The many benefits of babywearing
It is natural for baby to be close to his mother/primary caregiver. Babies are happiest when being held.. Babywearing is a great practice for keeping baby happy and to help build a stronger bond. The benefits of babywearing are many!
When we wear a baby in a carrier, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a stroller. A carrier can also be great to help block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby.
When a baby rides in a carrier attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes.. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The carrier becomes in essence a “transitional womb” for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not.
Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby’s developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones. Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.
Carriers are a useful tool for every adult in a baby’s life. I love seeing baby wearing dads/partners going for a walk with their baby in a sling! The baby is becoming used to their voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Partners don’t have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents and all other caregivers. Holding baby safe and close in a carrier is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!
As a postpartum doula I love spreading the babywearing love and helping new families figure out the perfect carrier for them! There’s so many resources out there for help – from facebook babywearing groups, to certified babywearing instructors located here in the San Fernando Valley .