Far from the once rare sighting, Babywearing has come back into mainstream culture after many years of absence. Although still greatly outnumbered in use, it’s seen less as a hippy practice and more accepted than ever before.
Some negativity still persists as views of ‘spoiling’ and concerns of development stunting are held by some.
The truth about babywearing however, is far different from these negative concerns. Whilst very few real scientific studies have taken place, there is much anecdotal evidence to show the vast benefits Babywearing has on, not only the child, but also the wearer.
Thanks to the tireless work of babywearing educators around the world more and more evidence is coming forward to support just how beneficial babywearing is.
1. It builds bonds
The production of happy hormones such as oxytocin help to build a secure bond and keeps the child in a calm alert state.
2. It help with learning
Within the calm alert state a child can begin to engage in the world and learn from what it sees, feels and hears.
3. It is empowering
Being able to carry on with life whilst looking after a baby can empower a person and help them to feel more competent. When perhaps they are feeling more vulnerable.
4. It gives you your hands back
With a child is safely snuggled in a sling, you have your hands back to get on with life, whether that be looking after other children or going shopping.
5. It helps with Reflux and Colic
The first few months of a baby’s life are challenging for all parents. Most have experienced Reflux or Colic at some point. Whether it be hours of crying, or feeling at a loss how to help a distressed infant. Babywearing can help reduce the symptoms of both Reflux and Colic as described HERE in an earlier post.
6. It helps reduce the chances of flat head syndrome also known as plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly and the occurrence of this has increased substantially over the past 50 years as we have been conditioned to believe an infant needs to be placed in a crib, chair or bouncer instead of held in arms. The outcome for this is sadly that the soft bones of a skull are put under positional pressure and mould flat over time. The soft material of a carrier supports the skull without causing any malformation of the skull. The longer length of time the child spends in a carrier versus will reduce the chances of the skull moulding flat.
7. It’s cheaper than a pram
It’s a no-brained in term of financial cost. As a carrier is substantially less to purchase than a pram. The average cost of a pram is £500 compared to £100 for a carrier. That’s a huge saving.
8. It makes places accessible
Stairs, hills or narrow shop doors are difficult to navigate with a pram. They are heavier to learn lift, harder to manoeuvre and can cause strain when pushing. Whereas a sling is part of the body and legs can pretty much get you anywhere.
9. Disability doesn’t stop you carrying your child.
A physical disability can be a barrier to pushing a pram, not to say it can’t be done, it just makes it harder. A carrier however in most cases helps a less able-bodied person to look after a child’s needs in a more empowering manner whilst allowing them to look after their own needs. For example, using a wheelchair and pushing a pram can be a challenge, usually needing another person to help. A carrier reduces this by enabling the wheelchair user to use their free hands to manoeuvre their chair whilst the child is safe in a sling. Whatever the disability be it a missing limb or blindness a sling can help overcome any difficulties using a pram could create.
10. It helps with PND
Women with postnatal depression often feel that the bond between themselves and their child is missing. Or that they are not coping as the feel they should be. Whilst we know that they are doing a great job, a carrier can help to increase the oxytocin levels in the women to help combat any depression. Oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) is the released during physical contact, such as a touch or hug. A carrier gives constant physical contact between mother and child giving a continuous stream of Oxytocin into the body. Reducing signs of depression and helping the mother to relax when looking after her infant’s needs.
11. It helps with better social outcomes
Studies show that a child who has a secure attachment to a caregiver is more likely do better in life than one that has an insecure attachment. See HERE for more about this. Education, relationships and employment all are positively affected when an infant has grown up with a secure bond with an adult.
12. It helps with a child’s development both motor and mental
A newborn experience the world though it’s body. As it grows and is worn in a sling the gentle movements of the wearer fire the neurons in the brain creating paths to join between all the parts of the infant’s brain. This allows the infant to begin to learn about the world around them. As they grow the interaction between them and the wearer and the wearer and the world helps them to learn about communication amongst many other learning opportunities. The micro movements the child’s muscles have to do in order to maintain their supported position in the carrier helps to not only build muscles strength. It also helps to promote muscle memory and the ability to hone skills such as coordination in left and right side but also upper and lower limbs.
13. It’s great exercise
There is no denying that putting an extra weight on your body is going to mean you work harder to move. working harder = most calories used! Great news all round. The act of carrying also encourages good posture and help to fire up our core muscles helping them to gain strength.
14. It helps with breastfeeding
Breastfeeding a new baby, even when you are experienced with your other children, still has a learning curve as both mum and baby get to know each other. A sling can help that by facilitating lots of Oxytocin production and the ability to read feeding cues faster.
15. It reduces crying in infants
Babies were made to be held. Their immature nature and needing us to keep them alive means that evolution programmed them to cry whenever they have an unmet need. By wearing a child in a sling you are better equipped to met these needs faster. Using a carrier can reduce crying by up to 45% according to some studies. That’s almost half!
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