DEAR MR. DAD: My 2-month-old wants to be held all day long. Everyone I know is telling me that she’ll grow up spoiled if I don’t put her down. Am I spoiling her?

Answer:
It’s absolutely impossible to spoil a baby that young. Studies have shown that children who are carried more, actually cry and fuss 40-50 percent less than those who aren’t carried as much. Every time you pick your baby up, you’re telling her that you’re there for her. That bit of knowledge will come in handy a few months from now, when she starts crawling. Knowing you’re there to come back to will make it easier for her to do the kind of exploring and mischief-making that will eventually become independence.

That said, carrying your baby around all the time is going to be hard on your arms and your back. Fortunately, there is an alternative: give babywearing a try. Baby carriers, from slings to frontpacks, are a great way for parents to snuggle with their new babies.

The most popular frontpack is the Baby Bjorn, which allows your baby to face in or out and is adjustable so both parents can use it. But a lot of new parents find that their babies quickly outgrow the packs – even before they reach the recommended weight limit – and continuing to use them is uncomfortable for baby and wearer.

A more comfortable alternative is an Ergo Baby Carrier or the Beco Butterfly. Both use straps, buckles and a defined seat for the baby. The main difference between these and the Baby Bjorn is the comfort level for the wearer. These carriers have a padded waist belt to distribute the bulk of the child’s weight to your hips – kind of like a well-made camping backpack does. Plus, these carriers can handle babies up to 40 or 45 pounds, so there’s a good chance that your child will outgrow the desire to be carried long before she outgrows the pack.

Another option is a sling. A pouch sling is a tube of fabric that you fold in half, slip over your shoulder like a Miss America sash, putting the baby into the pocket made by the two layers. The most challenging aspect of a pouch is the fit. If you and your spouse aren’t pretty much the same size, you won’t be able to share the sling and one of you will be miserable wearing it. Brands like Hotslings and Peanut Shell are widely available in stores and online. Ring slings (which have rings that you thread the fabric through before putting it over your shoulder) are similar to their tubular cousins, but it’s easier for two different-sized people to share.

There are literally hundreds of options, so whatever your size and preference, there’s something out there for you. And they’re widely available online at places such as www.attachedtobaby.com, or in stores.


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