Kristy provides support for pregnant and laboring mothers and for transitioning families after the birth of their baby.See all posts »
The Importance of Baby Wearing
Have you seen the sitcoms lately with all the men wearing their babies? Baby wearing for men and women seems to be more prevalent. Well, it's not just a fad and it's not just for those practicing attachment-parenting. In fact, it has been practiced all around the world for centuries, and it's not just for infants -- children can be worn up to 3 years of age. Once in a while I still wear my 3 1/2 year old son in a sling. He sits on my hip in it so that we are able to be close and snuggle when he is needing more Mommy time and I have something pressing to get done. Periodically I'll put him in the Ergo towards the end of a really long hike when his little legs have gotten too tired or it's passing nap time.
My husband and I both love carrying our babies on us. We recognize the many benefits for our children that last way beyond infancy. With our first child, my husband would wear him in the sling or Moby and get so many comments from people. Swarms of women would approach him and tell him how sexy he looked. I apparently was invisible and did not get the same reaction. I did, however, get asked all the time how to use the wraps, slings, carriers and where people could find them. That led me to teach a class on it after my "Mommy and Me Yoga" classes. (See my next post for this information)
Baby wearing isn't just beneficial for the baby/child but also for the mama, too. Oxytocin, a mothering hormone, is increased through physical contact with the baby. The release of this hormone stimulates a loving response. Mother's urge to love is directed to the baby, and for the baby, touch equals love, and loved babies develop healthy brains. This closeness and touch also help to establish a more intimate maternal bond, assisting in easier breastfeeding. The occurrence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness is lowered and baby receives optimal care from mama. It's a win-win!
Wearing your baby is essential for bonding but also serves many other purposes. Many days it is how I can soothe baby but at the same time get things done around the house or in the yard with hands free to do so. There are times I wouldn't make it through the dinner time rush unless I wear baby. It's not just soothing for baby but also calms me to have that sweet, warm closeness. Wearing baby also allows me to play with my older boys (even soccer) or read stories to them while keeping baby engaged or letting him sleep on me. It also helps make breastfeeding easier in public. Of course baby wearing is the preferred mode of transport for baby, but also makes it easier to get around places. With the added benefits, why not!
Here are some important reasons why wearing your baby is so valuable and why you may want to do it if you haven't all ready.
Babies who are worn in slings, wraps or carriers:
- Spend less time crying and fussing. Even 3 hours per day of baby wearing reduces infant crying significantly. They are calmer because their primal needs are being met
- Are more alert and organized because the sounds of the womb (mom`s rhythmic voice, heartbeat and respiration) are still helping to regulate the baby
- Are "humanized" sooner. They see and hear everything their wearer sees and hears and can study facial expressions, learn languages quicker and understand body language
- Are smarter because they are intimately involved in the environment of mom and dad. Developmental milestones such as learning to walk, talk, and toilet train are reached earlier
- Develop a close bond with caregiver/ wearer
- Develop better self esteem, feel more secure and safe now and later in life
- Have a decreased risk of flat head syndrome ("positional plagiocephaly") caused by extensive amount of time spent in a car seat and/or sleeping on their back
- Establish Independence earlier
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