Hold me close never let me go

Why don’t newborns understand that sometimes we need to put some washing on, make some lunch (eat some Ben and Jerry’s) and generally do something that requires both hands?

The theory goes that the first three months after birth are really akin to a final trimester of pregnancy. Human babies have huge heads in comparison to our pelvis and therefore, much as they’d like to hang out in the womb for a bit longer, they need to be born at 9 months. Dr Harvey Karp, an American paediatrician, talks a good deal about this in his parenting books while the (also American) duo Sears and Sears have been saying similar things for years.

The essence of this thinking is that keeping your baby close to you, so that she feels safe and secure, helps with the transition from the womb to the outside world and makes babies calmer and more settled.

While attachment parenting and Harp’s theories may not be for everyone, a sling is pretty handy for the first months at least (if not for longer). If your baby is unsettled, won’t sleep unless being held, or you just can’t bear to put her down for five minutes a sling can allow you freedom to walk around and use your arms while your baby is snuggled into you – most probably in the first couple of months fast asleep. It’s also handy if you can’t bear the idea of taking a pram on public transport and many allow you to breastfeed in public while your baby (and breast) are hidden away inside the sling.

If you’re interested ‘baby wearing’ it’s probably worth seeing if you can borrow one or two to try in the first couple of weeks as it may take a while to find the perfect one for you – which could prove expensive if you buy before you try. When you’re ready to leave the house you might want to go to a slingmeet where you can talk to other parents and try out a range of slings.

Or, you can always give it a try with something of a similar weight to a newborn to see how it feels…  (cat blurred for anonymity)

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