Babywearing is, without a doubt, one of my favorite things about being a mother- and it’s a good thing I like it, because I swear it’s the only way I get anything done! While I was pregnant, my ‘baby accessory’ obsession was cloth diapers– I collected so many fun diapers for Halle and I always wanted more- but now, the obsession is baby carriers. I want them all- all kinds, all different designs, every style. It’s so much fun!
If you’re new to the concept of baby wearing, here’s the basics for you: rather than laying your baby down on a surface, in a contraption, or carrying them in their infant seat, you ‘wear them’ on you in a structured carrier, soft wrap, ring sling, or pouch instead. This has many, mane benefits for both mom and baby, including:
Better support of spinal development, neck, and core muscles for baby.
Rather than being squished into a curve shape in a car seat, the spine is upright and lengthened, and the baby learns gently to hold herself upright with proper supports.
Symmetrical development (when done correctly).
Torticollis and plagiocephaly are two newborn conditions that are on the rise, and both can be significantly decreased with proper baby wearing. All babies have a tendency to sleep or lie with their head to one side of the other, but some babies do this so much that the neck gets very stiff on the other side and, possibly, the skull forms incorrectly for a time. Reducing the amount of time baby spends on her back reduced the chances of these conditions. This story about treating torticollis through babywearing and exercises is a great read!
Bonding through extended close contact.
When baby wearing is done often, a strong bond is formed between mom and baby. Many moms (including myself) notice their their babies calm almost instantly when worn- and usually fall fast asleep, too!
Hormones stimulate consistent milk production.
The bond between mom and baby, coupled with the closeness of baby to the breasts, further strengthens the ‘brain to breast connection’, strengthening the letdown reflex and increasing your milk production.
Convenience for mom- you are hands-free holding your baby!
I can’t say it enough, this is the only way I get anything done. Dishes, housework, writing this blog- all done with sweet baby girl on my chest. Baby wearing at the grocery store saves me from filling my cart with a carseat, or worse- pushing a cart and a stroller. Baby wearing at church keeps baby cocooned with me and protected (somewhat) from germs. Also, infant seats are HEAVY! The list goes on…
More time to observe social interactions.
When a baby stays in a bouncer or an infant seat, they can really only observe what you place in front of them. In contrast, when a baby is worn, she is experiencing almost constant motion, and constantly changing scenery. She is able to observe conversation and social interactions at a very early age, which contributes to accelerated development later on.
Regulated body temperature.
When baby is very close to mom, the baby’s body temperature will regulate out to match the mother’s. This is also why skin-to-skin contact is stressed at birth, particularly among preemies.
Heightened immune function.
The baby receives both germs (through contact) and antibodies (through breastmilk) from mom, which allows her body to build up her immunity quickly and still maintain good health.
Reduced stress levels and crying time/frequency.
On the whole, babies that are worn frequently are more secure, calm, and cry less and less often. The attachment they feel to their mother allows them to experience other situations without fear- they know that it’s just a matter of time before they are back with mom!
There are many different kinds of carriers you can use for baby wearing, which I’ll be introducing to you in the next few weeks- along with some great, socially responsible companies that are changing the world through baby wearing!