Babywearing is exactly what the name says it is – wearing or carrying your baby with the help of a sling, wrap, cloth or carrier.
Many parents want to practice babywearing, but with the wide choice of carriers available they feel confused as to where to start. Others have tried baby wearing and found that it doesn’t seem to be working as well for their baby as everyone promised, leaving them with an expensive carrier gathering dust in the cupboard.
I beg you to bear with me for a quick history lesson (I want to share as I’m so in awe of motherhood). Parenting in the last decades has changed tremendously. For many years there was a culture of getting children to be independent and of not spoiling them by carrying them or by co-sleeping. Many condemned babywearing to something practiced in ‘underdeveloped’ countries. But as we started realising the potential emotional harm of this approach, mothers rebelled and are moving back again to gentle parenting methods. And babywearing came back with a bang!
But the practice is not new. On the website www.evolutionofbabywearing.com anthropologist Aradia Wyndham shares her research on how babywearing through the ages was practiced in different ways across all countries and cultures, and how it formed a crucial role in the survival of the human race. This website is well worth a visit if you are interested in the topic.
Many animals uses babywearing – think of the little monkey clinging to mommy’s back, safe and secure. Going back to the basics and re-connecting with our parenting instincts have turned into a science of its own.
So why should you consider wearing your baby? Below are twelve reasons to implement a practice that may well become one of your biggest tools.
Baby feels safe and secure
The world must be a very big place when you first enter. Take your baby back to the safe-place he had in your womb, with his little body nestled into yours and your heart beating in his ears. What could feel better?
Soothes and calms
The rocking movements and closeness that baby experiences helps to soothe them, put them to sleep and to reduce cramps and crying.
Babywearing is a hands-free option
Even if only for short periods of time, babywearing allows you to get to those tasks – cooking, cleaning, putting on make-up, brushing your teeth – you usually struggle to find time for with a new baby. The one place where I most appreciated this was while shopping for groceries as you can’t push a trolley and a stroller at the same time.
Babywearing allows you to discreetly breastfeed wherever you are. With baby close and against your body it also raises your hormone levels and boosts your milk supply.
Keeps your baby safe
While in a public space there is no risk of someone grabbing a baby or of baby getting hurt by falling out of a trolley.
It keeps strangers at bay
One would expect people to know not to touch a new baby. But babies are so precious that many seem to forget these social skills. Having baby in my personal space kept strange people from touching and breathing over my baby.
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Boosts baby physiologically
It is well-known that babies’ heart rates, breathing, oxygen levels, blood sugar levels and temperatures are more stable when held against mom’s chest.
It prevents flat-head syndrome
Plagiocephaly refers to the flat area that develops on a baby’s head when they spend a lot of time lying in one position.
Stimulates the vestibular system which promotes balance and prevent SIDS
The vestibular system is located in a tiny area behind the ears. This system gets stimulated during movement, which happens during babywearing. It helps to promote balance and to keep baby’s breathing more regular.
Promotes speech development
Because of constantly hearing your talk, your tone of voice and seeing your facial expressions babies learn about speech and communication far earlier.
Baby experiences the world
Instead of lying somewhere in a cot, baby see what you see, hear what you hear and smell what you smell. This is a far more interesting and stimulating environment.
It can be done by your partner of by a grandparent or auntie
This gives them the opportunity to also enjoy closeness with baby and to form that special bond. Plus it gives mom some freedom, which I’m sure will be much appreciated.
So if you are pregnant or have a small baby it is definitely time to do some research and to add this wonderful tool to your arsenal of mommy magic.