Babywearing : A Definition of Terms

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What is Babywearing (BW’ing)? It’s real simple: you carry your baby!

Babies are born with a need to be held close. They cry when this need is not met. Mothers are given the desire to hold their babies close (with the help of wonderful hormones called progesterone, oxytocin and prolactin) at birth. Their arms would cramp up terribly, though, if they did this all day every day, so mothers over the years, have found ways to help them keep their baby close.

The easiest thing to do has been to take a piece of cloth and tie your baby to your body. Now the mothers hands can be free to do whatever she needs to do and baby can be held securely close to its Mama. A win-win situation has just been created!




What’s That Bump?

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Maybe you’ve seen a Mama wearing her baby before. You’ve seen her walking around on the street, at parks, on trains, or even in someone’s home. They’re always noticeable because of the lumpy bump, the extra smallish head sticking out and the feet dangling down. These Mamas may look a bit strange to the average American Mom, but they’re in good company with the Mamas of antiquity.




A Brief History

Wearing your baby may seem like a new concept, but it’s probably as old as having babies is. Hieroglyphs can be found on ancient Egyptian walls of babies being carried and tied to their mothers in some way. Mothers in Asian countries also have been documented, in times past, to wear their babies. It’s not known who came up with the idea, but we can trace the modern-day baby carrier back to its origins.




A Man Without Honor

The modern-day baby carrier was developed by a man named Dr. Rayner Garner. You’ve heard of him, right? No? Well, how about this name, Dr. Sears? Ahh, that might ring a bell. Even though Dr. Garner was instrumental in creating a babywearing stir in America, he’s rarely given credit for it. Most people associate babywearing with attachment parenting since all babywearers are attached parents (due to the attached baby) and Dr. Sears is THE name in AP.

The story goes that Dr. Garner made a cloth like carrier to help his wife practice the principles found in the book The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff. He originally just made a knot in some cloth to be worn over the shoulder. Later he added rings, an origami-like way of folding the material so that it produces a hammock-like effect and thus the ring sling was born!

People were amazed to see this carrier and clamored to have one made for them. Included in this list of would-be wearers was the great Wally Amos (you know, Famous Amos?)! When it was time for Dr. Rayner to expand his sling making business, Wally played an integral part in getting him there. The rest is history!





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