Somewhere along your parenting journey, you may have come across the term "babywearing". This refers to carrying your baby using wraps or carriers. An online search will provide information regarding the types of carriers available, as well as guidelines you should follow when babywearing.
Parents who choose to babywear find that it offers myriad benefits and possibilities. It keeps your baby close and lets you converse with them even when doing the most mundane things. Babywearing dates back to pre-technology times, when babies were put into carriers so that life could go on – but it is also important to acknowledge that our babies are their own persons. This allows babywearing to transcend merely toting our babies along like accessories. It paves the way for connection, both physically as well as mentally.
FOLLOW THEIR CUES
Watch your child for signs of wanting to be held, or vice versa. Even before he could speak, my younger son Seth would hold his hands up towards me whenever he got bored playing on his own. When he had enough of being carried, he would arch his back or twist his body away from me to indicate that he wanted to go back down.
Just like you would not appreciate being abruptly whisked off your feet by someone, it can come as a shock to your child if you simply take them and pop them into your carrier. Make it a point to explain, and ask what they want: “Are you feeling tired? Would you like to be wrapped?”; “I am going to take you out of the carrier now.” Give them a chance to absorb what you’ve said, and acknowledge you if possible.
TALK, TALK, TALK
When I gave birth to Jules, I spoke to him all the time, whether I was changing his diaper, cooking, or even looking for a personal item which had nothing to do with him. Don't feel silly! Talking about the sights, asking how they feel, and playing games are more ways of bonding with your baby.
When you talk to your baby, give them time to respond instead of rattling on in a monologue. Even if non-verbal, our babies may point at something and gurgle, for example. Always acknowledge them so that they feel connected to you: "Oh, what do you see over there?"; "Are you pointing at the bird?"
Of course, don't be doing all that when your baby is screaming for a nap. The point of staying connected is to allow you to read your baby's cues and do what’s best for them. Some babies want to be carried all the time while others don’t. Babies who get carried all the time aren’t robbed of stimulation, and babies who aren’t carried much don’t lack strong bonds with their parents. Whether you go the babywearing route or not, the approach is essentially the same – be respectful of your baby’s needs and desires.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rowena (known to most as Ro) is mum to two beautiful boys (sometimes three), who are her greatest teachers in life. In her free time, she never says no to a good book or a zombie flick. Some days, she goes to bed without cleaning up the mess that the boys leave behind in their wake. She blogs about her parenting journey at mumming-it.blogspot.sg.