While pregnant, we carry our babies for almost an entire year! In utero, they are warm, safe and nourished and are soothed by the sounds of our breathing and heartbeat. After the baby is born the world is a completely different place and they are exposed to a whole new set of elements. Babywearing, especially in the "fourth trimester" brings baby back close to us, so they can find comfort in that same closeness they are used to. As they make their transition into the world, they are reassured by babywearing and experience many benefits both physically and mentally. Baby carriers allow your baby to strengthen their bond, and stay comforted by your heartbeat, skin to skin contact and warmth, making happier and healthier babies.
The Benefits of Babywearing
Bonding & Nurturing
Babywearing strengthens the bond between parent and baby. It enables them to hear your heart beating and have important skin to skin contact, which releases oxytocin "the love hormone" in mom and baby, which increases bonding.
It is natural for baby to be close to his mother. (Remember: The womb lasts eighteen months: Nine months inside mother, and nine months outside.) Babies are happiest when being held by mom, so babywearing is a great practice for keeping baby happy and close throughout the day.
Baby carriers are a great bonding tool for other caregivers. From fathers to grandparents and adoptive parents, they too can allow baby to get used to their voice, movements, heartbeat and facial expression to forge a strong attachment of their own.
Comfort and Convenience.
With the help of a good carrier, you can have your hands free to take care of siblings, tackle housework or grocery shop without frequent interruptions from an anxious or distressed infant.
Allows breastfeeding to be done on the go, and discreetly too, if you want to be covered up. And as an added bonus, breastmilk production is boosted with close contact with baby.
Baby carriers are also wonderful to use with older babies and toddlers; you can save your arm strength and go anywhere where strollers can’t with ease. Climbing stairs, hiking, and navigating crowded airports all can be done with ease when you use a well-designed baby carrier!
- Babies who are carried more, cry less than babies who are left on their own in a crib or bouncy chair. A study published in the journal Pediatrics, found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours. (1)
- Babywearing aids in baby's development, both physically and emotionally. Because they are close, it is easier to make sure all their needs are being met. Every time a baby is able to let us know that they are hungry, bored, or wet without having to cry, their trust in us is increased, learning is enhanced, and confidence is reinforced. This leads to a generally calmer and more confident baby.
- Fosters a closeness into and during toddlerhood. Toddlers can be worn too, reminding them of their "home base," and allowing that bond as they continue to grow.
- Premature babies and babies with special needs often enter the world with fragile nervous systems. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not.
- Babywearing can decrease risk of SIDS and flat-head syndrome, while promoting neural development, respiratory and gastrointestinal health.
1 – Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A random-ized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648