Baby wearing is practiced in almost every culture but was waylaid in our Western minds for a historical gap in this perfected parenting practice. The fact of the matter is that baby carriers have been around in some form for centuries but we have stepped away from what worked in favor of strollers, bulky infant seats, and non attachment parenting methods.
There has been an awakening of sorts as parents see the benefits of wearing their babies.
The benefits are many, varied and once you start wearing your baby you may find yourself wondering how in the world you did this parenting thing before you started baby wearing.
What are the benefits to go against the marketed grain of strollers and detachable infant seats and moving into the realm of ring slings, soft structured carriers and rebozo wraps? I will let you in on the secrets that baby wearing mamas know so you too can share in this ancient wisdom.
1. Babies Who Are Worn Cry Less
It’s true. Babies who are worn by their caregivers cry less.
Not every baby likes the same kind of carrier or positioning so you may have to do a bit of experimenting. Once you figure out the best fit for you and baby you may just notice a marked difference. Why is this?
Your baby is with you, they have been for 9 months but society tells moms that once they are out of the womb, you can spoil them by holding them too much.
As an expectant mother to baby #6 I can tell you that this is false. Holding your baby makes them feel secure and confident. Often when babies cry they just want to be held, and that’s when they feel the most secure.
2. They See/Learn/Hear More
When you wear your baby, they are part of your every day interactions on a much deeper level.
Instead of lying on a play mat or being confined to a baby swing they are living life in the thick of it. They see the environment from a different birdlike vantage point.
They are involved in your quick run to the mailbox, your laundry loading, you getting a cup of coffee, they see, feel, smell and hear more than when stationary in one location. They are more physically aware of movement and kinesthetics. This involvement leads to learning on a whole new level.
3. Easier For Parents
I’ll shout it for the world to hear, this is my favorite reason to baby wear.
It’s hands down easier, especially if you have multiple children. Busy parents need their hands free and holding an infant does not allow for free hands, but wearing one does.
Parents who baby wear can easily hold the hand of a younger child, fold laundry, cook dinner, make breakfast and the list goes on.
There is also less to lug around. When you wear your baby you don’t have to worry about lugging the stroller or infant seat while manhandling a diaper bag and your groceries.
It is simpler, easier, and baby and mama are happier.
4. Builds Parental Confidence
This one is especially true for the newer mamas.
It is often said that babies don’t come with an instruction manual and all babies are different.
When you are a new parent, learning all of baby’s cues and needs can sometimes be challenging. However, when you wear your new baby they are immediately calmer so you can be too.
You are more in tune with their individual needs as you are face to face with the clues that they give about their needs so it becomes second nature to just respond to their needs. This in turn leads to happier babies which makes parents more confident that they have and can provide whatever their baby needs.
5. Keeps Baby Safe
When your baby is with you, baby is safe.
There is no worry that you will have a runaway stroller, that a sibling will try to pick up and carry baby, that the family pet will get too close for comfort.
Baby is shielded from the outside environment of germ laden grocery cart seats, well meaning strangers who want to touch baby’s hands and any other thing that baby can reach and touch that may not be ideal. Baby is with you and baby is safe.
Baby is also more in tune to your physiological and biological markers. What this means is baby feels your breathing and heart rate and while sleeping on you while being worn they are quite in tune with your biological reactions.
6. Facilitates Nursing
The best way to ensure a successful nursing relationship is to wear your baby.
When baby starts to exhibit the signs of hunger, you are right there and available.
When you wear your baby even your body becomes more in tune to their needs, there is usually less time waiting for “let down” and baby’s needs can be almost instantaneously met.
With a little practice it is quite possible to discreetly nurse while being fully covered and no one being the wiser while using many of the cloth wraps available.
7. A Bonding Tool For Dads And Caregivers
Baby wearing can be manly too.
Dads and caregivers too share in the ability to become infinitely more confident in their own abilities when they are baby wearing and baby is usually happier so it becomes easier for others to wear baby.
Dad is not dealing with a fussy inconsolable baby, dad is actively participating in an activity that calms baby and keeps baby happy and safe.