Babywearing is a wonderful way to bond with your child. It also enables you to have one, or two hands free — which is a hot commodity when it comes to being a mother. Just think of all the “mommy time” you can squeeze in while carrying your baby. It’s also a cost-effective way to transport your child — much more affordable than strollers and car seats. But there are also some disadvantages. Here are 12 things no tells you about baby-wearing:
1. It can be hot.
Really hot. Especially in the summer. Your body heat combines with your baby’s body heat and together you end up one hot, sticky mess. If it’s hot, be sure to choose a lightweight carrier and even consider bringing an umbrella along for shade.
2. Spit-up and vomit.
Babies can be messy. And when they spit up in the carrier, there’s no place for it to go. Be prepared. Arm yourself with wipes or a spit-up rag. The good news is that most baby carriers are machine washable, so just toss your carrier in the laundry and you’ll be good to go.
3. No hot drinks.
If you love a piping hot coffee or tea while you go for your morning walk, think again. Hot beverages are a no-no as they could spill on your baby’s head. Opt for iced coffee or tea and you won’t have anything to worry about.
4. Bending over is a challenge.
Understatement! It’s hard enough to bend over with the extra baby weight you’ve gained, but doing so while wearing a baby carrier is pretty close to impossible. Just be sure not to drop your keys or cell phone. And if you do, here’s hoping there’s someone else around to help you pick them up.
5. It can be difficult.
Some slings and wraps can be difficult to work. There are knots, rings, clasps and belts. Don’t try to wing it. Sit down and read the directions. Many baby carriers also provide an online tutorial. Watch it. It’s the best way to ensure you are carrying your baby properly.
6. It can be risky.
Carrying your baby is always going to be riskier than using a stroller. What if you trip or twist an ankle? Try to keep your hands free on the off-chance you take a tumble. The more you use your carrier, the more comfortable you will become. Did you know baby-wearing can help with your baby’s physical development? It’s true. So don’t shy away from it — just take the time to perfect it.
7. Back pain.
Some people will hunch over. Others will arch their backs. Both can make for soreness at the end of the day. If you wear your baby properly, it shouldn’t hurt at all. Stop from time to time to check in on your posture. Are you aligned properly? Is your pelvis tucked under? Is your baby in the right position? If so, there shouldn’t be any pain.
8. It can be hard to determine the right size.
Every carrier is different. Be sure you read the specifications carefully and get the proper size. You may need to measure. Also, if you will be sharing it with a caregiver, make sure you get a carrier that can adjust to fit both of you.
9. Ring slings can hurt your shoulder.
When using a sling, the weight is not evenly distributed across both shoulders. Over time, this can cause pain and discomfort. If this occurs, look into a carrier that spreads the weight equally across both shoulders. There are many options.
10. No place to hang your diaper bag.
If you’re used to carrying a large bag, you’re in trouble. Try to scale down. Make it easier on yourself and carry just the basics. Leave the rest at home.
11. Too many choices.
There are a ton of baby carriers on the market and it’s hard to know which one is best for you. But with a little research and the advice of a few mommy friends, you can narrow the field and find a few that suit you best. After all, who said you have to have just one?
12. Your baby might not like it.
You can go out and spend a lot of money on the nicest carrier in town, but your baby might not like it. If she cries the entire time, take a week off and try again. Or try another type of carrier. But stick with it because baby-wearing offers emotional benefits for both mom and baby. The majority of babies love being carried close to their loved ones and will nod off almost instantly. Those are the disadvantages to wearing your baby, but there are also plenty of advantages. It’s great exercise. Just think of all those extra calories you’ll be burning. Go ahead and eat that donut — you’re walking for two! And baby-wearing makes breastfeeding easier. Plus there’s something very special about having your baby within arm’s reach. You bond with your child in a whole new way. Look out for the hazards, but don’t let them scare you off. Baby-wearing is one of the greatest joys of being a mom, so get out and enjoy it.
Written by Susan Brightbill Dahlseid