Baby Wearing, defined as the act of wearing or carrying your baby whether it’s with a carrier, sling or cloth, has been prevalent for centuries. Nomadic people would wear their babies to travel more effectively, whilst families in Africa, Mexico and many other parts of the world continue to use traditional carriers to wear their babies daily. In more recent years, we have seen more baby carrier brands emerging and offering various modern upgrades, but the objectives all remain the same — to allow parents to keep their baby close and handsfree.
“Carrying your baby is essential to their normal physical, psychological and neurological development. Human bodies are adapted to be a carrying species, it is part of our evolutionary history, however, our bodies are not as fit or as strong as our nomadic ancestors. It can be hard to carry in arms for prolonged periods of time. Nevertheless, babies need to be held, so a good, safe sling can be very useful in to help with increasing carrying frequency.” Carrying Matters
According to Carrying Matters, a support website run by the award winning Dr Rosie Knowles, there are plenty of benefits to baby wearing, both for baby and wearer. Here are a handful of key benefits:
- It encourages bonding with the parent and helps to meets baby’s strong need for a sense of security and attachment, which will lead to greater confidence and independence later in life, as well as greater resilience and better long-term physical health.
- It helps to regulate temperature, heart and respiratory rates, and emotional and physical growth. This can be especially useful for premature babies (the term “kangaroo care” and “fourth trimester” come from this concept) or children who are unwell.
- It promotes and encourages the establishment of a successful breastfeeding relationship, in part due to the oxytocin release from the soft touch. Mothers who carry their children in soft slings are more likely to breastfeed beyond the early weeks.
- Soft touch has many benefits for neurodevelopment and and helping the social brain to form.
- Regular close skin contact is believed to help babies regulate their circadian rhythms better and distinguish the difference between night and day sleep.
As well as these very official and sensible benefits, we’ve rounded up some of our own favourite reasons to baby wear, as told by mums:
- Eating your lunch (and subsequently brushing crumbs off baby’s head)
- Preparing breakfast and cooking dinner
- Walking the dog and getting chores done – baby seems to like the noise of the hoover!
- Replying to emails (no one is judging the spelling mistakes)
- Popping to the shop – as long as you don’t come out with several bags for life
- Taking selfies with bubba or having a little dance together
- School run for bigger kids
- Getting some exercise in! Baby wearing is a workout.
- Carrying toddlers when they refuse to get in the pram or walk nicely!
- Twins! So handy for soothing one baby while dealing with the other
Do you wear your baby? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!