There are so many babywearing benefits for both the parent and the baby. Here are a few things that we love about babywearing!
Bonding with baby
Babywearing turns working from A to B into a bonding opportunity. I got my very first carrier when my son was 3 weeks old and part of the reason for buying it was we only had a forward facing stroller at the time and as we walked along people would stop and chat with him, or even just smile in at him, and I felt like I was missing out. By babywearing him he was right there, I could put my arms around him, kiss his forehead, watch him sleep or looking around. The bonding affect of babywearing isn’t limited just to parents, grandparents, friends, other family members, even child carers can babywear. I used to wear babies when I worked in child care and found they would become more comfortable with me sooner if I wore them.
Keeping baby close and safe
With my son if he was sleeping in the pram I felt I had to constantly stop and check he was still breathing (he’d had a sleep apnoea episode at home so I was very vigilant) whereas if he slept in a carrier I could feel and see him breathing the whole time. And when both my babies became mobile babywearing meant I could keep them with me while I was busy cleaning the house, or hanging out washing, so I’d know where they were while my attention was elsewhere so I’d know they weren’t up to mischief.
I don’t even know how people can manage more than one child without babywearing! I would have struggled without it. I could settle my daughter to sleep while getting my son’s breakfast. I could breastfeed her while washing his hair. I could rush around in the morning and get him ready for preschool and we could just walk straight out the door while she dozed. I could eat my own dinner without putting her down.
Give your arms a break!
Some babies (or toddlers) just want to be held for many hours a day. Some simply will not sit in a pram without screaming. Sometimes babywearing isn’t a choice so much as it is a necessity – because it’s not always possible to hold and carry a bigger baby or toddler in your arms as much as they need you to.
Excellent exercise for the wearer
I regularly wear my 16kg toddler for walks and having her on my back really does boost the effectiveness of the work out! Though the downside is she’s cheeky when I’m huffing and puffing up hills she exaggeratedly huffs and puffs as well!
Keeping baby to yourself
If you’re having visitors or going out with a new baby and you’re not comfortable with the idea of your baby being passed around babywearing is a very easy way you can keep your baby securely in your own arms so friends and family may be less likely to try to scoop your baby up for a cuddle.
Both of my babies would fall asleep being worn, especially my son. His father and I would joke about how long it would take to get him to sleep – whether it would be by the bottom of the stairs of our apartment or if we’d actually have to walk to the end of the block. And countless nights I silently thanked goodness for a wrap or carrier to rock my unsettled baby girl to sleep when my arms simply couldn’t do it anymore.
Cut back on crying
“In a randomised controlled trial, 99 mother-infant pairs were assigned to an increased carrying or control group. At the time of peak crying (6 weeks of age), infants who received supplemental carrying cried and fussed 43% less (1.23 v 2.16 h/d) overall, and 51% less (0.63 v 1.28 hours) during the evening hours (4 PM to midnight). Similar but smaller decreases occurred at 4, 8, and 12 weeks of age.” Source. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3517799
I can’t count how many times we were about to head out the door, or half way through a grocery shop and someone suddenly needs to breastfeed! Breastfeeding was as easy as popping out a breast, attaching bubs, and we’d continue on our way!
Babywearing holds baby in an upright position which can help reduce discomfort for babies with reflux as well as keeping them close for comfort when they’re in pain.
Baby gets to experience the world from your perspective
Whether baby is being front or back carried they’re much higher up than in a pram and can see around them more easily – or snuggle into you when they get tired or overstimulated. Woven wraps are great for older babies and toddlers to do a high back carry where they can even look over your shoulder as to walk, talk to people, or go about your day at home
Babywearing helps develop your baby’s core strength
When you wear your baby, even in a very supportive carrier you will feel them start to balance themselves when you bend, step, move and twist. I’ve had people wondering aloud to me about whether babywearing could be detrimental to my babies learning to sit or walk on their own. I can understand the concern, if they’re worn often how will they learn to support themselves? But they are learning to balance themselves and building muscle tone even while they’re carried.
Mutual body heat
I love babywearing on a cold day because I’m keeping my baby warm while they’re keeping me warm! It’s a lovely win-win! (If you’re worried about overheating, there are also cooler babywearing options and even cooling pads you can tuck inside the carrier if you’re still too hot!)
Not needing a pram
Going up stairs,walking through crowds, along uneven surfaces, down narrow isles, into cafes, getting on buses, trains and planes – all so much easier to do while babywearing. If you’re just popping into a shop quickly but you still need your hands free, it’s much quicker and easier to strap on a baby carrier than get a pram out of the boot. That said – I used to take a pram most places anyway to carry a nappy bag and shopping, but lately unless I’m going to be carrying something heavy (other than my daughter) I just take a messenger style hand-bag or back pack.
Having something nice to wear
There are so many pretty wraps and carriers out there to choose from, they really are like beautiful pieces of clothing. Plus, what is nicer to wear than a baby (or toddler)?
For more information on babywearing see our Babywearing Section