Why you should use an eco baby carrier
In 1733, William Kent invented the first pram for the Duke of Devonshire, and eight out of ten British parents are still using it today. But what did parents use before Kent came along? And is it better for your baby?
The history of baby carriers
Across hundreds of cultures and thousands of years, parents have used baby carriers to cart around their offspring, one of the most widespread methods being the baby sling. Dr Timothy Taylor dates the invention of the sling to at least 2.2 million years ago, an invention which allowed the more slowly developing prehistoric children to survive which apparently allowed for increased brain size.
Women, particularly working women, would carry their babies on their front or backs as they did chores and helped provide for their families, and in western countries they (at least, those not in the upper classes) did so until the invention of the pram and the Victorian idea of hands-off parenting. Baby carrying is still popular in less developed countries, but within the past few decades it has started to see a resurgence in the western world.
What are the benefits of using a baby carrier?
Using a baby carrier has endless benefits for you and your baby. Wearing your baby keeps your hands free for other activities (such as taking care of older children) and allows more freedom of movement as you’re not fussing with a pram. You can breast feed more easily and discretely, and having your baby close not only encourages milk production, but the motion of your body helps baby bring up wind. You become more attuned to your baby’s needs through their facial expressions, you talk to them more, and it encourages bonding with both mum and dad.
By being worn, your baby feels more emotionally secure as it is surrounded by your voice,
heartbeat and scent, which means less crying and fussing. Wearing promotes brain development and “quiet alertness”, which is apparently the ideal state for learning, which is good as your baby is level with how adults see the world (and not level with, as one website horribly pointed out, car exhaust fumes as they would be in most prams). More brain stimulation also means a decreased need to keep your child occupied with toys, and your movements allow your baby to be comforted more easily.
Where can I buy a carrier?
Below are baby slings and carriers all made of organic materials:
Natural Nursery—sells the popular Ergo baby carrier, a variety of baby slings including the Moby Organic baby wrap in a variety of colours, as well as accessories
Green Jelly—has the Moby baby wrap and the Close Baby Carrier, which is ethically made in Turkey using organic cotton and safe dyes
Little Possums—while they sell a variety of slings and carriers, they also have a list of products made with organic materials
Love to Be Natural—their organic slings and carriers are made in a variety of shapes, sizes,
colours and patterns
Sources: Mother and baby, Independent, Aware Parenting, The Ecologist, Babyworld
Photography: Hugabub @Flickr