by Carrie Lauth
What's the one baby gadget you would want if you were stranded on a desert island?
For a lot of Moms, it would be a baby sling. A baby sling is a soft cloth carrier that is designed to be "worn" on the Mother's body in order to keep the baby close. If you've never used one, consider some of the benefits of slinging babies.
Baby slings can take the place of many other gadgets
If you wear your baby in a sling, you can do without a baby swing, bouncy seat, play yard and other baby gadgets. Slings usually sell for around $40-$50 and will likely be in good enough shape to use for a second child, so they can save you a ton of money.
Baby slings are heaven sent if you have a fussy baby
If you have a fussy or colicky baby, a baby sling can absolutely be a sanity saver! Some babies calm down instantly and even fall asleep when in a sling. Parenting expert, author, Pediatrician and father of 8, Dr. William Sears, says that baby "wearing" helps organize the newborn so that his movements become more regular, his nervous system regulates, and he cries less. In fact, a 1986 study in Montreal reported that parents who wore their babies for 3 hours a day noticed that their babies cried and fussed 43 percent less than the group of parents who didn't change their baby carrying habits.
If your baby suffers from reflux, keeping him upright and next to your chest after feedings can help his condition and ease his suffering.
A sling makes caring for siblings easier
When baby is kept close, he's happier. You'll spend less time fussing over him. This is a good thing for your older child. You also have your hands free to care for your other children, free to read a story, give hugs and kisses, and hold hands while walking through the store. Keeping baby in a sling helps ease the transition your older toddler experiences when becoming a sibling.
A sling makes it possible for you to get things done
One of the challenges of new motherhood is figuring out how in the world to keep the house clean, make dinner, and even brush your teeth when a new little person wants to be near you all the time!
A sling is the perfect answer to this problem. As long as you're careful not to expose baby to any chemicals, he can happily watch you vacuum, pick up toys (older babies seem to enjoy the up and down motion), load the dishwasher, fold laundry, etc. And wearing your baby burns up extra calories too!
A sling helps you breastfeed in public
Once you get the hang of it, you can nurse your baby in her sling and no one will ever be the wiser. It's much more discreet than throwing a blanket over your shoulder. That practically screams "I'm nursing under here!"
A sling helps with toddler discipline
Toddlers want a bit of independence but their little legs get tired, and sometimes they will act up in public if they're fatigued. Putting your toddler in a sling on your hip or back helps her to calm down. Being close to you will center her and she may even fall asleep.
Around the world and probably since the beginning of time, Mothers have tied a piece of cloth around their bodies and used it to keep baby close. Some of these Moms don't even use diapers...but they wouldn't think of raising baby without a sling!
Carrie Lauth is a mom of 4 and the owner of Natural-Moms.com, a resource site for Moms doing things the natural way.
Copyright © Carrie Lauth. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.