08 September 2008

My Little Marsupial

This may be my last post for a while as I am due to give birth to my 2nd little girly bird this Friday!

On Saturday, my friends Janet, Suzanne, and Emily threw me a beautiful baby shower complete with loads of organic-y (is that a word?) goodness. One of the items I am most excited about trying out is my New Native Sling that I received from Suzanne.

I am a big advocate of "babywearing". Babywearing is the practice of carrying baby in a soft carrier close to our body. Cultures around the world have worn their babies in handmade slings and have passed on the tradition from generation to generation. The benefits of babywearing are endless but here are just a few (according to pediatrician and parenting guru, Dr. Sears):

1) It is natural! Your baby has just spent 9 months in the warmth, safety and security of your womb. It only makes sense that having your baby close to you once s/he is born would be beneficial also! The baby continues to hear your heartbeat, feel the rhythm of your breathing, and hear your familiar voice. What a better way to transition your child to life outside the womb?

2) Babies worn close to their parents cry less - up to 43% less! In the Western World where babywearing is not as common, it is acceptable and even often advised to let babies cry. In the majority of cultures throughout the world, babies spend the majority of their time in the arms of their mother or a relative.

3) Sling babies learn more. Since the majority of their time is not spent crying, sling babies are in a state being alert and aware - taking in their surroundings to a greater extent. Photo by Louise Batalla-Duran

4) Sling babies are "humanized" earlier. Babies are intimately involved in their caregiver's world. Their proximity to their caregiver allows them the opportunity to experience what their parent is experiencing - human interaction!

5) Sling babies are smarter. The exposure to a variety of experiences and stimuli allows the baby's brain to develop and grow exponentially.

6) Babywearing enhances speech development. Sling babies are more attentive - focusing in on adult conversations.

7) While breastfeeding is a great bonding experience for mothers, babywearing allows fathers, grandparents, siblings, and babysitters to develop strong bonds with the child.

8) It is convenient! You can breastfeed discretely in a sling. You can have your hands free and still go about your daily activities.

9) My friend Suzanne even commented that she liked that her daughter, Kitely, was "protected" from the general public when she was in her sling. She liked that she could go out and about without strangers approaching her wanting to touch and hold the baby.

10) Last but certainly not least, there are numerous medical benefits. Babies with colic and acid reflux benefit from the more upright position of babywearing by reducing gas bubbles and aiding in digestion. In fact, many sociologists and anthropologists have found in cultures where children are primarily carried, colic is non-existent!

Now I swore by my Baby Bjorn which I used every day with my first daughter, Fiona. Fi loved to snuggle up close to me and hang out like a starfish as I rushed about my busy day. I had tried a sling but never felt like she was secure and always worried whether or not she could breathe in there all tuck up like a pea in a pod. I had resisted the idea of trying a sling with #2 until Suzanne raved about the New Native version. She even went so far as to call it her "life saver". So I thought, with a recommendation like that, I have to give it a try!

I have to admit I did a little research before I received the sling. I googled the sling and instantly fell in love with the sleek look and small pocket-like appearance of the New Native version. (Apparently this version is called a "sash style carrier" or "pouch".) I like also that there are no clips or rings that might slip loose - very reassuring that the sling is all one piece! Another great thing is that the company makes an organic cotton version so I can rest assured that little one won't be exposed to any toxic chemicals as she rests. Needless to say, the advanced research just got me more excited to receive the gift! I was delighted to receive the organic khaki version and can not wait to try it out when Tilly is born! I will keep you posted...

Until I post my review, if you are interested in baby wearing, check out these links:

* Babywearer.com
* Babywearing.com
* Wearsthebaby.com
* Wikipedia's entry
* Peppermint.com's site on choosing a carrier

~Cheers, Kimberly