This is the 3rd and last post of our guest, Jenny, from The Chronicles of a Nursing Mom on our natural parenting series. The first week, she posted about cloth diapering and last week, she talked about the rights of a breastfeeding and a working mother.
Disclaimer: I write this post based on my experiences in a babywearing family. I am not a babywearing expert but would rather call myself an enthusiast. I’m happy to be part of a babywearing family and want to share some tips with you culled from babywearing 2 children.
1. Babywearing requires confidence, patience and lots of practice!
Families often give up on babywearing because THEY THINK it is difficult. What I want to emphasize is that as with breastfeeding, babywearing is a learned skill. It is important that you practice, practice, practice! It helps to practice with a doll first and in front of a mirror. When I was learning the different types of carry, I also watched Youtube videos (and there are so many!) on a specific carry and type of carrier.
I also believe that confidence plays an important role in successful babywearing. Don’t be bullied into giving up. Practice alone or with a supportive assistant (could be your caregiver or partner). Don’t practice when there are doubting Thomases around you. Comments such as – baby is having a difficult time or baby is uncomfortable won’t help you!
2. Don’t share sizes unless it is a one-sized adjustable carrier.
Daddy S in a tight M pouch with baby N
A common question I get from families wanting to buy a baby carrier is whether the father and can share sizes. If you want to share carriers, get an adjustable carrier such as a wrap, a ring sling, a meitai or adjustable pouch. If you want to buy a regular pouch or a SaYa, you can share if father and mother are of similar sizes. But if the mom is 5’2″ and 120lbs while the dad is 5’8″ and 180lbs, you can’t comfortably share a sized carrier.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of using the right sized carrier. Your baby must be snug and not tight. If your carrier is too loose, there is a chance that baby will fall out!
3. Know thy carrier source and join a support group.
When you buy a carrier, it is important that you buy it from a reputable seller or manufacturer – someone who knows the essentials of babywearing safety. Don’t compromise and buy some department store carrier or some online knock-off just because it is cheap. There are some sellers or manufacturers who just copy popular products without understanding how these products really work. Plus, if you are unsure about using your carrier, it helps to join a support group. A babywearing association – Filipino Association of Babywearers was recently set-up and we have a Facebook page maintained by myself, Jen, Buding and Eliza. Since April 2011, babywearing events have been organized along with pocket carrier-specific meets. We still more meets and events scheduled so watch out for those and join. During our events, we usually have several manufacturers or sellers attend and do demos of their products. The demonstrations, including one on one instruction will definitely help you become a confident babywearer.