What is baby wearing?
Baby wearing is basically carrying your baby in a sling, wrap or carrier.
There are many benefits of baby wearing. It can be really liberating, help you and your baby get on with life and get to know one another, and doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Over the next few weeks I will write a number of blogs about baby wearing that I hope you find helpful and useful. I’m doing this because I struggled when I had my first little one. I didn’t know where to look to find information and just muddled through. Below I will talk about why my family has loved our sling so much, but in summary;
- Baby wearing brings health benefits to you and to baby
- Nearly anyone can baby wear, you just have to find the carrier that suits you
- It’s fun!
So, both of my babies were preemies. This meant I learnt pretty early on that pregnancy is considered by many an 18month process! – It’s not that scary really. It just means 9 months in the womb and 9 months out of the womb. When baby is in they get all their food from you, hear your heart beat all the time, enjoy your warmth, your smell and your voice 24-7. And when they are born, although there is a big wide world for them to discover they still want to to have you close by to help them feel calm, safe and relaxed.
I was lucky enough to enjoy Kangaroo care with my little ones. This was promoted in the UK but in Asia I had to fight for it. The Asian nurses where always amazed at how well my baby slept, fed, settled and developed compared to the other babies. It wasn’t rocket science to me and the Western nurses. We had all seen babies thrive from skin to skin care. It meant that I was able to take my babies home once they hit a good weight and could control their body temperature. Once I had become addicted to the ongoing cuddles that I enjoyed with my little ones I didn’t want to give that up to quickly. To save my back and my arms I had to get a baby carrier…
So here is my top ten reasons, in no particular order for why baby wearing can be great for both the baby wearer and baby;
Less crying / colic
- According to the paediatricians newborns cry more in the first 6 weeks than at any other time. This is just when you are getting over the birth and getting used to interrupted sleep, feeding and a whole new lifestyle with a new addition to the family. Some babies are described as having Colic and drops may be suggested. Newborn baby wearing is another way to calm a baby and give them comfort and rock them. With a baby sling you can do this and still get on with all the other things you need to do – washing, eating etc. This helps bring calmness to you and to baby.
Better development – physical and mental
With baby so close to you they can learn so much from you. There is medical evidence that baby wearing promotes social and physical development. They are up close to you and can hear your voice, see what is around them (as their scope of vision gets wider) and enjoy more of the world from this safe viewpoint. Studies have shown that babies that are carried learn more and are more attentive, helping the brain to develop.
Reflux is horrible and for a parent or carer it is distressing to see little one suffer and worrying that food just doesn’t seem to stay down. Health professionals recommend keeping a baby with reflux upright for 30-40minutes after a feed. A wrap is a great way to do this and keeps baby upright and close to you so you can keep an eye on how they are doing.
Babies can fall asleep anywhere. You must have seen the clips on Youtube or You’ve Been Framed of babies falling asleep into their food, on the dog, in a puddle.. They are funny but as a parent you would rather your little one slept somewhere safe and sound. As we leave hospital we are all given the information packs about SIDS. You are advised to keep an eye on a sleeping baby, make sure their airway is clear and try to get them to sleep on their back. Well, my youngest was always a little squirmer and preferred to sleep on his tummy or side. To keep him safe and to increase my peace of mind he would often nap in the sling, on me or whoever was looking after him. The close contact gave him a calmer, sounder and longer sleep every time.
Being so close to your baby helps to build and reinforce that bond between you and your little one. This works for mothers, fathers, grandparents and any other care giver. My little ones where both put in wraps and tied to Nana’s back when they were little so that she could get on with her tasks and chores. In Hong Kong I had a helper who used to take my youngest out with her when she went to the shops. She is also a great singer so he got to enjoy many songs as they went on their way – and he loves music know and learns his nursery rhymes VERY quickly!
Babies often cry to let you know they are hungry. But before they do that they do give other cues to let you know that they want food. Newborns will put their hand to their mouth or turn their head as if searching for their milk. If you are carrying baby you can read these cues quickly. If you are breastfeeding is also said to help maintain pro lactation toxytocin levels. Routine carrying in the first month from birth can help for a longer duration of being able to breastfeed. Slings and wraps can also help you to feed anywhere discreetly.
Having a little one means you have even more to do and even less time to do it in. Baby carrying means you can have your little one in view, happy and safe. You can get on with what you need to do. I found it easier to travel on the bus with a baby in a sling so you don’t worry about getting the buggy on. They are great on planes and trains. Put little one in a sling to walk up and down the aisle to help them settle. Or just stretch your legs if you are flying solo with baby! Some times you just need your hands free – a busy festival, city with narrow cobbled pavements or any time you are traveling with more than one little one to run after!
Positive health benefits
This one isn’t just for baby – it is more about you. Baby carrying can;
- be better for your back and arms,
- enable you to take short daily walks – which can help you tone, strengthen those pelvic floor muscles and regain fitness postpartum,
- be good for maintaining your bone density as it is gentle weight lifting (within the permitted weight restriction if you had a c-section),
- let you and baby join workouts,
- help with post natal depression – the regular exercise, getting out and about and the closeness can all help a little.
A confident parent is a happy parent, and often has a happy child. By carrying your baby regularly you become able to read your baby’s cues. You are finely attuned to their gestures and facial expressions. This means that when baby wants to let you know that they need you they can do this. They don’t have to cry to get your attention. This builds their trust in you, enhances their learning and reinforces both their confidence and yours.
Fun – and cuddles!
Who doesn’t want constant cuddles? Having a baby or a toddler at eye level with you helps you both enjoy the world from the same viewpoint. It helps them feel more a part of your life.
So these are my top tens reasons why baby wearing is great for you and baby
I would love to hear from you any stories you may have about your baby wearing experiences.
Bash n Boo hope you love our blogs and look forward to hearing from you!