BENEFITS OF WEARING YOUR BABY
Babies have a deep need for the warmth and touch that comes with close body contact. Baby-wearing enhances the essential bonding or attachment between parent and child. A sling-carried baby feels secure snuggled close to their parent and soothed by the rhythm of the adult's movements, heartbeat, voice and breathing.
Parents wearing their child can easily read and respond to their baby's needs and find they interact more with their baby. In traditional cultures, where babies are up "in-arms" for most of the day and are only put down for sleeping, it is not considered normal for a baby to cry a lot.
Wearing your baby in a sling means that you can carry on with daily activities requiring free hands while your baby stays cosy and calmed by familiar sounds and sensations remembered from the womb. Babies can enjoy the view and interact with others up where the action is or they can enjoy the privacy and security their sling offers to breastfeed or sleep. Slings are an arm and back saver when soothing a fussing baby and in situations like airports, using public transport, bush walking, gardening, housekeeping or the movies and any place where prams are unsuitable.
Babies frequently worn in slings fuss less, feed more often, sleep better, and are more contented. Baby-wearing is particularly helpful for parents of a high needs baby including those suffering from colic, reflux and failure-to-thrive.
A newborn feeding in the reclining position with Mum hands-free.
BREASTFEEDING MADE EASY
The closeness of baby-wearing enables Mum to read and respond to baby's feeding cues quickly. Slings also allow breastfeeding on the move making life easier for mothers of marathon feeders such as a baby having a growth spurt. Problem suckers, tense babies and back archers tend to feed better in the sling because of the relaxing effect that being carried has on their entire physiology.
Breastfeeding while using a sling can take a little patience to master but with practice becomes second nature. There is no need to remove your child from your Earthsling to breastfeed even if your child is in the back or hip carry. Simply slide your child sling-and-all around your body so that your baby is positioned in front of the breast you want to nurse from.
While small young babies may need to be raised with one arm in order to reach the breast. The sling fabric can be pulled right up for discreet public feeding and this is also handy for babies who are easily distracted from their feeds.
An older baby may prefer to breastfeed in the hip carry.
DADS, GRANDMAS AND OTHER CARE GIVERS By Sam Pearson
With Mum's generally being the primary care giver and naturally the only one who can breastfeed baby-wearing is a wonderful bonding tool for babies and Dads. When my babies were little my husband and I each had our own Earthslings. My husband would carry our babies in the evenings while I took a bath or got a bit of housework done. Like me he appreciated being able to give me a break and nurture our baby while having his hands free to attend to our older child's needs as well as his own. The sling saved both our arms at times when pacing the halls trying to settle our young babies. Since I carried them a lot during the week when we went out on weekends my husband did the majority of the baby wearing.
When our babies were older they would get very excited to see Daddy arrive home from work and they always wanted to be held. Using his Earthsling meant that he was able to hold them for as long as they wanted which was sometimes quite a while. When away from the home as a family their preference was to have Daddy baby-wear them. As well as the novelty of being worn by Dad rather than Mum as usual I think they enjoyed his extra height. I always enjoyed observing my kids being so close with their father.
Our youngest child is four years old and the Earthsling is just as useful now. One of her favourite things to do is to be carried in her Earthsling while Dad waters the garden. They've done this together for years so it's become a special ritual of theirs on watering days. We have a large garden and without the Earthsling he could never carry her for that long.
Grandparents and other caregivers can make good use of slings, too. My lovely sister took my newborn baby for long walks when I was ill and recovering and my baby felt safe and sound with her in the familiar space of her Earthsling.