5 Benefits of Babywearing

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I am a HUGE fan and advocate for the practice of Babywearing. Babywearing is simply using a sling or carrier of some sort to keep baby close and has benefits for both parents and babies. Babywearing is a practice that has been used in cultures around the world for centuries! It wasn’t until more recent times that Mama’s moved away from wearing their babies.

 

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As a Certified Nurse Midwife, I have had many conversations with parents about the reasons and benefits to wearing their baby. A phrase you may hear providers use is “9 months on the inside, 9 months on the outside”. What I think is AWESOME is science is now proving what our maternal instincts already knew. We are meant to keep our babies close to us!! Simply put, babies spend an average of 266 days in utero, then another average of 266 days passes before they learn to crawl. (Reference 1) And we need to keep our babies near to encourage and facilitate their development.

5 Benefits of Babywearing

1. Less crying! Babies who are carried/worn have been shown to cry less than babies who aren’t. Studies have shown that babies who are carried for 3 hours per day cry 43% less overall and 54% less during evening hours. (Reference 2) By the way, this study is from 1986! The science and research has been around for a while!! As a mama of 3, I understand the stress and anxiety of a crying baby. Less crying = less stress = happier parents and happier baby.

2. Babywearing promotes infant development Babywearing has numerous benefits to infant maturation and development. Being close to Mama or Daddy’s chest helps regulate baby’s breathing and body temperature. Babies who are worn are able to develop head/neck control, arm strength, and balance/inner ear development. (Reference 3) Babies who are worn also tend to spend more time in a state researchers call “quiet alertness”; this is the time when babies can interact with and learn from their environment. (Reference 4)

3. Babywearing promotes successful breastfeeding This is really a benefit of convenience. With baby’s close proximity to the breast, it is easy to have baby latch and nurse on demand. Being in a sling/carrier also allows for discrete breastfeeding as there is coverage of the chest area. I distinctly remember grocery shopping while wearing my son who wanted to nurse. He was about 10 months old and actually pulled down my tank top and self attached! I didn’t have to do a thing…except continue my grocery shopping! Scientifically speaking, baby’s close proximity to the breast also encourages production of Oxytocin (the Love Hormone). Oxytocin increases breast milk production and maintains our supply. (Reference 5)

4. Increased bonding Our friend Oxytocin also plays a role in bonding with our babies. You know that relaxed, euphoric feeling you have when snuggling a baby/having a baby fall asleep on your chest? That is Oxytocin. Oxytocin promotes positive attachments and feelings of love and security in our brains. Babywearing parents and their babies have higher levels of Oxytocin which in turn promotes increased bonding.

5. Free hands! Another benefit of convenience! When we are wearing our babies, we are able to continue our daily tasks with both hands. If we have our babies in a sling/carrier, we can still cook, clean, eat, fold laundry, grocery shop, etc! All the while having the security of having our baby close and being able to tend to his/her needs. Back to the grocery shopping trip…I loved wearing my son in a wrap while shopping. I was able to push my buggy without having an infant seat attached, use both hands to get items from shelves, and not worry about someone touching my baby if my back was turned to grab an item from shelves. That last one might sound a bit nutty, but all of my babies were premature and being exposed to things like the flu or RSV could have had serious consequences for them.

 

Now, there are many types of carriers available. My personal favorite was the Moby wrap. Moby wraps can be configured in a variety of ways and I was able to use it from the newborn stage through toddlerhood.

 

The Moby Wrap comes with an instruction booklet that shows you various methods for using the wrap.  I kept that in my vehicle for a quick reference if I needed a reminder. There are tons of tutorial videos online that you can watch for a real time lesson. You can click the following affiliate link to purchase a Moby Wrap from Wal-Mart. There are several color options and price points.

Have you worn your babies? What was your experience?

I hope you consider babywearing for you and your little one. #wearallthebabies

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