The Newborn Necessity You Didn’t Know You Needed
In the groggy, cooped-up days of early parenthood, you might find yourself carrying baby everywhere you go. (Cradling with one arm while pouring your coffee? Yup. Bouncing baby while brushing your teeth? You bet.) Even with every swing, bouncer and vibrating bassinet on the market, sometimes there’s just no replacement for being snuggled up in your arms. But eventually, those arms need a rest. Enter: the baby carrier—preferably one you can use from birth, that doesn’t require an advanced degree in engineering to put on (WAY too tired for that). That’s why we love the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini. It’s designed to safely cradle newborns, with super-soft fabric options and sturdy, adjustable supports for their wobbly head and neck. And because the entire front section easily unfastens, you can even lift your wee snoozer out of the carrier without waking them. Need more reasons this game-changing baby gear is a must-have? Read on for how a carrier can help during the newborn stage—and beyond.
1. It calms a crier.
We all know babies cry, but did you know that up to 19 percent of infants cry for at least three hours a day, three days a week, for at least three weeks? It’s called colic, and it can result in some heavy stress for new parents. While there’s no magic cure for colic (or run-of-the-mill crying, for that matter), the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that walking baby while they’re nestled in a carrier can actually help soothe colic. Apparently, the gentle motion coupled with close body contact reassures and comforts baby (not to mention reminds them of the womb), which can quiet the tears.
2. It makes multitasking easier.
Getting anything done can be pretty difficult when your hands are otherwise occupied 24/7. So the fact that you can securely strap baby onto your chest from the get-go is life-changing. Thanks to the Baby Carrier Mini, your hands are free to open the door for your diaper delivery, fill up your water bottle, feed the dog, or, um, scroll through the ’gram (No judgment here!). And you can do all of it while still giving the newest member of your family all the closeness they need.
3. It reduces reflux.
About half of all babies experience reflux during their first three months. Reflux occurs when baby spits up frequently after a feed, resulting in a spattering of milky projectiles. If baby doesn’t appear to be uncomfortable and continues gaining weight, there’s really nothing to worry about. But, with the help of the machine-washable Baby Carrier Mini, there is something you can do to help offset the spewing. (And if you’re still fearing a little spit up, you can strap on the Baby Carrier Mini detachable bib for some extra insurance.) It turns out that keeping baby upright (read: not reclined in your arms or a sling) for 30 minutes after breast or bottle-feeding helps keep baby’s meal where it belongs, which is to say, not all over your shoulder. Just be sure to skip the instinctive baby bounce once you nestle them in the carrier.
4. It promotes bonding.
Think about those starry-eyed moments when baby is first placed on your chest after birth. All that skin-to-skin contact creates a boost in oxytocin (the bonding hormone) and releases beta-endorphins, more hormones that work to amp up the pleasure you get from interacting with your little one. But the bonding benefits of kangaroo care don’t end there—experts recommend continuing the practice for at least an hour a day for the first three months. If the thought of all that holding makes your arms ache, a newborn-friendly carrier makes it easy to keep the hormones flowing, hands-free.
5. It keeps germy hands at bay.
Now more than ever, new parents want to keep baby close and away from strangers. There’s really no better way to do this than with a carrier that snuggles baby right up to your chest and away from the germ-filled masses. (Bonus: it makes it way less awkward to politely say “no” when people ask to hold your newborn. And there’s no need to constantly remind strangers not to reach into a stroller.) Plus, fabric infant carriers, like the Baby Carrier Mini, can be easily washed and sanitized. And since the carrier frees up your own hands, it’s just as easy to wash and dry them as often as needed too.
6. It offers sweet freedom.
Getting out of the house is key to feeling like, well, you. But sometimes it’s legit hard to do that with a newborn, even for just a short outing. Not only are there mental hurdles to clear (what happens if baby fusses, or has a diaper blowout, or needs a feed?), but physical ones as well—like learning to navigate the world with a clunky stroller. Make running out for a quick errand a bit easier by trading the cumbersome stroller for a baby carrier. When you take away the anxiety of squeezing through tight store aisles or bumping down the steps to the coffee shop, the world opens up to you again.
7. It encourages infant learning.
Fun fact: When babies are held close enough to see your face, it leads to frequent verbal and nonverbal interaction, which helps with speech and social development. So it’s no wonder that babywearing can enhance infant learning. With the super easy-to-adjust (aka easy-to-share) Baby Carrier Mini, Mom, Dad or other caregivers can also take turns as baby’s teacher. And once baby is 5 months, you can use the facing out position so they can experience a whole new perspective on the world around them.
8. It ups your step count.
Real talk: “Working out” during the early (and even sometimes mid- to late-) postpartum period can be a bit of a pipe dream for many. What is attainable and really good for you? Simply strapping baby on and taking a short walk. The fresh air, Vitamin D and light exercise is beneficial for both body and mind. In fact, going for three 10-minute walks daily can help boost energy, relieve stress and possibly help prevent postpartum depression, notes the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. A small study in the Journal of Sleep Research even found that babies who spent time outdoors slept better at night than their cooped-up counterparts.
9. It helps with breastfeeding.
Seriously. A 2018 report in the journal Nutrients notes that using baby carriers seems to positively influence breastfeeding behavior among moms. For one, newborns really have a nose for breast milk, so when you snuggle baby to your chest in a carrier, they’re primed to seek out the source and ask for a feed when hungry. At the same time, moms who baby-carry appear to be super attuned to responding to hunger cues.
BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini, $100 The flexible design makes it simple to adjust, put on by yourself, and wear baby in three different positions (depending on their age). Plus the lightweight material makes it easy to grab and go anytime.