HomeAdvocacyDoula Digest: Going Hands Free!

Doula Digest: Going Hands Free!

By Naomi Starsiak

Newborn babies are awesome. They are so tiny, smell good and are so soft – and oh-my-gosh! I just want to hold babies all the time. However, I also need to do things like, eating, picking up the house, and writing this article, which is why I’m glad baby-wearing, is making a comeback.

Babywearing is a way of securing your baby to you while you work and it’s most often seen in old paintings or images of third world countries as a little bundle on a mother’s back. In addition to having your hands free to do things, there are several other benefits to baby-wearing.

In a front carry, which is most appropriate for newborns and smaller infants, adults have exposure to that “new baby smell” which is really pheromones released by the baby which encourage bonding; help the baby to regulate body temperature (something a baby can’t do yet); and have easy access for quick kisses (another bonding aid). Babies that are held next to the body in a carrier tend to cry less; have better growth patterns, and sleep longer (it’s totally okay for a baby to sleep in the carrier).

As babies get bigger they can transition to a back carry, which has the same benefits as a front carry (well, it’s harder to give kisses) plus it can keep inquisitive and active toddlers contained.

There are many different styles of carriers available today, with traditional woven wraps, soft cloth carriers, and ring slings being the most popular. Each style has a different feel and different ways of holding the baby to you. Thankfully there is a great resource in the Central NY Chapter of Baby-Wearing International. They meet on the 3rd Saturday of the month at different locations in the Syracuse area. This group has a “lending library” and realistic practice dolls so pregnant moms can try out carriers ahead of time. You can find more information about their meetings at facebook.com/BWIofCNY.

Naomi Starsiak is a birth and postpartum doula, a natural birth consultant, and the co-owner of A Peaceful Birth doula & childbirth service. You can find her on Facebook at facebook.com/APeacefulBirthDoulas. Have a question? E-mail it to Naomi at nestarsiak@gmail.com.


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