Babywearing, also known as baby carrying, is the practice of keeping your baby or toddler close and connected to you through the use of a variety of different carriers. Though the notion of babywearing may have fallen out of style and may be new to you, this is a centuries-old practice that has been carried out by mothers all over the world. There are many benefits to babywearing, especially as your child grows.
But we all know how quickly our little ones grow up, so how can we keep up the practice of babywearing as they get bigger and heavier? Here, I’ve outlined not only the benefits of babywearing as your child grows, but how to let the practice grow with your child.
Benefits of Babywearing
It’s well known that infants thrive through touch, and many medical professionals believe it is necessary for proper development, according to Babywearing International. Though there are many ways to engage in the kind of touch a child needs to develop, “wearing” your baby is a perfect way to meet this need. However, the benefits don’t stop there! There are a myriad of advantages to babywearing, some of which include:
In a study published by the Pediatrics journal, researchers found that babywearing for just three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall, and 54 percent during the evening hours. That’s reason enough to start babywearing! There’s nothing worse than your precious baby crying, and feeling like there’s nothing you can do to calm them down. Babywearing provides skin-to-skin contact, which has a noted calming effect on babies.
When you carry your baby close to your heart, they become in tune with your breathing, your heartbeat, and your movements. This stimulation helps promote and regulate their own physical responses, furthering them along their development path. A study published in the Journal of Perinatology has shown that premature babies who are touched and held in fashions such as babywearing gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not.
When you carry your baby with you everywhere you go, you achieve a special bond – with them so close to you so often, it becomes easier to read their facial cues and become attuned to their gestures and movements. Responding to your baby’s needs before they have the chance to cry out only builds their trust in you, which in turn leads to enhanced learning and an increase in your confidence as a parent. This cycle of positive interaction not only deepens the bond between you and your child, but is especially beneficial for women suffering from postpartum depression, according to a study by the Child Development journal.
Newborns and Infants
Infancy is the ideal time to begin your practice of babywearing, as it helps spur on infant development so much. They also help with nursing, as the clothes for your infants keeps your child supported and near to you at all times. The babywearing method that is most ideal for newborns are slings, as they allow your tiny angel to nestle closely to you. They come in padded and unpadded options, and in many fabric options. Baby wraps are also a great option, as they are very versatile and inexpensive. They’re just long pieces of fabric that are usually wrapped around your torso and both shoulders, providing a nest for your little one.
As your Child Ages
As your child grows, it’s important to keep up the practice of babywearing – this will not only solidify your bond with your child, but it will enhance their learning and development. Most professionals say you can keep babywearing until you reach the weight limit of your carrier, which is often around 40 pounds! Slings and wraps, as explained, are ideal for newborns, but can also be used as your baby grows through toddlerhood. You can also use soft structured carriers, so long as they provide a proper seat for your child and do not leave their legs dangling – this positioning can lead to hip dysplasia as it put stress on your baby’s hip sockets. As long as you are both comfortable and the carrier supports healthy positioning, then there’s no reason you should stop babywearing.
Babywearing is exceptionally beneficial for both babies and caregivers, as it allows for so many positive things. Enhanced learning, better development, strong bonds, and healthy growth are everything we want for our children, so why not give them the best chance? Not only is babywearing incredibly advantageous, it is also not a hard thing to do. There’s so much information on choosing the best method of babywearing that there’s no reason to not start the practice! Join mothers all over the world and all throughout the ages with the practice of babywearing, and build a better bond with your baby.
Carolyn Clarke is a freelance writer and fashion enthusiast based in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to her full time job as a buying consultant for small boutiques, she also writes fashion advice blogs that have been published across a number of digital platforms and working with clients such as the children’s boutique, Miki Miette. In her free time, she takes her dog running along the Malibu coastline.