Carrying Your Baby What’s available? Most baby supply stores carry an overwhelming array of options for holding your baby including seats, strollers, slings and many cloth carriers. Remember that, especially in the early days, your baby will probably prefer being held. A stroller likely can wait, but a good carrier to hold your baby close will help from the beginning. Not only do carriers make it easier to tend to the baby as you work around the house, but they also promote bonding for fathers and other care providers. Research Demonstrates Clear Benefits of Baby Carrying In many countries, carrying babies close (babywearing) is the cultural norm, especially when women are expected to return to their family duties quickly after the birth. In industrialized countries, parents are beginning to understand the benefits of babywearing, both for themselves and their babies. Carried babies cry less. One study showed that babies who were carried cried an average of 43% less overall, and 54% less during evening hours (Hunziker., & Barr, 1986). In cultures where babies are continuously worn, they cry much less than in non-babywearing cultures (Barr, 1990; Lee, 1994). Carrying helps to ease a newborn’s transition out of the womb. Newborns are used to a tight, snug spot with the sound of a heartbeat nearby. A baby carrier holds the newborn close to all the familiar sounds and rhythms of mom, which helps him adapt to life outside the womb. (Ludingon-Hoe & Swinth, 1996). Carrying is good for a baby’s emotional development. Research has shown that carried babies are more likely to be securely attached to their caregiver(s) (Aisnfield et al., 1990) and often become independent earlier (Whiting, 1981). There have been a number of studies recently on the increase in positional molding of the infant’s head, caused by too much time resting in the supine (on the back) position. Although it is always important to put babies to sleep on their backs, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that parents limit the amount of time babies spend in car seats… when they are not actually riding in a vehicle. The same goes for other types of infant seats, such as swings, carriers or bouncy seats, where the back or side of your baby’s head rests against them. (Persing, James, Swanson, and Kattwinkel, 2003) How do I get started? When you are starting out, babywearing can feel awkward. GET HELP! Check out Triangle Babywears, (see below) or La Leche League meetings (see brochure in packet). Local retailers and web resources for baby carriers: The Red Hen, 201 Carver St. Carrboro, NC, 942-4420, theredhen.com, carriers by Moby Wrap & Ergo, nursing accessories, bras & clothes, “Babylegs,” Fuzzi Bunz diapers and high-end consignment items. Women’s Birth & Wellness Center Boutique. 930 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Suite 202, Chapel Hill, NC. 537-7055, www.ncbirthcenter.com carriers by Hotsling, Myawrap, Ergo, Moby Wrap & mei tais, various cloth diapers & covers by Motherease, Kissaloves, Bummis, Prorap & Bum Genius, as well as nursing bras & accessories. The Babywearer: everything you ever wanted to know about babywearing: www.thebabywearer.com. Trianglebabywearers.com: Local support group and information resource. Jennifer DeWolf: Local distributor for Maya Wrap carriers; 321-8407. Stacy Gunter of Natural Beginnings: Local distributor for carriers by Ergo, Hotslings, Slinglings, Peonies, and other carriers including mei tais; [email protected]; 257-3766. Brittany Walls: Local distributor for Ergo & various mei tais, pouches, slings. www.cobaltcarriers.com 845-0242 References: Anisfeld,E., Casper, V., Nozyce, M., and Cunningham, N. (1990). Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment. Child Development 61, 1617-1627. Barr, R.G. (1990). The Early Crying Paradox: A Modest Proposal. Human Nature 1, 355-389. Hunziker, U.A., and Barr, R.G. (1986). Increased carrying reduces infant crying: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77, 641-8. Lee, K. (1994). The crying pattern of Koren infants and related factors. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 36, 601-7. Ludington-Hoe, S.M., and Swinth, J.Y. (1996). Developmental aspects of kangaroo care. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing 25, 691-703. Persing, AJ et al (2003) Prevention and Management of Positional Skull Deformities in Infants. Pediatrics 112, 199-202.