to put on and figure out–stretchy and soft fabric, and could be worn as a belly band for support during the last trimester of pregnancy. However, it constricted E’s little hands, so it was a no go for us. Very affordable–here is the link to buy.
We were given a plain black one as a a hand me down from my sister, with the infant insert. I couldn’t get the infant insert to fit just right, so we didn’t really start using it until my little guy was about three months.
It was the first carrier that he liked, but I always worried that he was doing the splits on my stomach in it, and initially it was tough to get on. I also didn’t realize you could wear the baby with a back carry, so I bought a different, albeit similar carrier instead.
You can buy ergo’s at Target, but here’s another link to buy in case you live in a small Target-less town like I used to.
We love this carrier. So much. It’s comfortable for both of us, can be worn six different ways, is easy to put on (once you practice clasping it behind your back), and saves me on the daily.
We’ve hiked in it, shopped in it, and walked until my little guy falls a sleep in it. We did that last night. In fact, it’s my favorite carrier for when my little guy is sleeping because it has two adjustments that you can easy snap or buckle to support your baby’s head and neck.
The only drawback to it, in my very vain but honest opinion, is that it smushes out my love handles. So if I wear it with jeans, I’m pretty sure my major muffin-top would make most people a little nauseous. I wear it hiking, around the house, and with things other than jeans, or with more high waisted mom-like jeans and embrace my momness for the sake of my little guy’s sleep. Link here.
Pretty. Comfortable. Versatile–can be worn a side, front or back carry. Soft. Easy to figure out, easy to adjust.
We love this carrier. LOVVVEEE it. They have a cool artsy community on IG, and have frequent give-aways. Follow them @lovesakurabloom.They highlight images of what I thought I motherhood would look like, they inspire, they show real mamas and babies making it look more easy and more beautiful than it is all the time, but it’s nice to feel pretty while being a mom. It’s nice to not feel like life is so messy.
The downside–not as good for sleeping (IMHO). And pricey. My husband was not so happy about the price–especially after I discovered the next sling.
Link for Sakura Bloom here.
Happy Heart Slings
A little stiffer fabric compared to the Sakura Bloom, but sturdy, pretty, and gorgeous color choices.
Added bonus?! Won’t break the bank, and you are supporting another Mama and her family since it’s a small business.
We LOVE this sling, so much. We have it in Sphinx :)
Link to buy here.
Do you have a carrier you love that I didn’t list?! Share in the comments below.
And now for the laundry.