You’re lying on your activity mat observing the toys hanging above your head. You’ve been there for a few minutes by yourself, curious and content but you’re beginning to fuss. I think you’re starting to realize your alone and you’re not sure where your mother went. So I hear you whimper and I come over to you. You look at me with big blue eyes, searching me, knowing me. You look into my eyes and you whimper – an acknowledgment that you crave to be picked up. So I grab my sling and I tuck you inside close to my warmth. You whimper maybe twice more until you calm, realizing where you are. Now it’s just us with uninterrupted connection.
Babywearing has been practiced for centuries in countless cultures and countries. Often, mothers had to return to their labor not long after birth making babywearing a necessity. In most of history, women are seen carrying their babies on them rather than in a separate counterpart. By incorporating babywearing into your daily life, you can make it a whole lot simpler.
Bonding, Closeness, & Connection
One of my main reasons for babywearing is it promotes a closeness between baby and wearer. By wearing baby, you help create a warm, safe, and secure environment. This is a necessity for babies. Think about it. They were curled up tight in a womb for 9 months. Now they’re out in the world: fresh, new, and frightened. The best place for them to be? In your arms, soaking up your warmth.
Keeping them close to you in a sling allows you to connect, bond, and be close to them. Crucial actions that are dire to their development. Another great thing about babywearing is it’s not exclusive to mother alone but family and friends are able to benefit and bond as well!
Research shows babies who are worn cry less. The study done by Hunziker and Barr (1986) concludes “the relative lack of carrying in our society may predispose to crying and colic in normal infants.” They also concluded 43% of babies who were carried cried less and 54% in the evenings! I don’t know any mother who would object to that.
One of my favorite things about babywearing is both hands are free. Babywearing enables you to do chores, eat a meal, prepare a meal, go shopping, etc while tending to your baby. Not only that but you don’t have to lug a big, bulky stroller around everywhere. Some places don’t allow strollers and without one, you are able to fit into tighter and crowded spaces.
Growth & Development
In a sling or wrap, babies are at eye level. This helps promote an interaction that babies lower down are less likely to receive: talking, eye contact, etc. They have a “parent’s eye view” which helps them become aware of their surroundings (i.e. voices, tone of voice, walking patterns, etc). It helps give them a sense of “being human”. Also, by being carried, baby is able to see more compared to being condensed in a stroller and if they are seeing too much they can look elsewhere. This helps baby make independent choices. And even if mom or wearer is busy, baby is still able to learn.
Physically, it keeps baby off their back to reduce the chance of a flat spot and it promotes proper hip development (in most carriers).
Personally, my baby has yet to find the sleepy dust that babywearing gives off as he is much too curious of everything but I have heard numerous stories and have seen countless pictures with babies asleep in slings and wraps. Also, many people have found their babies sleep longer at night when they are carried during the day.
Alleviates Muscle Pain
Let’s face it, babies are heavy and they get heavier the older they get. Babywearing evenly distributes baby’s weight across the body which helps take weight off your shoulders and back and allows you to hold baby for longer. If you often have sensitive or sore muscles, a carrier is a great addition to your mommy arsenal.
Carrying your baby is a positive and intimate experience. I hope this inspires you to wear your baby close to you and close to your heart, exactly where they belong.