At first glance, we seem to have stumbled across a cult of babywearing mums. But there’s much more going on here than meets the eye.
At Sångbolaget in Enskede, south of Stockholm, a group of mums on maternity leave meet once a week to sing together. The babies come along too, but the choir’s repertoire is strictly Adult Contemporary and not tunes for tots. An audience of approving babies sways along to the music in baby carriers and slings.
The choir has a talented and dedicated leader in Maria Peters.
“Focus on yourselves now! Relax your stomach muscles. Lift your eyebrows and drop your chin.”
Vocal chords and bodies need a warm up before the choir attempts Prince’s Purple Rain.
The babies are all ears as soon as they hear the delightful harmonies. Little mouths gape, eyes open wide, and the babies exclaim and babble happily. They’re enchanted by the sound of their mums’ singing.
The members of the choir stand up or move around in time to the music. Some babies sit or lie on the floor. Many mums are babywearing using baby carriers or slings.
Babywearing – high feelgood factor and practical
In the breaks between Prince, singing in rounds and Veronica Maggio, we ask the mums for their take on babywearing.
“A baby carrier is fantastic to use here at the choir. I sing and sway around with Livia and she falls asleep surrounded by all the music and singing. The feelgood factor is high,” says Anna Edoff, who’s carrying her second child, daughter Livia aged three months, in a baby carrier.
Anna’s first daughter was born prematurely and had to spend some time on the neonatal unit where they used the kangaroo method, which involves the parents carrying their newborn baby skin-against-skin. This is more than just soothing for the baby – it also has a positive impact on their development.
Babywearing is something I do as much for my baby’s sake as my own.
“Being carried by me and my husband helped our daughter to thrive. Once we’d experienced the benefits of babywearing, there was no reason to stop. As she was so tiny when she was born, we used a sling at first, but later we switched to a baby carrier.”
Anna Edoff advises all new mums and dads to carry their baby as much as they and the baby want.
“Babywearing is something I do as much for my baby’s sake as my own. I love the wonderful feeling of closeness when I carry my child! It’s true what they say – the feelgood factor is high and it’s practical. As a parent, you keep your hands free and your baby is contented to be close to you.
“Using a baby carrier makes things much easier for me when I drop off and pick up my elder daughter from school. I don’t need to park or lock the pram, I can go straight in. It’s very practical.”
Lina Eidmark and Sophia Myhr are also wearing their babies in baby carriers. Lina reports that she was advised to invest in a good sling or baby carrier for her first child on the delivery ward.
The midwife explained that babies need closeness and want to be carried.
“The minute we tried to lay our newborn baby down, she cried. The midwife on the delivery ward comforted us; she explained that this was completely normal because babies need closeness and want to be carried.”
So Lina and her husband bought a baby carrier, and they soon noticed how practical and comfortable it was to carry their child close.
“And the baby is in seventh heaven. Babywearing has now become a habit we can’t shake,” laughs Lina and gazes adoringly at son Kasper, aged four months, in his baby carrier. “Our kids don’t like prams or strollers, but they love to be carried.”
Sophia Myhr nods in agreement, and reports that she and her husband have carried all their children.
“When nothing else has helped, babywearing has saved the day. It’s particularly useful when you have more than one child,” notes Sophia, who’s accompanied by her son Alfred, aged three months.
She advises all new parents to test carrying their baby in a baby carrier. It also pays to consider your babywearing needs carefully: how often you want to carry and whether you require extra support for your back, etc.
“There are so many different brands and models to choose between. I wasn’t a big fan of the first baby carrier we tried, so we switched to another brand,” says Sophia, before enthusiastically joining in Veronica Maggio’s Från och med nu.
Babywearing – the obvious choice
Humans have been babywearing since the dawn of time. There are many benefits of babywearing in a baby carrier or sling. Besides sheer practicality, it promotes the parent-child bond and helps the baby’s development in multiple ways.