Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A new accessory to wear: your baby!

Me wearing my baby in a night street market. She was sleeping despite the noise around.

Yesterday I asked my husband whether we should buy a new twin stroller, as my daughter is still a baby herself when our second child comes in November. He immediately scratched out my suggestion. “Didn’t we get a big stroller for a gift, but we didn’t use it? We can just use that one.” I reminded him flat out that it was too big that once we put it into the back of the car, there was no room for anything else. That was the main reason why I bought…. “The baby carrier! We can just carry her around like we did Aliah until baby gets too heavy. Then Aliah would have outgrown the stroller and we can use it for the baby.” He quickly agreed and the discussion was closed.

I bought the carrier when my daughter was around 6 to 7 months. The big stroller was really too big and bulky to lug around, and she was too small to put into an umbrella stroller, which I think is really meant for older babies. So I surfed around the Net to find some information and the variety of styles and models there are out there. Turns out, there is a LOT of stuff about babywearing. And actually, it’s nothing new. Indonesian women in carry their children in slings of fabric since, I don’t know, the dawn of time, maybe. Aliah’s previous babysitter, who is actually my sister’s maid, carried her in an unsewn batik fabric which she slipped and knotted over her shoulder. Aliah would be cooing from inside the sling and fall asleep contentedly, who is definitely a fussy sleeper. It was amazing! Later I found out that wearing your baby is very beneficial for fussy babies, among many other advantages. Read them on below (from TheBabyWearer.com):

Why babywearing is good for you:-

  • You can go on doing whatever it is you’re doing (excluding any dangerous activities, of course) e.g. cooking, cleaning, walking at the mall, you get the idea, while providing a stimulating learning environment for your baby, keeping him or her happy and close to you.
  • Breastfeed hands-free in discreet wherever you are. Some babies feed much better while the mother’s moving around and having the food source close at all times. I haven’t mastered this trick though. Remember I said that my daughter bites and clamps? Yeah.
  • You can insert some exercise by walking wearing your baby on your body. All that bouncing is sure to lull her to sleep, and the extra weight burns more calories for you. Perfect!
    When we go out and my daughter gets sleepy and cranky, I strap her on and she takes around 5-10 minutes to settle down and doze off.
  • No need to carry any strollers into the car, bus or up a staircase, which is why I bought my carrier in the first place.

Why babywearing is good for your baby:-

  • Babies cry less. Because they are close to you at all times, they don’t see the need to bawl. Research has shown that babies who are carried cry (on average) 43% less overall and 54% less in the evenings. In cultures where babies are carried almost continuously, babies cry much less than those in non-carrying cultures.
  • Good for baby’s mental development, as they spend more time in a “quiet, alert state” when carried, which is the ideal state for learning. When carried, your baby sees the world from your view point, instead of the ceiling above his crib or people’s knees from a stroller. This extra stimulation benefits the brain development.
  • Good for baby’s emotional development, where babies are quickly able to develop a sense of security and trust when carried. They are more likely to be securely attached to their care-givers and often become independent at an earlier age.
  • Good for baby’s physical development, as babies thrive better when they are in close contact. Your heartbeat, breathing, voice and warmth are familiar surroundings which help newborns adapt faster to life outside the womb.
  • Good for babies for whose mums are depressed. I personally think it’s good for mums to have their babies so close to you at all times. Babies who are not held need more verbal and physical interaction and eye contact, just to be reassured that you’re there. Carrying your baby is a great way to connect with her without the “burden” of having to interact. Of course, she’ll be right under your nose whenever you feel like kissing and snuggling. Very convenient.

Which one and what style?

They are quite a number of slings, carriers, pouches and wraparounds in the market, just to name a few. They come with a range of prices, from dirt cheap to break-your-bank expensive. For the crafty mamas, make one yourself! It isn’t that difficult and there are many resources on the Net, step-by-step how-to’s, even instruction videos on Youtube. Just to start you off on your search, here’s a comparison chart of different types of carriers, its known advantages and disadvantages.

Courtesy of http://blogs.babycenter.com/momformation/

I bought myself a Kozy Carrier from Peekaroobaby. I like the fact that it’s pretty versatile that you can carry your baby from birth to toddlerhood, on your front, side or back. My favourite position (and my daughter’s too) is the front carry with my daughter facing me. I received a lot of comments while wearing her such as how cute she looks in the carrier, how cute the carrier is, how comfortably content she is, even questions of “Did you make it yourself?” and “where did you buy this?”

One woman who saw me even called her pregnant friend to look at my carrier and said “You should buy this.” Once I was cooking and carried her on my back, and she didn’t make a sound throughout. Only when I’ve finished did I notice that she’s fallen asleep drooling down my back. I would’ve still carried her, if she still wanted to. But since she started walking, she didn’t like to be carried so much like she did before. And she’s gotten much heavier, so I didn’t complain either.

So go on and wear your baby. I guarantee it’ll be your best accessory ever. You won’t need any more necklaces or earrings or bracelets. I think.

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