Becoming a parent might be an overwhelming experience, especially for the first time parents who don't really know what to expect when their little one is born. The first few months might be quite tough because there is so much to learn and figure out.
People around you will give you lots of advice but you will quickly see that everybody has a different opinion on the same matter, so it’s often best to follow your gut! Among many parenting tips and tricks, babywearing is something that undeniably has a lot of advantages and may make the rough parenting path a little easier. Here are some of the most amazing benefits of it:
When I think about the health benefits of babywearing and especially of a skin to skin contact (which babywearing facilitates), I’m getting goosebumps. I mean, how amazing is that a skin to skin contact contributes to the baby's more stable heart rate, optimal body temperature as well as optimal respiratory rate and oxygen saturation? Studies of preterm infants who had skin to skin contact with their mother proved that they develop better than babies who stayed in incubators. They need less medical interventions and leave NICU quicker. Over time, these babies also score better in social and linguistic indicators and in motor development. Their brain is more mature and they seem to have a better emotional and cognitive regulation. They gain weight quicker and sleep better.
Babies who are worn learn quickly how to understand facial expressions and body language in general. Because babywearing makes us spend a lot of time ‘face to face’ with our baby, it positively contributes to their speech development.
One of the most important needs of a baby is to be close to their parents. While babywearing, a parent creates a womb-like experience for their baby, offering a warm and soft spot on their chest, close to their heart. Being ‘hugged’ by the parent naturally makes the baby feel loved, safe and calm. At the same time, being very close gives the parent a possibility to read their baby's cues easily and respond to them quicker. This boosts two-way communication and bonding. Last but not least, babywearing promotes the release of oxytocin in parent’s and baby’s bodies, and it means that the babywearing experience simply makes them both happier!
“If you carry your baby too much, you will spoil her!” “She will always expect to be carried and won’t learn how to walk!” Babywearing parents probably heard such comments. Sometimes they come in the form of questions from their family members or friends: “Are you sure this is still good for her, at this age? She is not a newborn anymore”, “Wouldn’t you like her to finally accept the stroller?”. You might start to wonder whether you are indeed spoiling your baby and teaching them to be clingy? Nothing more misleading! By being close you are in fact satisfying one of the most important needs of your baby. You give them what they truly need and by doing this you show them you are there for them. They will start walking when they are ready for it and from that moment you will even have to fight to keep them close for longer. They will love the fact that they can choose direction themselves and stop where they want. So enjoy it while it lasts!
In the 70’s researchers studied the behaviour of babies who had a lot of close contact in early months and these who didn’t. At twelve months, those who experienced a lot of closeness felt safe when not held and were happy to explore the environment on their own. On the contrary, babies from the other group protested loudly when separated with their parent and couldn’t easily play on their own. So by carrying your baby close you are in fact raising a happy and confident little person.
Better chances of breastfeeding
It was proven that babywearing promotes lactation through more skin-to-skin contact. Breastfeeding is good both for the baby and the mother for several reasons and while breastfeeding, the oxytocin and prolactin hormones are produced and help build the ‘chemical’ basis of mother-baby bonding. Lactation consultants often encourage young mothers to wear their baby a lot to regulate milk production. On top of that, if your baby becomes hungry while in the sling, you can easily use the sling either to support your baby during the feed (and reduce arm strain) or use it as a shield when feeding in public.
Babywearing also promotes new mum's wellbeing by giving her a chance to continue her daily activities with both hands free. Motherhood can be an overwhelming experience and especially the so-called fourth trimester is no joke! Mothers who had a complicated birth have an even more difficult start. Being able to come back to daily activities is often crucial for our wellbeing. This is where babywearing comes in handy. Satisfying your baby’s need to be close and at the same time being able to go out or do the chores like before is a reassuring experience and helps us feel better as a parent. Moreover, nowadays slings come in abundance of designs and colours and it is so easy to wear them as part of the outfit (or sometimes the main part!) which can helps us feel more ‘trendy’ and good looking.