When our first child was born, we broke out the sling. To say that extended relatives didn’t understand our choice to use a sling and forego carrying carseats, lugging strollers, and enjoying wearing our baby would be an understatement. We were told he would never walk. We were told he would be clingy. We were told so many things, but we knew that we had done our research. We knew we were following what felt right to us. We knew that our child was thriving. To help o
Babywearing results in less crying. When you are right there with your child, you are better able to read cues in the moment. This means that babies don’t have to resort to crying to try and communicate their needs. Their needs are met before they reach that point of desperation.
Babywearing leaves more time for learning. Crying is exhausting and really takes a lot out of babies. Babies who are worn tend to be in a calm, attentive state, perfect for learning. They spend less time recuperating and more time taking in the world around them. They also have a better view than the one they would have sitting in a stroller or other contraption. They are up at an adult’s vantage point, ready to interact with the people around them.
Babywearing helps babies regulate. Up until birth, a baby has not had to depend completely on their body’s own systems. Suddenly, their bodies are forced to contend on their own. When babies are worn in a sling or carrier, the adult’s body helps them to regulate their own. The baby will tune into the adult, regulating his/her own bodily systems, such as respiration.
Babywearing allows for easier bonding. A mother’s oxytocin levels are increased through physical contact with her baby. This leads to a more intimate bond, lessnes the incidences of postpartum depression, and aids in breastfeeding. Babywearing with other adults similarly aids in the bonding between the baby and that adult.
Babywearing leaves your hands free. Taking care of an infant, or toddler, takes up quite a bit of time, leaving you with less time to do necessary everyday things or find some time for yourself. By wearing your baby, you leave your hands free. Your baby is content, and you can get some things done.
Babywearing leads to more confident parents. Parenting is hard, and many parents question whether or not they are doing a good enough job. A content baby who is learning and cries less aids in making more confident parents, who in turn will be more likely to meet their child’s needs in a secure and gentle fashion.
Babywearing can be done virtually anywhere. You can wear your baby virtually anywhere you would otherwise take your baby. You don’t have to worry about pushing a stroller in rough conditions or lugging it around. There is no need to fit a bulky car seat in the cart when shopping (the AAP recommends that infants should not be in car seats unless they are in the car). Babywearing allows you to be just as mobile as you were before the baby was born.
Babywearing affords better sleep for baby. Many babies sleep better when in contact with a loving adult. Babywearing affords better sleep for baby.
Babywearing counts for tummy time. When a baby is worn, they learn to counter themselves against the gentle sway of the parent’s motions while receiving the amount of support they need for their current stage. This helps strengthen core muscles.
Babywearing gives babies control over themselves. Babywearing allows babies the opportunity to turn away from the world when they are overstimulated. This results in children who can chill out before reaching melt-down.
The next time someone gives you grief about babywearing, reply that this is what works for you, and then throw in a fact about babywearing. Eventually, as they see your secure happy child and you share various facts with them, they will most likely give up on trying to talk you out of it.
Today I would like to share some bookmark-worthy posts that highlight all aspects of babywearing. These posts were featured on the personal blogs of the Natural Parents Network volunteers and are some of my favorites.
We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way!
For families who are living differently from mainstream America, it can often be difficult to find children’s books which reflect our own values. Emery Bernhard has a lovely book entitled A Ride on Mother’s Back: A Day of Baby Carrying Around the World which appeals to attachment parenting families everywhere. The book takes a look at how different families in different cultures around the world go about their days with securely attached babies and children. While the title of the book specifically mentions mothers, the book shows many relatives sharing in the babywearing, including siblings, fathers, and grandparents. The brief glance into other cultures, along with a slightly expanded bit of information at the back of the book, is appealing to older children. Babies and toddlers love reading books about others their age. This book gives a nice opportunity for those families who practice attachment parenting to share with thei rchildren about other babywearing families. My children have all loved the book when they were little and continue to do so as they grow older.