The Benefits of Baby Wearing

When I was pregnant with Everly it was the first time that I was exposed to all the “gear” that is available to modern parents. If you think registering for wedding gifts is hard, try looking through the aisles of baby stuff at one of the big box stores. These were places I had never set foot before- I have been to Target hundreds of times without ever venturing near the baby or kid stuff. I was completely clueless with all things baby (I had never seen a woman breastfeed until my sister-in-law Ashley nursed Ella at my house). I was intrigued, kind of scared and amazed all at the same time. Once I became a Mama and was catapulted head first into the “world of baby” I discovered for myself what gear was necessary and what was pointless. One of my favorite tools in the modern parents’ tool belt is baby-wearing.

Have you noticed parents walking around hands free with their babies (or small dogs) snuggled up in a sling, wrap or carrier? It’s called “baby wearing” which simply means deciding to keep your baby on your body, in constant contact, usually with some trype of wrap or sling… It also means “hands free” for our busy parenting lifestyle. Baby wearing has roots in ancient cultures as a means for women to multi-task for survival purposes (i.e cultivate the land, collect vital herbs, for us modern mamas, “Carrying a baby to give the mother freedom is a very old, very practical art”. Baby wearing is gaining popularity for us modern parents, and aside from the practical reasons, there are lots of well researched health benefits to keeping baby close.

Benefits of Baby Wearing

1. Bonding- closeness to parents is the best tool for emotional and mental development. Infants need intimate and constant contact with another human being for optimal development. Babies crave warmth and closeness from their caregivers and feel secure when they are held. Baby wearing is also an awesome tool for other family members to develop a close bond with baby- letting Dad wear baby around the house is a great way for him to form close attachments to baby.

2. Convenience- you can have the best of both worlds in this case! Research has shown that keeping babies in close contact with parents or caregivers has a myriad of benefits that support optimal development. But carrying your baby around all the time isn’t practical- unless you have the right tools! Using a carrier, sling or wrap to keep your baby close allows you to have two hands free to move around and get stuff done! Babies that are worn in slings or carriers cry less and tend to be more content which means you can move throughout your day with ease while still providing the best for your baby.

3. Calmer baby- when you wear your baby it mimics the feeling of being in the womb. The familiar rhythm of movement, being close to your heartbeat and being confined in a small space calms baby. Additionally its easier to meet your baby’s needs, many anthropologists and psychologists who study have observed that when mothers and babies are together, they are constantly shaping one another’s behavior- for example, when her baby whimpers or seems to be in distress, the mother responds and reassures her little one. Mama and baby are better able to read each others’ cues.

4. Good for baby’s development-  a sling or carrier is a transitional womb for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Your baby is in tune with your heartbeat, breathing and physical movements which stimulates his learning to regulate his own physical responses.

5. Babies enjoy motion- your baby spent 9 months in the warm, secure confines of your womb. He was comforted by the muffled sounds of your heartbeat and digestive system. Your baby was in constant motion, travelling with you every twist and turn you made- walking, bending, reaching. He became accustomed to the feeling of being in a confined space. After birth, sometimes referred to the 4th trimester, babies crave the experience of being held close to a parent’s body because it reminds them of being in the womb.

6. Confidence- a baby in a sling or carrier is usually more content which in turn makes the parents feel competent. If the baby gets fussy, parents can swiftly respond and meet baby’s need before a melt down occurs.

7. Smarter baby- babies learn by interacting with their environments. A baby that is carried in a sling has the best seat in the house and is intimately involved in the parent’s world. Your baby is free to observe the world from a safe and comfortable vantage point and can learn from your interactions with people around. Baby wearing also enhances speech development because baby is up conversational height and can watch your facial expressions.

8. Promotes breastfeeding- Mamas can easily and discreetly breastfeed baby while you on the go, plus close contact with baby increases milk production!

Popular brands that I’ve tried:
Baby Bjorn
Ergo
Maya Wrap
Moby wrap
Resources:

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