I thought babywearing looked weird and overly complicated at first. It seemed like lots of belts and buckles and chunky baby thighs being smushed. Plus, I had a baby who constantly wanted to be held — could a carrier really give her the same feeling?
It wasn’t until my daughter was a few weeks old that I started wearing her. I was trying to make some semblance of a dinner one night, and she did not want to be put down. I tried to cook one-handed and, well, just no. So I called my bestie for advice. “Why don’t you put her in that BabyBjörn thingie you got for your shower?” Genius.
So I did. And baby was happy to snuggle against me while I burned cooked dinner. After that moment, I wore my daughter up until I got to my second trimester with baby number two. Here are a few tips and tricks I learned along the way.
Nervous about babywearing or don’t know where to start? Check out Babywearing International of Greater Boston. They have regular meetings around town and can help find the right carrier for you. They’ll show you how to use it, so bring baby along. You can even borrow one for a few bucks to try it out before you buy!
Just because all your friends love the Björn or the Ergo or the MeiTai doesn’t mean you will. I registered for the Björn because all my friends told me to. It was great while the baby was small, but it didn’t provide the back support I needed once she got bigger. So I was off to find a new one. I ended up settling on the Ergo 360 and loved it.
Wrap baby up
Wraps get a bad rap. Maybe because they look so complicated? They can actually be super easy to use — if you get the right one. I got the Baby K’tan when my daughter was around two months old and wore it faithfully until she was around seven months. It took less than a minute to get her in there, and she loved facing out when she was old enough.
Just because your baby hates one carrier doesn’t mean you’re not destined to babywear. It could be the feel of the fabric, the way baby is positioned, or even the tightness of a buckle. Keep experimenting — and when in doubt, check YouTube for how-to videos, ask a knowledgeable friend, or go to a BWI meeting.
Use it often
Once I discovered the benefits of babywearing (I’m hands free! Baby is close! You can nurse discreetly! Gwen Stefani does it! My husband likes it, too!) I was sold. You can literally wear your baby anywhere while doing anything. Cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, grocery shopping — life becomes a bit more manageable, especially with a toddler in the mix.
Keep it simple
There are a lot of carrier options and upgrades. Teething pads, babywearing coats, covers, extensions, infant inserts, sun shades… you could end up spending a small fortune if you believe the hype. The only extra I got was the infant insert for my Ergo — for $5 at a yard sale. Borrow from a friend or buy used when you can.