Babywearing; if you are a parent or soon-to-be one you have likely heard this term. Babywearing is the practice of carrying your baby close to your body with the help of a special carrier. Traditionally used by cultures in Africa and South America, babywearing has become mainstream in western communities. It’s unlikely you can take a trip to the mall or the grocery store without seeing a parent wearing their baby and a baby carriers have become a staple at any baby or maternity store.
Your newborn craves your warmth, your smell and the sound of your heartbeat. This is totally normal, but it can be tiring and even overwhelming. Not only is babywearing a great way to have your hands free while still keeping baby close to your body but it provides amazing benefits for both you and your baby. Keep reading to find out more.
1. Babywearing makes it possible to include baby in your everyday life.
Unlike a bulky stroller that you have to push around and take with you from place to place, baby carriers will help you keep your hands free while you grocery shop, run errands, take public transportation, attend an event or even a concert, all while giving baby the closeness that he or she needs.
For parents with older children, babywearing will give you an opportunity to have baby close while playing with your toddler, doing house chores or spending quality time with the rest of your family.
2. Babies that are worn cry and fuss less.
Studies have shown that wearing your baby can reduce crying by up to 50% (source). Less crying means a calmer baby that can spend more time interacting with you and learning about their surroundings.
3. Babywearing prevents flat head syndrome and aids muscle development
Flat Head Syndrome (or positional plagiocephaly) is a medical condition in which a flat spot develops in the back or the side of the baby's head. This is generally caused by baby spending too much time on laying on their back. Babywearing naturally avoids this by keeping baby in an upright position. Babies in a carrier learn to use their muscles to support themselves upright and also to support their head.
4. Babywearing is good for your baby’s cognitive and social development.
Having your baby in a carrier as opposed to a stroller or car seat will help them be more socially engaged. At chest height baby can see faces, hear you and others speak and the change in point of view will keep baby engaged with their surroundings. Having baby close will also provide more opportunities for interaction between both of you. All of these factors promote learning and aid your baby’s brain development.
5. Research shows babywearing can reduce the risk of postpartum depression.
Asides from decreasing social isolation by allowing you to leave the house easily with baby, wearing you baby also increases the amount of time that you spend skin-to-skin, this can help decrease stress and depression symptoms. (source)
There is even a study that shows that the extra touch that happens when babywearing can make up for the negative effects caused by the typical lack of affectivity depressed parents can experience, such as a flat voice and non-expressive face. (source)
6. Babywearing helps your immune system and protects your baby from germs.
People will be a lot less likely to touch baby (especially in the winter months!)if they are close to your body on a carrier. Wearing your baby also will help them be calmer and sleep better, which in turn will help you get more sleep. Sleep is vital for a healthy immune system and the extra sleep will boost your immune system, this means you will be less likely to get sick!
7. Babywearing can help you in your breastfeeding journey.
If you are breastfeeding, having your baby close to your breasts throughout the day will encourage frequent feeds, which will help maintain or increase breast milk supply and aid baby’s weight gain.
All of that mentioned, babywearing is not for everyone, chronic conditions such as back pain, may make babywearing uncomfortable or even painful. Some parents (and babies!) simply dont enjoy it or may only like it for short periods. If you are an expecting parent and you feel as thought babywearing may not be for you, that's totally OK! There are other ways to bond with baby and you shouldn't feel pressured to parent in any specific way of parenting.
How wonderful is that this ancient tradition has made its way into our modern lives
and become a possible option for carrying our babies around. Are you planning on wearing your baby? And if you already have, what was your favourite part about it?