10 Benefits to Babywearing
Babywearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or in another form of carrier. Babywearing has been practiced for centuries around the world. In the industrialized world, babywearing has gained popularity in recent decades and continues to do so.
The most common positions for babywearing include:
The front carry with the baby facing in toward you. With this style of babywearing, you and your baby are always facing each other, which is nice for making eye contact and interacting.
The front carry with the baby facing out — they’ll face the way you’re facing. That’s great for older babies who are always curious about the world around them.
The hip carry so your baby will be at one side.
The back carry — the baby’s chest will always be against your back and when you walk, your baby will see what you’ll see.
Babywearing can be a great thing for both you and your baby, but you need to pay attention to certain safety precautions when you’re doing it. You also need to regularly check that your babywearing gear is in good working condition. Never attempt to rig up broken down elements of a carrier or sling. It is best to discard and replace than to take the chance of injury.
Social and Cognitive Development
📷 If you’re wearing your baby rather than having them sit in a pack ‘n play, stroller or car seat, they have a chance to be more socially engaged with both you and the world around them. They will hear you talking with others and even hear you talking to yourself at times and that will help with developing their language skills. The different settings they will experience will stimulate their senses. They will get the sensation of walking when you’re moving around or if you stop suddenly or turn around, they will feel those sensations, too. Those changes of scenery and movement can be thrilling and developmentally stimulating for a baby.
Helps Prevent Flat Head Syndrome
📷 When a baby stays on their back too much, they run the risk of developing a flat head, which is known as plagiocephaly. Plagiocephaly is preventable if you hold or wear your baby instead of letting them stay on their backs all the time in cribs, baby swings and pack ‘n plays. Plagiocephaly is an oblique deformity of the skull, with greater development of the anterior part on one side and the posterior part on the other. In severe cases, a helmet is required to be worn to correct.
Helps Prevent Less Separation Anxiety and Crying
📷 Wearing your baby for the first few months can result in 43% less crying as a whole within a day and 51% less in those precious evening hours when you’re also trying to get some sleep. Getting more sleep can keep your immune system working at an optimal level, which means you’ll be less likely to get sick, worn out and even depressed. When baby is close to you, they feel safe and secure thus reducing the sense of anxiousness and the stress of being separated from you. In return, you experience the same sense of safety and well-being of having your baby close to you at all times.
Help Prevent Colic
📷 Colic is intense, both for parents and their babies. Any parent who has dealt with a colicky baby knows that feeling of helplessness and desperation you get when your baby starts crying and nothing seems to make it stop. Babywearing can reduce and ease the severity of colic. The exact reason isn’t completely proven or known, but experts believe it may be the additional human touch that makes a colicky baby cry less. Plus, when babies spend more time in an upright position in carriers than they would if they were on their backs in a pack ‘n play or in a swing, that additional vertical time may help keep their stomach contents down and help expel any excess gas.
Help Preemie Development
📷 Human touch is a wonderful and powerful thing. It has the ability to help babies feel loved and calmer. When you have a preemie, it can help them gain weight and thrive. By feeling your skin against theirs, your preemie can reap a host of benefits that will help as they struggle to catch up to the development of full-term babies. They will gain extra weight because of babywearing and they will also sleep better. Benefits of skin to skin reduces cortisol and somatostatin in babies, allowing for better absorption and digestion of nutrients, while decreasing gastrointestinal problems. With a reduction of these hormones, baby’s bodies preserve brown fat (the healthy fat babies are born with), helping to maintain birth weight and keep a warm body temperature. As a result, baby’s body does not have to burn its own fat stores to stay warm, resulting in better weight gain. A preemie can then just focus on using that energy to further develop instead.
Free Up Your Hands
📷 Parents learn pretty quickly to become multi-taskers. If there is a way to do three things at once, we will find a way to do it. When we have a newborn on our hands, it can be overwhelming trying to get everything done that needs to be done in a day. Of course, our first concern is taking care of baby. However, babywearing can help us get other things done that we need to check off our to-do list.
Easier and More Convenient Breastfeeding
📷 By utilizing a baby carrier, your baby will already be cuddled against your chest so they will already be in close proximity to the right spot to breastfeed. You will have some built-in privacy and convenience whether you’re feeding your baby in a restaurant or at a friend’s house. Some women want the privacy even though it is no longer a must to cover up. In recent years, it has finally became legal to openly breastfeed in all 50 states here in the U.S.
Form a Closer Bond
📷 As a mom, you bonded with your baby while your baby was still in your womb. To keep that close connection going, babywearing is a great option because it allows you to talk to them, sing or snuggle whenever you want to. You can also become more in-tune with your baby’s needs. It won’t take loud crying to let you know your baby wants something. You’ll start picking up on their signals before it reaches that point and because of that, you will feel more confident quicker in your parenting skills. The benefits of babywearing won’t just serve you well, the perks will extend to fathers, grandparents and other caregivers who want to use baby carriers, too. They’ll form a closer bond with your child and feel more connected to them and more confident in their caregiving, as well.
Spend More Time with Your Older Children
📷 When you have more than one child, time management can feel like you are constantly navigating a slippery slope. It feels at times like you’re ignoring your older child because your infant requires so much care and attention. That can lead your older child to view the new sibling as a threat and foster negative mindsets and behavior for the older child. Babywearing can solve that problem by freeing up your hands so you’ll have time to spend with both children at the same time. You can spend time with your older child doing the things you did before the new baby arrived. By babywearing, your infant will fit into your child’s world and be seen as a playmate instead of competition.
Unwanted Touching is Kept at Bay
📷 As a new mother one thing we are often unprepared for is strangers who are interested in looking and sometimes trying to love on your baby. People just love to touch baby’s cheeks and hands and many times seem clueless to the potential ramifications of doing so. A baby carrier will prevent most of these uncomfortable and quite frankly dangerous situations. Germs are spread either by touch or by respiratory droplets. But even if you have clean hands, you can still spread a virus or bacteria by coughing, sneezing or even breathing on a baby. You choose your battles and do the best you can. But with newborns, it’s always best to be over-protective, and to err on the side of caution.
So, you can see the many benefits that babywearing can lend to the hectic lifestyle of today’s parents. There are many more to consider, we have just covered a few of the benefits of babywearing. It may seem a little awkward at first, but with a little practice, it can become second nature. As new parents, we are in practice mode with so many new things to figure out. Add this to your list to learn. We are betting that you will be so glad you did.