Babywearing has been around for hundreds of years. It was especially important for nomadic tribes who moved from place to place gathering food. Wraps made of animal skins were used to carry their children long ago and then when weaving cloth came about that was used to carry their young babies and children. The types of slings we see today came about 40 years ago. The last 20 years being more popular with dozens of companies creating all types of slings and carriers for today’s modern families.
Babywearing is fun and there are many good reasons to wear your baby. Knowing the most important ones will have a long-term benefit for both child or parent.
Wearing a baby promotes their physical development. Babies are placed on their backs, in car seats, bouncy seats, swings etc. all-day long. They sleep on their backs all night long. These items all put added pressure on the back of the baby’s head which could lead to positional plagiocephaly (flat heads). By limiting their time in these types of equipment it can help prevent this. When a baby is worn by a parent or caregiver the infant becomes connected with them by hearing and feeling their breathing and heartbeat. This stimulation helps baby regulate their own physical responses to develop more strongly as they continue to grow. Touch and closeness is so important for weight gain, infant growth and development. It reminds them of being in the womb and makes them feel secure and safe.
Babywearing helps you learn to communicate better with your baby and read her cues. While holding her so close to us a parent or caregiver becomes familiar with all their little nuances and can tell what they need before they become upset or cry. We learn to communicate with them in another way that gives the parent confidence and the baby/parent trust is enhanced making a stronger bond between them. This is especially great to see when fathers, grandparents and other caregivers can do this and build greater connections with this child.
Finally, babywearing is so convenient. To be able to walk around easily and not have to worry about strangers touching your child. To be able to nurse discreetly in public. To have your hands free if needed and not have to navigate a heavy stroller in a tight or crowded area. Those removable car seats are heavy and leaves baby vulnerable and exposed. Around the house it allows you to get some things done while still holding and caring for your baby. I have often washed dishes or folded laundry as a postpartum doula while carrying a baby in a sling.
Please remember there are some safety guidelines to follow when using a sling or baby carrier so baby does not suffocate or cause stress on her hips. http://www.naturalmamas.co.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2012/03/TICKS2 has a safety information guide to follow. Also, you can find a certified babywearer who can teach you how to wear your sling correctly. There are many volunteers and meet ups that can help. Go to https://babywearinginternational.org/