The Benefits of Babywearing
The action or practice of carrying a baby close against one’s body in a sling or similar carrier.
You’ve carried your baby in your belly for up to 9 months but now what? Wearing helps your baby stay close, in a safe and warm environment that mimics the womb. Babywearing is and incredible parenting aid to have, especially during the first three months of your baby’s life, also known as the fourth trimester.
The benefits of babywearing include:
Gets you through the Fourth Trimester: The first few months after birth, also known as the Fourth Trimester, can be a challenging and emotional time for both parents and babies as they adjust to a new way of life. Babywearing provides a safe and soothing environment for your little one by replicating the experience of being in the womb, allowing them to hear your heartbeat, and sway with your movements. This helps to promote a sense of security and comfort for your baby, and can make the transition to the outside world a little smoother for both of you.
Promotes Positive Mental Health: Help say goodbye to those baby blues! Babywearing has been shown to promote positive mental health for parents by facilitating the release of oxytocin. This hormone, often referred to as the “love hormone,” can reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and promote feelings of love and bonding. The act of babywearing allows parents to connect with their baby on a deeper level, which can increase confidence and self-esteem, and reduce the risk of postpartum depression and anxiety. It is an excellent tool for parents to use to promote positive mental health and well-being for themselves and their babies.
Encourages bonding: Babywearing promotes bonding between parents and babies by providing a constant and secure closeness. This sense of closeness and connection not only helps the baby’s emotional development but also helps parents to feel more confident in their parenting abilities. By carrying their baby, parents can better respond to their baby’s needs, and the act of babywearing can become a special bonding experience that helps to strengthen the relationship between parent and child.
Undivided attention: Babywearing allows for uninterrupted bonding time with your baby, helping you read their cues and respond quickly to their needs, which can reduce fussiness and crying. By being responsive to your baby’s needs, you foster security, trust, and positive emotional development. Additionally, babywearing can regulate your baby’s breathing and heart rate, leading to a calmer state for both of you.
Increases learning: Wearing your baby close in a carrier allows you to engage with them on a more personal level, promoting increased eye contact, facial recognition, and verbal interaction. These social experiences can help your baby learn about the world around them, and develop critical language and cognitive skills. By being close to you, your baby can hear the nuances of your voice and the inflections of your language, which can strengthen their ability to process sounds and distinguish between different words and phrases. The more you talk to your baby while wearing them, the more opportunities they have to learn and develop their linguistic abilities.
Promotes development: Babywearing provides numerous benefits for a baby’s development. By being in close proximity to the parent, the baby receives a multitude of sensory inputs that can help promote brain development. In addition, the act of babywearing can also help strengthen the baby’s muscles and bones, leading to better control and stability as they grow. This can result in improved motor skills, balance, and coordination.
You can be hands-free: Using a carrier offers the convenience of having your hands free while still keeping your little one close and secure. This can make it easier for you to manage everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, doing household chores, or chasing after older siblings. It also allows you to maintain physical closeness with your baby while still being active and engaged in the world around you.
Assists with breastfeeding: According to a 2012 study from Italy, mothers who used a baby carrier for at least one hour per day during the first month of their baby’s life had a longer breastfeeding duration than those who did not use a carrier.The physical closeness that comes with babywearing can stimulate milk production and help to establish a strong breastfeeding relationship.
Reduces reflux: Wearing your baby in an upright position can have significant benefits for their digestive health, including reducing reflux-related symptoms such as vomiting, coughing, and breathing difficulties. By keeping your baby upright, gravity helps to keep their stomach contents in place, reducing the likelihood of regurgitation. This can not only make for a more comfortable baby but can also reduce the risk of complications associated with reflux.
It’s good for your baby!: Babywearing has a wide range of benefits for your baby’s physical and emotional development. It promotes healthy spine and hip development, reduces the risk of plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome), aiding digestion by keeping their body in an upright position, and keeping them close to you, which can reduce their exposure to germs and illnesses.
Here are some things you may want to consider before purchasing a baby carrier...
How long do you plan to babywear?
Knowing how long you plan on babywearing can help you make an informed decision about what type of carrier to purchase. Some carriers are suitable for newborns and infants, while others are designed for larger babies and toddlers. Additionally, some carriers can be used from birth to toddlerhood, making them a more versatile investment. It’s important to consider your baby’s age and size, as well as your own comfort and needs when selecting a carrier. A carrier that works well for a newborn may not be as comfortable for a larger baby, and vice versa. It’s also important to note that as your baby grows and develops, their carrying preferences may change, so you may need to try different carriers to find the one that works best for both you and your baby.
What is your budget?
When it comes to baby carriers, it’s important to prioritise safety and comfort for both you and your baby. While high-quality carriers can come with a higher price tag, it’s worth investing in a carrier that meets safety standards and will last for the duration of your babywearing journey. If budget is a concern, consider looking for carriers second-hand, but be sure to thoroughly inspect it for any wear and tear before using it. Remember, a good carrier can make all the difference in your baby’s comfort and your ability to carry them for extended periods of time.
Who will use the carrier?
Don’t you just hate it when your husband or partner gets in your car and adjusts your seat and mirror? The same can be said for your baby carrier.
Having your own carrier ensures that you can adjust it to fit your body properly, and it eliminates the need for constant adjustments when switching between wearers. Additionally, if you and your partner have different preferences for carriers or different carrying needs, having separate carriers allows each of you to choose a carrier that works best for you. While purchasing two carriers may be a larger upfront investment, it can provide more comfort and convenience in the long run.
How many carriers will you need over your babywearing journey?
When it comes to choosing a carrier, there are many factors to consider beyond just your baby’s age and size. You’ll also want to think about the level of support and comfort you need, the activities you plan on doing while wearing your baby, and your personal preferences for style and convenience.
Our ‘Choosing the Right Carrier’ article is a great resource that compares the pros and cons of different carrier styles, including wraps, slings, soft-structured carriers, and meh dais. By considering all of these factors, you’ll be able to find the perfect carrier to fit your family’s needs.