The Supermom Secret: Babywearing Part 1
Babies love to be carried. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Why do we even study something so fundamental? We all know that babies need their mothers.
All. The. Time.
Both research and mother’s intuitions will confirm that babies are safer, they develop faster, and they are happier in someone’s arms. Babies benefit tremendously from being worn. In our society, we usually demand that science furnish proof for everything prior to our making a decision. Fortunately for moms and babies everywhere, the science points to the benefits of keeping baby close.
As much as you may want to sit around all day just snuggling with your little one, at some point after your baby’s birth, you’re really going to miss having two arms. Many babies turn their noses up at play mats, tummy time, swings and bouncers. Sometimes these devices may buy you a few minutes on your own, but inevitably your baby will recognize your absence and protest their loneliness.
The solution? Baby wearing. Placing your baby in a sling or carrier of some kind keeps baby close while giving you the ability to move around and be productive for a time.
It seems to just makes sense, right? But what’s so great about babywearing? What does science tell us about the benefits of wearing your baby?
Babywearing facilitates bonding. Keeping your baby in a sling or a carrier means that they are in a familiar place: next to you. They know your heart beat, smell, voice and your mannerisms. Keeping baby right next to you makes you sensitive to their every need. Babywearing is a fantastic way for babies to bond with dad too, as wearing them makes them extra attentive to baby’s needs. Baby learns early on that their needs are important to their caregivers which build trust. Many babywearing parents report that the babies they have worn tend to be more laid back and easier to handle.
Babywearing means that baby is learning. The famous Dr. Sears has noted that babies who are being worn are in a state of what he calls “quiet observation.” Your baby is learning about everything about their environment as they watch what you are doing. Quiet means peaceful productivity for mom and dad!
Babywearing helps with baby’s development This is a little known (HUGE) perk of wearing your baby. When they are being worn, your baby is having to adjust to movement in three planes: up and down, side to side and diagonally. Imagine how much baby has to adjust simply when you bend over to pick up your toddler’s toy off the ground. Baby is moving in all three planes by that one act, forcing their balance and their core strength to adapt.
Babywearing is an excellent practice for high needs or reflux babies, who tend to do better in an upright position. Navigating your days with a baby who needs a little extra TLC can be made much easier with a snug upright carrier.
Babywearing helps with breastfeeding. Lactation professionals will tell you that keeping your baby close helps keep your milk supply up. Mother’s bodies are responsive to their babies. When a baby is held close, mothers can smell their baby, since baby’s feeding cues, and respond quickly, thereby nurturing the breastfeeding relationship.
Babies can be worn by either mom or dad to benefit from the practice. And let’s face it: they just look adorable with their little head peeking out of a carrier!
Stay tuned for part two: safety rules for babywearing and types of carriers on the market today.