My Opinion and Review of the CuddleBug Baby Wrap and Baby Carrier
Why I Considered a Baby Wrap
In 2012 when I had my first daughter, aside from the first few weeks of round-the-clock feedings, maternity leave was a blissful experience of nursing, naps, and Netflix. Those 12 weeks went by incredibly fast—I did not want to go back to work, and I could have happily made that my new lifestyle.
In 2015 I had my second child, another girl. By that time, my older daughter was three years old. Since my maternity leave would be unpaid, and she was not yet in school, I decided to keep her home from daycare for the entire 12 weeks. Needless to say, this experience was nothing like the first maternity leave—there was no napping (for me, and never for them at the same time), and there was not so much Netflix, as I had put a limit on the TV. That meant that my older daughter was active, always needing something and requiring my attention. With the new baby also needing me around the clock, I was exhausted from either carrying her with me like a football around the house, or rolling her around in a bassinet.
That is when I started investigating baby carriers and baby wraps. I had tried the Ergobaby wrap once before when I stayed with my sister who had one, but to be honest, it 1) did not fit in my budget at the time and 2) it confused me a little bit. I didn’t want to have to fumble around with any snaps or straps with my fragile newborn baby inside the thing. I decided, then, to look for a baby wrap that was more customizable to activities like breastfeeding, and that was a lightweight material with no straps that could irritate either one of us.
Now that I look back, I could have definitely used this baby wrap with my first daughter. During those days, I didn’t realize that it was possible to be paying attention to other things besides my newborn—I didn’t fully realize what it is to multitask until I had more than one kid! But I still could have been a little more productive around the house and been less of a slave to the couch had I owned a baby carrier then, too.
The Benefits of Baby Wearing
Moms (and dads) have been carrying babies in slings attached to them for hundreds of years. Most times, this has been out of necessity and convenience, not out of a preference in parenting style or a concern for the psychological well-being of the child. Recently, however, a lot more studies have focused on the effects that baby wearing can have on a baby.
I know there are huge advocates of baby wearing out there. Baby wearing is strongly associated with attachment parenting, which I also neither agree nor disagree with. I advocate it when it works and is convenient for baby and mom, and don’t necessarily believe it’s “the only way.”
Below are just a few claimed benefits of baby wearing:
- Increased oxytocin levels in Mom – Oxytocin is “the love hormone.” Researchers have found that parents who spend more time carrying their baby, and being close to them in general, release more oxytocin, and become even more enamored with their newborn child. This can aid in forming a strong bond from the beginning between Mom and baby.
- Lower chance of plagiocephaly, or “flat head” – Because of the concern over SIDS in the last few decades, babies are usually laid down on their back. When they are newborns and can’t even sit up yet, this means they are spending the majority of their time in this position. This can sometimes result in the back of their head developing a flat spot. Spending more time in a baby wrap can decrease flat head syndrome. Babies can sleep in a baby carrier snuggled against Mom, with their head supported by fabric instead of a hard mattress.
- Improved cognitive development – Babies that spend more time in a sling or wrap accompany that parent everywhere they go. They are a part of their conversations and movements, and can hear their heartbeat. This closeness has been shown to give baby an advantage when it comes to language and social development.
CuddleBug Baby Wrap
The CuddleBug baby wrap is a versatile baby wearing product. It is essentially a 5-yard-long piece of stretchy fabric that is about 1.5 feet wide. The fabric is made out of cotton and spandex, and is thin, not heavy. It works by stretching around the body and shoulders to create a strong baby sling that can support kids up to 35 pounds.
According to the product page, the wrap can double as a sling carrier, a nursing cover, and a postpartum belt. I personally have not used it in any way other than a baby carrier, but believe it would work just fine for all of those purposes as well.
Here is what I like and don’t like about the CuddleBug baby wrap:
• Versatility – You can learn different ways to wear your baby facing you, facing forward, on your hip, or in a cradled position.
• Comfort—The wrap has no irritating straps or snaps, just fabric.
• Color options – There are 9 colors available.
• Compatibility with breastfeeding – I’ve never been able to maneuver my baby in other wraps into a comfortable breastfeeding position. With this one it’s easy.
• Support – the fabric can support a newborn’s head snugly against Mom, which many other baby carriers don’t do.
• Needs readjusting – After a while it can slouch and needs to be re-wrapped.
• Best if put on before leaving the house – It’s a little awkward to wrap in public since the fabric is so long.
A Word About Safety
Be sensible when using a baby carrier or wrap. Although you are technically hands-free, there are still some things you shouldn’t do while wearing baby. Don’t ride in a car with baby in the wrap. Don’t cook next to a hot stove. Make sure baby is always secured and snug. For newborns, make sure they are in a position where their chin is not touching their chest, and their back and neck are supported.
Be careful when leaning over. Always put your hand behind baby’s head to support them if you have to lean over for something. Don’t do heavy, jolting exercise with baby in the carrier.
How to Tie a Baby Wrap
Why I Recommend the CuddleBug Baby Wrap
Overall, this wrap saved me a lot of hassle when I had more than one child to take care of. I most appreciated it on those long winter days when I was on maternity leave at home with both girls all day. I could now give my older daughter the attention she needed. I didn’t have to wait until the baby was down for a nap or done breastfeeding. This eased the tension in my household quite a bit, since my oldest was still getting over the shock of not being the only child anymore.
Once I had gone back to work, I used the baby wrap a lot in evenings and on weekends. I never felt comfortable cooking with the baby inside the wrap unless I was preparing something easy that didn’t involve knives or the stove. I did do just about everything else with her in the wrap, though. Sometimes I remember using it a lot include: while folding laundry, working on my laptop (this was a lifesaver!), during bed time routines for my oldest, and playing board games with my family.
Initially, I did use the wrap quite a bit when out and about. What I would do instead was pre-wrap the fabric around my body while still at home, and easily transition baby from car seat to the wrap once we got to our destination. Since it was winter in Milwaukee when my baby was a newborn, I would sometimes have my husband pass the baby to me from the backseat, and get her all bundled inside both the wrap and my jacket before heading out into the cold.
Even though my little one is nearing 2 years old, I still use this wrap from time to time. I work in a school and am off with my children in the summer months, and she is still quite a mommy’s girl. On days when she wants me to carry her all the time, I bring out the CuddleBug wrap.
I decided on the grey color because a lot of my clothes are different shades of grey and black. If you are looking to make a statement with your baby carrier, brighter colors like pink, red, and yellow are available, and they even have patterns with polka dots.
If you decide to buy this product I hope it brings a sense of calm to your life like it did for me. Being able to do things hands-free while having a newborn baby is a wonderful thing!