When you’re the only one, babywearing comes to the rescue
Babywearing is not just a recent fad. We all saw pictures of Michael Phelps’s son, Boomer, being worn by mom Nicole Johnson at the Rio Olympics this summer. We’ve seen celebrity moms babywearing right and left. Chances are you see a mom wearing her baby or toddler at least once a week. They haven’t started a trend, they’re just continuing it; though newer to the Western world, moms have been wearing their children for centuries.
In anticipation of 2016 International Babywearing Week, here are 10 reasons why single moms should consider babywearing.
1. It’s fun! There are so many options for babywearing apparatuses, and they come in cute patterns and colors. It’s easy to get hooked on them, which would defeat the “saving money” point that comes later on, but purchasing a wrap or carrier in a fun design makes babywearing fun and stylish. And there are no gender rules here. Shop for the design you want; don’t think about blue or pink.
2. It’s easier than a stroller. There are so many places in which strollers just don’t work. I remember taking public transportation in Europe with a stroller. Never again. Wearing your baby keeps the baby close to you, keeps your hands free, and takes up so much less space. If the baby is on your front, you can easily wear a bag on your back or even on your side. And you can take the stairs or escalator without needing to find an elevator.
3. It’s crucial if you have multiple kids. Chasing a toddler around while having a newborn is rough, especially when the toddler stops wanting to be in the stroller and wants to “walk.” That’s when babywearing saved me. I could put the toddler on my back and push the baby in the stroller. Or put the baby in the carrier and hold the toddler’s hand. Or, if I were really talented like some babywearing moms I’ve seen, I could wear both kids. Even after my babies had grown, I kept my carrier and would wear other kids in it when babysitting.
4. It’s a form of built-in exercise. Wearing a baby is like walking around with a 10- to 20–pound backpack. You’re going to burn more calories just because. You’ll also be freer to move about and do those active excursions such as hiking. Babywearing also strengthens muscles and promotes good posture when the carrier distributes weight properly. Although you probably yearn for the time when you can hit the gym alone for a little self-care, this is a great alternative for now.
5. It makes nursing easier. For Solo Moms who are nursing on the go, a carrier makes life easier. It’s not exactly “hands-free nursing,” but it is better than sitting down and taking 15 to 20 minutes out of a trip or an experience to feed your baby. As babies get older and have head control, it’s easier to finagle nursing while babywearing, so maybe one hand is occupied with nursing and the other is free. As an added bonus, the carrier or wrap can serve as a cover.
6. It saves you money. Most wraps and carriers are cheaper than a nice stroller. And, if you really do your research, one carrier easily can last you through the baby’s entire wearing years, and for multiple babies. The resale market for wraps and carriers is great as well. As a bonus, local babywearing groups often have a lending closet where you can borrow a wrap and try out many styles.
7. It’s conducive to more cuddles. Cuddles make us just as happy as they do babies. When your baby is close to you all the time, you are able to satisfy that desire to hold your baby while still getting some things accomplished. The baby’s head is close enough to kiss frequently, and the baby smells oh so good. Cuddles are usually enough to make everything else melt away.
8. It protects your baby. As we approach cold and flu season, keeping your baby close to you and away from other people is preferable. When babies are in a wrap or carrier, it makes it nearly impossible for other people to touch them. You can protect them from sneezes, coughs, and unwanted touches. It also helps prevent overstimulation, which can result in misery for you and your baby.
9. It facilitates sleep. Babies tend to sleep longer and better when worn. I’m quite guilty of putting my baby in the carrier so he falls asleep and then transferring him to his crib, but the times I wear him throughout his nap proves to be a good sleep for him. And when babies sleep better during the day, they avoid the overtiredness that keeps them up most of the night.
10. It promotes growth and development. Babies who are worn tend to develop and learn more when being worn. They are often at eye level with adults from a very early age and are interacting more because of that. Babies are content when comfortable, and being worn is a naturally comfortable state for them. They also spend time watching and learning, even from a young age.
Babywearing is a great way to bond with your child and to make this Solo Mom life a little easier. For more information on babywearing and to connect with other babywearing moms, check out Babywearing International, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote and spread the word about the trend.
Rebecca Alwine is a freelance writer, army wife, and mother of three. Her writing experience includes military-family topics, research pieces, guest blogging, and much more. She’s a contributing writer for ARMY magazine and a regular contributor to several online publications, including the Homefront United Network, PCSgrades, and ESME. She also has been published in Ms. magazine and the Atlantic. You can follow her online at www.whatrebeccathinks.com and on Twitter and Instagram.