Thursday, April 18, 2013

“My baby does not like being in a sling!” Tips for parents that want to babywear

Some babies like being worn in a sling or other baby carrier only in specific situations or they just may not want to be in it all the time. This is normal! Your baby-wearing experience may also be very different from one child to the next. It’s also normal for babies to love sleeping in the sling but then want to be out of the sling once they awaken, especially as they get older. Here are some tips to try to help your baby enjoy baby wearing.

·       As your baby gets older she will have motor drives that push her to practice motor skills. This could explain some of her frustration while she is awake and in the sling. She wants to be on the ground practicing crawling, sitting up, pulling up, etc. Giving her enough time to practice these skills on the ground will probably help her enjoy sling time more.

·       Try different positions before you give up. It may be the hold that she is uncomfortable with. Many babies do not like the traditional cradle hold and may prefer a hold where they can move their arms and legs more freely. They are learning all about the world around them and so may want to face out at times so they can explore.

·       Overstimulation can occur when you are out and about, even if your baby is in the sling. If your baby is fussing while in the sling, pay attention to your surroundings and if it seems you r baby may be overwhelmed, turn her to face you to help  limit her visual stimulation.

·       As the weather turns warmer, think of how your baby is dressed in the sling. Is she too hot? That alone could make her fussy. It can take time for your baby to get used to a sling. Try it for a few weeks before giving up!

·       Make sure your baby feels comfortable and snug (and that the sling fits you well). If you are uncomfortable in the sling, your baby might be too.

·       Try different carriers. Don’t give up until you find one that works for you and your baby. Sometimes you can borrow different types from a friend or family member to “try before you buy” or find a store that lets customers practice using the sling with their babies.

·       Move, move, move! It’s pretty common that babies like you to be moving while they are in the sling.

·       Disengagement cues are not specific. If your baby gets upset in the sling, it may not be the sling that’s upsetting her. Your baby may be reacting to loud noises, strong smells or other things in her environment.  Sometimes changing the environment will help while other times taking her out of the sling is what she needs.

Baby wearing can be a great experience for both parent and baby. Hopefully the tips above will help make your baby more comfortable and happy in whatever carrier you choose!


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