By Mihir Joshi
Can I be honest with you? When your baby is born, I mean like just born, you would think that a connect with him or her should be instant…but it isn’t that immediate. What I mean is, in the first week or even the first month, they look all wrinkled up and nothing like you or your wife and while theoretically you know that you made them and thus must love them, it doesn’t happen instantly.
Ladies, I’m not saying this is true about you. Mothers are built differently and you probably don’t feel this way because you’ve felt the baby grow inside you for nine months. However, I can pretty much guarantee that most men who are having their first child are NOT prepared for what they see when the baby is just born. It takes time. I mean sure, our sense of responsibility kicks in but we don’t yet feel the bond immediately. The first few days are a massive change and just dealing with the numerous challenges that a new baby brings takes up everything.
One way of feeling close to your baby is to simply hold them close to you. It may seem simple, but it is absolutely magical. Mothers obviously to do this most of the time because the baby is feeding constantly. For dads, however, it’s a bit tricky finding this me-time with the newborn. Well, here’s something that really worked for me – babywearing!
Some of you may have heard about this term thanks to Piers Morgan who shamed Daniel Craig for it but let me tell you a bit more about babywearing and why Bond knows best.
A definition I read some place said, “Babywearing is the act of carrying a baby close to you (on your body) in a carrier or piece of cloth. Baby carriers are designed to make carrying baby easy, comfortable and ergonomic. They support babies of all ages just like how you would in your arms.”
And by the way, there are many different carriers available in the market to suit babies from the newborn stage right through to toddlerhood. We got our first carrier around the time Neil was about five weeks old and we’ve not looked back ever since!
So, now you know the definition but how does it really help? Here are some of the benefits of babywearing that we personally experienced.
-Babywearing mimics life in the womb, thereby helping your little one adjust to the outside world faster. For Neil, this meant instantly calming down and relaxing, irrespective of whether Neha was carrying him or me.
-Newborns feed better when worn, which helps increase the mother’s milk supply.
-When a baby is worn in an upright position, it can help soothe colic. And we experienced that in a big way. Neil used to cry incessantly at times and would be quite gassy and putting him in our carrier would calm him instantly.
-You get to have your hands free essentially because the carrier does all the heavy lifting for you. Hence doing things, especially parenting, if you have more than one child, becomes a lot easier. But in my case, it was just being able to do simple stuff, like eating or reading a book, while making him sleep.
-Babywearing helps in easy and discreet breastfeeding in public. This is especially useful when you’re travelling out of home, going to the mall or just going to meet friends or relatives.
-Carried babies cry less, sleep better and develop faster. I have no doubt about this. Neil could be wailing up a storm but the moment he’s in his carrier, it’s lights out. And when we step outside and are walking on the road my curious little monkey gets to see everywhere and it is just a joy to watch his head turn right and left as he devours every little thing his eyes can see.
-Babywearing helps parents, grandparents, and other caregivers bond with the baby better. This is most important for fathers since they not only get to bond with the baby but also get to give their partner some much deserved and needed rest and recuperation time.
Every time I’ve had Neil with me in the carrier, it has felt amazing. I love wearing him and walking around. He goes off to sleep in five minutes and then stays on me for as long as two hours at a time till he wakes up for a feed. Those few hours of holding him close to my chest and feeling his little heart beat next to mine are truly special. And of course, the fact that I get to pepper his head with a thousand kisses just makes it perfect!
(The writer is a singer-his debut album Mumbai Blues won the GIMA Award for Best Rock Album in 2015-hosts his own talk show-The MJ Show and does live Hindi commentary for WWE. Follow him on twitter @mihirjoshimusic)