I could rave about the wonders of babywearing for a long time. (Totally my chosen subject on Mastermind...or maybe Star Trek 🤭). Bonding, cuddles, an easy baby transport method... But what about some of the less obvious benefits?
Here are my 10 and I'd love to hear about any others!
1. FEEDING - both breast and bottle feeding, especially in the early days, require you to learn your baby's unique "feeding cues". Being snuggled up close together in a sling mean your baby's little movements or sounds which may indicate hunger can be seen and heard and picked up on before the crying. Yay!
2. COMMUNICATION - simply by being up close to your face your baby can see your facial expressions, hear tone of voice, be part of listening to conversations from the very beginning. My youngest son is partially deaf. I wonder perhaps if him being up close to me for his earliest years meant that he could fill in the sound gaps that he had? Being part of social interaction is going to help with speech development, language development and understanding social norms.
3. PND/PNA - this is where the practical act of babywearing can be especially helpful. No matter how you are feeling, the sling can offer practical support and comfort. My anxiety led me to fear that Anna might just stop breathing. Having her wrapped in a sling meant that just by placing my hand on her body I could feel she was ok.
4. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT - I've lost count of the number of people who have said to me "oh they'll never walk if you carry them all the time". Thing is, by carrying your child you are engaging their vestibular system (balance) which is crucial for learning to move and walk and crawl. From a lovely up high vantage point, baby can also see the interesting world all around and is likely to be super interested in getting involved. Again encouraging getting up and moving!
5. GIVES RELIEF WHEN SICK - holding your baby close, especially skin to skin (which can be done in a sling) helps to regulate baby's breathing , baby's heart rate and temperature. All things they can struggle with when feeling poorly. And keeping a baby upright when they are snotty and bunged up can bring relief.
6. LOWERS STRESS - gentle touch, skin to skin, being hugged and held, all trigger oxytocin. Oxytocin induces anti-stress like effects such as a reduction of blood pressure and cortisol levels. This works for both you and baby. If baby is crying and you're not sure what to do, try the sling! If you're feeling stressed , pop baby in the sling and go for a walk!
7. EASY SLEEP - put your hand up if you've ever struggled to get a child to sleep 🙋 . But I've also happily used the sling to lull a newborn right the way through to toddler hood to sleep. Be it for nap time or night time or middle of the night. And don't worry about people saying you should get your baby to sleep on their own. I'm not still babywearing my 8 year old to sleep!
8. REFLUX - now I know reflux is a complicated matter, but for some, carrying baby in a sling can help. They are upright , warm and soothed by gentle swaying or walking. Phew.
9. FRIENDSHIP - some of my bestest friends now are those who I have met through babywearing. They encourage and support me. Share parenting methods and ideals and egg me on to buy new wraps. #babywearingbesties getting to a local sling library is a great place to meet other babywearers!
10. JUGGLING FAMILY LIFE - especially necessary the more children you have. I often help mums at sling library who have had their second baby but their first child is still a toddler who needs chasing. or big kids need holding hands while on the school run. A sling can be a life saver in these situations.
As I've been writing this I'm thinking of others...maybe i'll save them for a part 2!
babywearing for the win!