Wearing Your Baby
By Kirsten Hawkins
If you're looking for the perfect gift for the parents-to-be, nothing comes close to the gift of a wearable baby. Years ago, the only way to take your baby along was in a stroller or pram, or to carry her in your arms. All that changed with the introduction of the soft baby carrier, a way to carry your baby and still leave your arms and hands free for other things.
Wearable babies are not a concept new to this culture. Native American women carried their babies on papoose boards on their backs, or tucked close against their bodies with a swath of deerskin. In many countries, babies are tucked into sling carriers - pleated lengths of cloth that tie over one shoulder and support the baby against the opposite hip. There's little doubt in anyone's mind that babies who are 'snugli'd' are happier and more comfortable with being put down when it's time to put them down.
Snugli, the name brand soft baby carrier that's now distributed by Evenflo, brought the concept of the wearable baby back into popularity about 25 years ago. That was just about the time that my oldest daughter was born, and the idea of having her close to my heart fit so perfectly with all my beliefs about raising children that I had to have one. They weren't easy to find at the time - and I ended up making one of my own, using a pattern that was passed from mother to mother in my La Leche League group. I can attest first-hand to the advantages of the wearable baby.
My Snugli was more than a way to carry my daughter. It was her soother. On afternoons when nothing would soothe her fussing, I'd tuck her into the Snugli where the warmth of my body and the rhythm of my movements calmed and reassured her. I learned to take advantage of the Snugli - I wore my baby while vacuuming the carpet, while walking to the store, while hiking through Purgatory Chasm. In winter, I wore her in her Snugli, cozy against my chest and simply buttoned my coat over the both of us together. When she was old enough to sit up by herself, I slipped it around to the back, and she rode it piggyback style - while her baby brother took her place in a new Snugli against my chest.
Snugli now makes a full range of soft and framed carriers for babies, to fit newborns to 18 months old. They're available in a variety of patterns and colors, in winter weight and summer weight, and with varying degrees of padding. You can buy a Snugli at any Toys R Us, Kmart, Walmart or any one of dozens of other stores. While it might not technically be baby clothes, a Snugli is easily the most important thing your baby can wear.
About The Author
Kirsten Hawkins is a baby and parenting expert specializing new mothers and single parent issues.