Why babywear? If you have not yet had the chance to try it out, and even if you have, this is a short list of some of the benefits of babywearing. Wearing your child is not simply a trendy fad – there are social, mental, and physical benefits for both mom and baby.
Benefits for the child:
1.Less crying – A study in Canada showed that children who are carried in slings cry 48% less during the day and 54% less during the evening, compared to children who were not carried in slings. Babies are comforted when with their caregivers – they hear the heart beating and feel the reassuring constant motion that they are accustomed to from the womb. When in the tummy to tummy position, the child’s stomach is massaged and stimulated, helping with digestive problems such as gas and reflux.
2.More learning – When worn, a baby is more content and is therefore more observant of his surroundings. As well, when worn in the sling he can see his environment. Compare a child worn at chest level to a child lying in a pram. The child in the pram sees the sky, tree tops, or ceiling, compared with the worn child, who sees the world as we do. As they get older, they observe and learn as we go about our daily activities.
Besides allowing a baby to see more, the movement and involvement of a baby with his parent’s world stimulates his brain. In the first year of life, the brain is growing at an amazing rate, making connections and paths that remain for life. A worn baby’s brain develops faster, making more connections and paths. Babywearing also helps speech development, as baby is able to better hear speech and see the thing spoken of, and therefore better able to make connections.
3.More social – Not only do worn babies see what we are doing, they also see how we act. Vocal tones, facial expressions, and body language teach babies how humans interact with each other, and they can even sense when a mother’s scent or feelings change. Mothers are also more likely to interact more often with a baby who is right under her nose. As well, there are studies that show that movement and affection affect the growth of areas in the brain connected with social interaction and violence.
4.More physical development – When babies are close to their parents, they are able to better organize their bodies, regulating their own breathing and temperature. Studies also show that blind children who are worn learn to walk much much earlier than those who are not worn, because they feel the gait of the wearer. As well, good carriers place hips in a healthy position for growth, preventing hip dysplasia.
Benefits for mother/caregiver:
1.More convenient – when babywearing, your hands are free. Baby needs to be with you, so up he goes, but you can also vacuum, shop, eat or dance at the same time. You can also nurse in the sling, so you can nurse while walking, especially convenient when there is no place to sit. With two or more children, hands are free to attend to older children while still keeping baby happy.
2.Less awkward – carrying a carseat or baby bed around is heavy, difficult, awkward, and pulls on the spine. Strollers are useful, but going up stairs or on and off public transportation is a whole lot easier when babywearing.
3.More happy – wearing your baby, as well as nursing, stimulates the production of happy mom hormones, so you feel better and more loving. This is an important antidote to postnatal depression.
4.More connected – wearing your baby helps you both to bond. With the physical closeness comes emotional closeness.
5.More fit – you’re carrying 2 to 15 kgs more. Get in shape without even trying!
What are some benefits you’ve experienced from babywearing?