Registry must-have: The baby sling

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So you're in the throes of creating your baby registry? Skip adding another set of tiny pajamas and include an item you're definitely going to need: A baby sling. In some parts of the world, the act of babywearing is as old as time. But here in the U.S., it's a relatively new phenomenon, with dozens of different styles flooding the marketplace.

What is it?

First off, babywearing is just as it sounds – the act of quite literally strapping your son or daughter to your chest as you go about your day. Baby carriers come in a myriad of models, ranging from flowing wraps with complicated ties to structured pieces that baby can easily slip into.

When would I use it?

If you're debating whether or not you'll actually use a baby sling or wrap, trust this new mom when I say, "Yes. Promise, you will." Sliding your little one into a body carrier is great for any time you need the use of both hands. Running to the grocery store? Pick up your food for the week with your little one strapped to your chest. Folding laundry? Typing up emails? Simply going for a stroll? Pop baby in the wrap and go on your way.

The benefits

Calming: Newborns want to feel snug and near to mom. Wearing your baby close to your heart allows your son or daughter to hear your heartbeat, smell your familiar scent and listen to your voice – all things he or she did while safe and sound in utero. All that being said, babywearing is an experience that allows your little one to feel safe and relaxed. You may find that wearing your newborn is the only way you two can survive a late-night screaming fest.

Exercise: No more lounging about on the couch while your little one naps on your chest. With your baby secured to your body, you have the freedom to do as you please – getting out into the sunshine, running errands and meeting up with friends. Wraps and slings allow you the freedom of movement – all the while having an adorable accessory buckled to your chest. A word of warning: Use common sense when babywearing. Any high impact movements such as jogging should be avoided. Don't cook at a hot stove and be extra careful with that cup of coffee!

Happiness: When delivery day arrives for you, you'll understand the need to keep baby calm and satisfied. Research conducted in the late 1980s showed that babies who were routinely worn by their mothers were far less likely to cry than babies who were never placed in a carrier. Being worn helps babies feel safe and secure – and allows mom to be more in tune with her little one's whims and wishes.

So, what do you think? Will you be adding a baby carrier or sing to your gift list? Share your thought in the comments below!

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