In searching for ways to green and simplify my families life, I often look to indigenous people’s practices. One such practice is baby wearing, in which parents can avoid the plastic strollers that fill our landfills and create a happy, bonded baby in the process. In fact, the Sacagawea dollar features this famous native woman carrying her child on her back. Many products are available for baby wearing, including some that are 100% organic.
A common complaint of new parents is that they can’t get anything done. Baby wearing is the solution! Newborns are use to being inside their mother’s body and feeling the rhythms of the mother’s heart, breathing, walking, etc. Baby wearing allows the infant to still feel these rhythms by firmly holding the baby against the mother’s/father’s body. By wearing my babies, I have been able to cook dinner, do the dishes, teach preschool and art, rototill, hike, grocery shop, etc.
My favorite baby wearing device for both of my children is the Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier. There are many other cheaper made versions of this front style carrier; however, the imitations do not hold up to the comfort of the Baby Bjorn. Using the Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier, newborns are snuggled close facing their mother’s chest. As the baby gets older, they can be placed facing outward in the Baby Bjorn. The straps on the Baby Bjorn are adjustable to fit the growing baby and the various caregivers that will use it. In fact, after carrying two infants in our Baby Bjorn, I have grown quite attached to it and have saved it for my sister. I could not have survived my children’s infancy without the Baby Bjorn!
Once my babies outgrew the Baby Bjorn, I switched to the backpack by Kelty. These backpacks are expensive (thank goodness for grandparents), but essential if you plan to hike with your child. Of course, I used mine for more than hiking but taught preschool and art, mowed the lawn, shopped, etc. while keeping my growing child happy. The backpack also comes with a shade, which is great for keeping the sun off your child. With the shade on, it looks like your baby is in its own little tent.
I have tried several slings for baby wearing, including the 100% organic one by New Native Baby, which perhaps is the most green option in baby wearing. I have never been comfortable with slings, as I do not feel like my baby is securely held by the sling. However, I was given the Maya Wrap for my second child, and it felt more secure with the adjusting rings. Maya Wraps are made of the most beautiful fabrics and are adjustable. They also work well to support your baby on your hip, once he/she has the ability to sit up. A good friend of mine uses her Maya Wrap constantly, including getting her son to sleep for his nap.
The Ergo Carrier is another great baby wearing product that a friend of mine recommended when I started having back trouble. This carrier adjusts from a front pack to a back pack as the child grows, so it lasts longer than the Baby Bjorn and may be the only baby wearing device you will need. I don’t have personal experience with this product, as I couldn’t justify the expense for my second child when I already had other baby wearing products; however, it has received rave review!
Each person is different in what they feel comfortable with for their baby and their body, and some women with large chests may have trouble with front carriers. Unfortunately, many of these products are expensive, so it is hard to try them out. If you can borrow one from a friend and wear it for an hour, you will know if it is the right product for you. Many of these products are available in resale shops, as they are durable and sustainable; however, it is important to check for recalls before purchasing. Of course, it is essential that whatever baby carrier you decide upon, it must be easily washed!
Links to articles about baby wearing:
Eco Child’s Play