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My stretchy wrap sling was a firm wardrobe favourite worn pretty much every day, for most of the day, for twelve months.  Someone commented that my baby had been cuddled for 12 months straight and it certainly felt that way!

I didn’t always love the stretchy wrap. In fact, I was gifted one with my first baby but found it so tricky to get on that off it went in favour of a buckle carrier.

Fast forward to the birth of my second son and I found myself with another gifted wrap. This time I decided that I wasn’t going to be defeated by this long piece of fabric. I ended up replacing that sling with a different brand as the material didn’t fair too well after a lot of washes. This new sling was fantastic and out of the 3 stretchy wraps I have owned, this is by far the best. My baby was worn in it until 18 months of age! Read my post on How To Use A Stretchy Wrap where you can also access my YouTube Tutorial.

This wrap is the Boba stretchy wrap which you can buy here:

10 benefits of babywearing

I really enjoy babywearing and want to share with you the positive impacts it can have:

 

  • Studies suggest that babies that are held may cry less. I certainly felt this to be the case in my experience, particularly as all 3 of my babies had reflux and preferred to be upright
  • Positive effect on social development as baby is held high at a natural level to be engaged in conversation. I would often notice my baby observing my eyes and mouth as I talked with others
  • Studies suggest it may be good for bonding and have a positive effect on your mental health as the ‘feel good hormone’ oxytocin is released and other hormonal responses which may bring about the calming effect of baby contact. Babywearing is also great for dads who often feel less confident in being able to settle baby as well as mum.
  • Keep yourself handsfree to do tasks such as cleaning, preparing food (carefully!), school runs, helping your other children, etc
  • Good for tone and counts as tummy time. Especially great if your baby dislikes lying on their tummy
healthy-hip-positioning-when-babywearing
  • May have a positive effect on cognitive development as more time is spent in a quiet alert state to learn from the environment around them
  • Comfort and security from being held. The closeness simulates the warmth, cosiness and motion of when they were in the womb, making it perfect for the “fourth trimester” (this is a term used to refer to a 3 month adjustment period after birth during which your baby is getting used to life outside the womb).
  • Can breastfeed in a sling (hurrah!) although this did take me some time to master but was a game-changer once I did as it was significantly easier to simultaneously complete tasks or do the school run
  • Easy to get about. Popping out to the shops? Using public transport? No need to push a buggy or carry one up and down the train station stairs.
  • Less time lying on back so may help to avoid positional plagiocephaly (flat head)
  • If you also have a toddler for which you want to use a buggy, then you can use a single buggy and sling rather than a double buggy

Dispelling the myths of babywearing

 

There is a lot of misinformation about babywearing. Babywearing has been practiced safely for centuries around the world. Examples of some comments I have responded to include:

X “If you wear your baby all the time they will always cling to you”

X “What about your poor back?”

X “If you don’t leave them to cry, they will never learn to self-settle”

X “Their back isn’t straight enough in a sling”

None of these are true. Note that a baby’s spine has a natural C-curvature and the more adult S- shape you may be familiar with is developed as baby grows and will not be influenced negatively by using a sling.

5 reasons to choose a stretchy wrap for your baby

  • Lightweight fabric. Wrap it on once in the morning and you can leave it on over your clothes all day. Just pop baby in and out when you need to. You can move it to the side to easily breastfeed out of the sling, or breastfeed in the sling. I used to sometimes just position one of the pieces over the upper part of the breast for a make-shift feeding cover.
  • Baby is positioned cuddled into mum, in a natural upright carrying position
  • The hips are held in a good ergonomic position for hip health
  • It’s comfortable for long wearing times. The weight of my baby feels far better distributed for carry and no buckles or straps that may dig in.
  • Easy to wash

Which stretchy wrap should you get?

I had such a good experience with the Boba stretchy wrap that this is the wrap that I always recommend. It’s a great quality fabric which lasted many washes. Soft, yet strong and sturdy. It has a 4-way stretch, which means comfortable for baby and comfortable for you. The advised weight limit is 35 lb in a Love Your Baby Hold and although people often think stretchy wraps are for only <6 months, my baby was well supported in it up to 18 months. My previous wrap was not comfortable past 6 months so it is important that you choose one that will stand the test of time and comfort.

Finally, and this bit is really important – please make sure you are aware of the TICKS rules. You should continue to check that you are happy with your baby in the sling/carrier as you wear your baby throughout the day. Positions change or you may find that the sling could be slacker than you first thought when you tied it. Always remember that the sling provides layers of fabric over the baby so make sure they are not overdressed. 

These are the TICKS rules, used with permission of the UK Sling Consortium: TICKS reference http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/

 

TICKS-rules-by-the-uk-sling-consortium

I have also written a post called “Babywearing accessories to keep baby warm” so that you can enjoy the benefits of babywearing all year round.

 

 I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you found this post useful, please share!

References

1) Anisfeld E, Casper V, Nozyce M, Cunningham N. Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment. Child Dev. 1990 Oct;61(5):1617-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1990.tb02888.x. PMID: 2245751.

2) Hunziker UA, Barr RG. Increased carrying reduces infant crying: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 1986 May;77(5):641-8. PMID: 3517799.

3) http://babyslingsafety.co.uk  

4) https://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/baby-wearing/

5) Lonstein JS. Regulation of anxiety during the postpartum period. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2007 Aug-Sep;28(2-3):115-41. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2007.05.002. Epub 2007 Jun 2. PMID: 17604088.

6) Miller RR, Bedwell S, Laubach LL, Tow J. What Is the Experience of Babywearing a NICU Graduate? Nurs Womens Health. 2020 Jun;24(3):175-184. doi: 10.1016/j.nwh.2020.04.003. Epub 2020 May 8. PMID: 32389582. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32389582/

7) Siddicky SF, Bumpass DB, Krishnan A, Tackett SA, McCarthy RE, Mannen EM. Positioning and baby devices impact infant spinal muscle activity. J Biomech. 2020 May 7;104:109741. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2020.109741. Epub 2020 Mar 9. PMID: 32178849; PMCID: PMC7188598.

8) Williams LR, Turner PR. Infant carrying as a tool to promote secure attachments in young mothers: Comparing intervention and control infants during the still-face paradigm. Infant Behav Dev. 2020 Feb;58:101413. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.101413. Epub 2019 Dec 24. PMID: 31877392. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31877392/

MedicMum101
MedicMum101

Amal is a paediatrician and mum/step-mum to four wonderful children. She started MedicMum101 to share tips and experiences on all things motherhood. She enjoys writing about parenting, health, and wellness, as well as other life musings from time to time. When she is not working, writing, or running after the kids, you can often find her working on a new piece of art.

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