If you want your baby to cry less, try a baby carrier.
A much-cited study published in the journal Pediatrics found that baby-wearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying significantly – 43 percent overall and 51 percent at night. A more profound reason to wear a baby, though, might be the bond that it promotes between caregiver and child.
Baby wearing International, a nonprofit group that promotes baby-wearing through more than 80 chapters in the United States, says that baby-wearing makes for healthier premature babies and more-confident parents. Baby-wearing is beneficial for Dad, as well, adds pediatrician Lisa Lewis, saying it “supports Dad as he develops confidence to care for his new little one.” There are many types to choose from – wraps, slings, mei-tais, soft-structured carriers or frame backpacks – and even variety within the same brand, so go to a store to try one on.
Ensure, too, that any carrier has been third-party tested to conform with mandatory industry standards set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
For a lot of parents, baby-wearing is so comforting for both parties that there’s some nostalgia once those days pass. At what other time in parenting can you simply bend your neck to kiss your baby? “I remember trekking in a snowstorm eight months pregnant with a my 2-year-old son strapped to my back,” says Amy Morrison, founder of the parenting site Pregnant Chicken. “It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when your kids are tethered to you.”
After road-testing over 20 carriers to date for her job as chief technologist and director of engineering for New York’s Good Housekeeping – and for her job as a mother – Rachel Rothman has a number of brands she recommends based on parent preferences. When her first child was a newborn, though, she says, she loved the Solly Baby Wrap ($65-$75), “though it took several video tutorials to nail it!” It stretches to fit different body types and can be worn in different ways depending on the baby’s size, too.
Morrison, who lives in Toronto, says she was “a big fan of carriers,” adding that “they free up your hands and both my kids loved the closeness.” She recommends Ergobaby’s new Omni 360 carrier ($180). It doesn’t require a separate infant insert, so you can use it from birth to toddler, or from 7 to 45 pounds. “I also love that it can be adjusted to fit many body types,” she says, “so if your partner is large or petite, you can use this carrier comfortably. You can carry your baby on your chest facing in, on your chest facing out, on your hip or on your back – it’s a very flexible carrier.”Sometimes classic is best. Jessica Harts horn, the entertainment editor for Parents magazine, used the Baby Born Baby Carrier One ($128.62-$189.95), the “original structured baby carrier,” with her kids. More money gets more structure in a carrier and more bells and whistles, but Harts horn is a big advocate for not buying the most expensive item every time you purchase a baby product.