Baby slings: Wearing your baby

My two best friends have young babies and carry them around much of the day in baby slings. They love "wearing" their babies and think this is best for both mom and baby. I am seven months pregnant and I am wondering if it really is okay to carry your baby around so much.


Gayle Peterson

Gayle Peterson, PhD, is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She is a clinical member of the Association... Read more

Many women today enjoy wearing their babies. Their babies may nurse in the sling, nap in the sling and interact with their mom, all snug within the sling.

It is not a new idea to carry your baby on your body. Mothers throughout time have attached their babies to their bodies while gathering food, cooking and planting in the fields. Neanderthals, a close ancestor to modern humans, are thought to have carried their babies and young children on their backs continuously throughout the day, nursing them to the age of five years. Papooses were used for this purpose by certain Native American tribes, too.

Modern day baby backpacks and slings allow moms to go about their daily activities, while attending to their young babies, who enjoy being close to them. Babies also gain security from being close to their mother's familiar voice and movements, as well as her heartbeat; not unlike the experience inside the womb.

Certainly, carrying your baby close to you in this way is by no means harmful. But, is it right for every mother and baby? Every mother must develop the relationship that is right for both her and her child. Touching, holding and caressing your baby are all critical to your baby's health and development. Indeed babies in orphanages are reported to have died from lack of touch and soothing.

There is nothing to worry about should you decide that "wearing" your baby is not right for you! It doesn’t mean that you aren’t a "good" mother if you prefer to put your baby down while cooing, touching and talking to her. Commit yourself to learning about your baby is and what kind of interaction she enjoys. Some babies are initially more visual, others tune themselves into sensations and others turn to sounds above other stimulus. All babies benefit from developing all sensory channels, whether you carry them on your body or roll them in a stroller.

Pay attention to what is right for you. What is important is the mother-child fit. You and your baby must adapt and adjust to one another to be happy. "Good" mothering comes from a variety of different approaches. Find the one that is right for you!

Looking for a way to comfort your fussy baby? Check out the Cozy Rider Infant Carrier in the iVillage Market. This dual-position, easy-to-use baby carrier lets you choose whether to carry your baby facing you, or facing the outside world.

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