Babywearing has been practised for centuries all over the globe. In nomadic cultures, parents would traditionally wear their babies to travel and babywearing is still commonplace in many parts of the world today.
Newborn babies in particular love to be physically near their caregivers, as it provides a warm, cosy, and safe feeling, not too dissimilar to the womb.
You can use a sling or a baby carrier to wear your baby while you go for walks, do the housework, or just go about your daily life.
Of course, safety always comes first, so be sure to check out the guidelines to your sling before using. NCT offer useful guides and the UK Sling Consortium’s TICKS checklist is a great resource too.
So, without further ado, let's dive straight in and find out about the benefits of babywearing...
1. Promotes bonding with your baby
Wearing your baby not only gives you a physical closeness, but it also means that you are more likely to be talking to and interacting with him/her as you go about your daily business. Being so close to your baby often makes it easier to read their cues, so you can meet their needs with more confidence. It doesn't just have to be mummy/baby bonding time either! Dads, other care givers, and family members can all use the sling and enjoy some babywearing snuggles too!
2. Allows you to travel hands free
Trying to do simple jobs while carrying a baby is hard! Placing the baby close to you in a carrier means that you have much more freedom to complete your normal daily tasks, making the transition to parenthood a little smoother. Going on walks, exercising, and travelling is also made much more convenient by babywearing, meaning there's less need to push around the pram or stroller.
3. Soothes baby and reduces crying
This might surprise you, but studies have shown that babies who are carried close to a caregiver actually cry less. In fact, wearing your baby for the first few months of life can result in 43% less crying overall and 51% less crying during the evening hours. Being so close to you, hearing you heartbeat, and the rocking motion of your day-to-day movements all mimic the womb environment, providing comfort for your little one.
4. Stabilises baby's heartbeat and breathing
Just like that lovely skin-to-skin contact when your baby was first born, placing your little one close to your chest helps your baby to stabilise their own heart rate, and regulate their own breathing patterns. Holding your baby in the sling also helps them with temperature regulation.
5. Improves cognitive and social development
When you're wearing your baby, you interact with him/her lots, helping to develop neural pathways. Plus your baby gets to observe life from your point of view, seeing, hearing, and experiencing plenty of new things. Being so close to you means they are much more socially engaged; hearing your conversations, feeling your movements, and watching the world around them.
6. BONUS benefit of babywearing - It's breastfeeding friendly!
In a babywearing position, not only is baby closer to your boobs, which can stimulate milk production, but you are also in a ready-made good position for feeding. This makes it easier for the baby to get into position and latch. If you are concerned about the lack of privacy with breastfeeding, a sling gives a bit more discretion too.
What's your favourite part of babywearing? We'd love to know in the comments!
Increased carrying reduces infant crying: a randomized controlled trial
The Second Nine Months; Exterogestation and the Need to be Held