Top 10 reasons to carry your baby/toddler

When you become a Mother, your hands become much needed that sometimes you wish you had a couple to help you out throughout the day. I personally used to carry my baby in a wrap for days out as I also had a toddler in tow and that really helped me in the early days. I was also breastfeeding and carrying my baby in a wrap was really helpful for me and also worked with my family.

Carrying your child in a wrap, sling or carrier – is an easy way of maintaining close contact with your baby but still getting on with your everyday tasks.

Whether those everyday tasks are having a cup of tea, putting out the washing, or simply going out for a walk, it doesn’t matter – what matters is that you are hands free and feeling happier as a consequence.

The choice of wraps and slings is so big now that without a bit of knowledge and support, choosing the right option can appear daunting. The experienced consultants at The Wrap show will have lots of unbiased advice about the wide choice of products to try before buying.

We share with you top 10 reasons to carry your baby/toddler and also let you know about The Wrap Show taking place on 6th May 2017 at The Royal Horticultural Halls, London.

Top 10 reasons to carry your baby/toddler

1. Convenience: Freedom! When we carry a baby in a sling, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a pushchair. A sling can block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby, and it allows for discreet nursing in public places. A sling can also double as a changing pad, blanket, or cushion when away from home.

2. Promoting physical development: When a baby rides in a sling attached to their mother, father or carer, they are in tune with the rhythm of their breathing, the sound of their heartbeat, and the movements – walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps babies to regulate their own physical responses and exercises their vestibular system, which controls balance. The sling is in essence a “transitional womb” for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control their bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not1. Mechanical swings and other holding devices do not provide these same benefits.

3. Babies worn in slings are happier: Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss2. In indigenous cultures where baby-wearing is the norm, babies often cry for only a few minutes a day – in contrast to Western babies, who often cry for hours each day. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and their parents. Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being

worn, but most babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.

4. Healthy: It can be challenging for new mothers, fathers and carers to find time to exercise, but if they carry their babies around with them for most of the day or go for a brisk walk they will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and “weightlifting”. A long walk in the sling is also an excellent way to help a tired but over-stimulated child fall asleep.

5. Security: Slings are usually associated with infants, but they can be very useful for toddlers as well; most slings accommodate children up to 35 or 40 pounds and beyond. The world can be a scary place for toddlers, who feel more confident when they can retreat to the security of the sling when they need to do so. Toddlers often become over-stimulated, and a ride in the sling helps to soothe and comfort them before (or after!) a “meltdown” occurs. It can be very helpful in places like the zoo, aquarium, or museum, where a small child in a stroller would miss many of the exhibits.

6. Communication: The more confidence we have in our parenting, the more we can relax and enjoy our children. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our baby’s cues successfully. When we hold our baby close in a sling, we become finely attuned to their gestures and facial expressions. Many babywearing parents report that they have never learned to distinguish their baby’s cries – because their babies are able to communicate effectively without crying! Every time a baby is able to let us know that they are hungry, bored or wet without having to cry, their trust in us is increased, their learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction enhances the mutual attachment between parents, carers, and children, and makes life more enjoyable for everyone.

7. Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers: Slings are a useful tool for every adult in a baby’s life. For fathers, grandparents, and carers wearing their babies in slings the baby is becoming used to their voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, while they are forging a strong attachment of their own. Fathers don’t have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents, and all other caregivers. 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!

8. Safe: Instead of running loose in crowded or dangerous places, a child in a sling is held safe and secure right next to your body. Slings also provide emotional safety when needed, so that children can venture into the world and become independent at their own pace.

9. Woven wraps are economical: Woven wraps cost far less than strollers, front-carriers, or backpacks. Prices start at around £40.

10. Baby-wearing is fun and stylish: Who doesn’t love to cuddle a precious little baby? And when your baby is older, having them in the sling makes conversations easier and allows you to observe their reactions. Your child will feel more a part of your life when she is in her sling, and you will find yourself becoming more and more enchanted with this special little person. Woven wraps are gorgeous, custom textiles that can be elegantly and beautifully tied. As new parents it can be hard to feel glamorous but wearing these stunning wraps can make you look and feel great!

What to look for in a woven wrap:

  1. Does it fit your height and build? Most brands come in different sizes; choose one that is right for you (consider your shoulder width, bust, and length of torso). A brand or size that is perfect for a friend may not be the best one for you.
  2. How are you wearing your child? With over 75 different ways to tie a woven wrap, an adult has a lot of choice on where to place the child’s weight on her body, whether that is on front, on hip, or on back.
  3. How do you find the perfect one? Woven wraps come in many different blends and colourways. Often, the advice for a first woven wrap is one that is easy to care for (all cotton for example) and is in a colourway that is pleasing for your eye. You can buy just one or some find having woven wraps in different lengths and blends can be useful tools as well.
  4. Why a woven wrap over other baby carrier choices? If you are looking for one carrier that will suit from newborn to toddlerhood, the woven wrap is the ideal choice as it can accommodate not only the child’s changing needs, but also the adult’s. With the variety of choice in colour, pattern, and blend, a wearing adult can choose one that fits with their own personality. For eco-conscious families, there is no plastic, often wraps are woven with sustainable fibres, and it is easy to reuse a woven wrap into other textiles after wearing is done. Finally, as it is tied specifically to the adult and baby, there is no adjusting between different adults in the household and getting the perfect fit is easy to do each time.

The Wrap Show sees over 18 workshops and 25 baby carrying experts all under one roof, sharing the best advice about carrying babies and children in wraps and slings. What’s more, there will be over 40 of the best baby textile brands and manufacturers available for prospective parents, mums, dads and carers to sample and purchase from.