Our daughter Evelyn was born in October 2014, and she was a little angel the first night she was born. The second night, however, all hell broke loose. She cried and cried and wanted to cluster feed all night. None of us got any sleep. The first week was much the same: lots of crying, and not much sleep. Naps during the day time were usually okay, but if she didn’t fall asleep feeding it was very difficult to get her to drift off. Enter, babywearing. We had a Moby wrap, and an Ergo with a newborn insert. We now still own both of those, as well as an Oscha woven wrap (cotton/linen blend) and a Woven Wings wrap (cotton/merino blend). All of these baby wearing things have helped us in a number of ways, and still do now that my daughter is 6 months old. When she was a newborn though they were more than just a convenience – they were lifesavers!
The Moby wrap was the one we used most when my daughter was a newborn. Safe and snug inside, she felt cozy and warm. Walking outside with her in the wrap was one of the easiest ways to get her to go to sleep. The motion of walking, combined with the cozy feeling being close to my body helped her drift off. There was still some crying, don’t get me wrong, but somehow a baby crying as we walked around an open field or down a forest track was nowhere near as insanity-inducing as when you are cooped up in a small room decked out with baby decorations and blackout curtains.
My husband preferred the Ergo carrier, as he found it sturdier and easier to get on. The Ergo is composed of buckles and straps, while the Moby required some origami-like wrapping that altogether overwhelmed him at times, particularly when Evelyn was already screaming and crying. We found that she would cry initially when we put her in the wrap or Ergo (probably because we didn’t know what we were doing and she could tell), but as soon as we stepped outside the crying would usually stop.
The baby carriers slowly became our go-to ‘never fail’ method for getting her to go to sleep if everything else wasn’t working. Not going down for her nap? Put her in the carrier. Not sure what’s wrong or why she’s crying? Put her in the carrier. She just got her vaccinations and she’s upset? Carrier. It wasn’t just a good way to soothe her though, it was also extremely convenient. Prior to her birth, we visited a lot of art galleries, museums, farmers markets, and things like street festivals regularly. Taking a pram to those places can sometimes be a nightmare, particularly if it’s very busy. Trying to weave a hefty pram through crowds is just no fun at all. With the baby carriers though, we could wear our baby and walk through the crowds just like normal people. She was close to our bodies, and protected from the busy throng of people. In the pram I could never see if she was okay or if she was awake or asleep. In the carrier, I could feel her body and see her face. When we went on a bus, or a train, or the airplane to visit my parents, we could wear her in the airport and while walking onto the plain. We could walk up and down the carriages of the train with her strapped tightly to us, and she was soothed by the motion of the wheels turning around.
Babywearing has been shown to reduce crying and assist with colicky babies, as well as numerous other benefits. A study done in 1986 showed that babies of 6 weeks of age who were provided with “supplemental carrying” cried up to 43% less overall, and 51% less in the evening hours. Premature babies are often put in “kangaroo care” where they are worn skin to skin. A 2008 Indian study showed that babies provided with “kangaroo mother care” (when compared to conventional methods of care) had higher weight gain, less incidence of hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and sepsis, and a greater likelihood of successful breastfeeding.
Aside from the medical benefits, the closeness to my daughter through baby wearing has been incomparable. I like looking down and seeing her little smiling face. I love the pretty woven wraps in different styles, thicknesses, and fabrics. I love having her close to me. And it sure as heck stopped her crying. That’s a win in my book.
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