7 fantastic benefits of baby carriers and slings
Thursday, 8 October 2015 | Admin
It's International Babywearing Week 2015!
The Benefits of babywearing
A time to celebrate the many benefits of carrying babies in a sling. And to share the knowledge far and wide with parents-to-be and others who haven't yet experienced the joy of it.
We started our babywearing journey a little late, only really discovering the benefits of babywearing properly when our third baby was a few months old. It's the one thing I wish I'd known more about for all three babies, as having researched it extensively since, we should all be doing it!
I recently qualified as a Trageschule babywearing consultant with the lovely Olga Nguyen and that opened my eyes even more to the amazing psychological as well as physical and developmental benefits of carrying your baby close in a sling/carrier.
So let's go through 6 of the most important reasons to use a baby carrier or a sling :
1. Let’s start with practicality:
Every new parent soon realises that no matter how tiny your baby, your arms can still ache after a while of holding them. A sling is a practical way to hold your baby close without tiring yourself. And leaving you hands free to do lots of things you couldn’t otherwise do while holding your little one. Even a quick trip to the shop becomes easier with a sling than unfolding a pram or lugging a car seat! And when you also have a toddler or older kids, your new baby in the sling gives you more mobility to attend to the older ones.
And many baby carriers will last right into toddlerhood (ergobaby, boba 4G), making long walks, hikes or even just quick trips out a simpler experience when wobblers and toddlers get tired.
Pic: Ergo 360 Back Carry from 9 months+
2. Next, some health benefits:
Wearing your baby in a sling has been known to reduce crying and colic. A 1986 study of 99 mother-infant pairs (reported in Paediatrics) showed that carrying babies at least three hours a day can reduce crying and fussing 43% during the day and 51% at night.
Reflux is unfortunately a common complaint for many babies, and carrying your baby in an upright position in their carrier can help keep the acid down in their tummies better than when they are lying on their backs.
When babies are born, their hips aren’t yet fully developed; there is a still lot of cartilage that will form bone in the coming months. So having a healthy squat leg position which can be achieved in an ergonomic carrier like the ergobaby, boba 4g or Beco can really help a baby’s healthy hip development.
3. Now onto some fluffier reasons…Security.
Holding your new baby close in their sling gives them an all-encompassing sense of security, they can smell you, feel you move, watch you, hear you talk and feel cocooned just like they were in the womb. And it develops their sense of balance too.
Sometimes the first few months are called the 4th trimester. Your baby is outside of the womb, but unlike all other mammals, is not yet fully developed or independent. They still need that feeling of closeness and security they had in the womb as they continue to develop and grow. A baby carrier allows baby and parent to feel that sense of togetherness still. Dads can also feel that close physical bond with their little ones in a whole new way while carrying them in a sling.
4. You can respond easily to their signals:
Having your tiny baby so close, you can readily respond to their signals. They can move about to get more comfortable, they can make eye contact to communicate with you or just snuggle in close if they want to sleep. You are more in tune with their needs than you would be if they are lying in a cot or pram away from you.
5. It can help you with breastfeeding:
Some babies, particularly those who are tense or tend to arch their backs, breastfeed better while moving. Also, babies who are slow to gain weight (for no apparent reason) have been known to gain more if carried in a baby sling or carrier for several hours a day, since proximity to mom encourages babies to feed more frequently. Most slings are suitable and discrete for nursing, once you’ve practiced a few times, you get the hang of it easily enough.
6. Your baby becomes a more active participant in daily life:
When you're baby is carried, they are experiencing the world in a different way than they would in a pram, cot or baby bouncer - they are an active participant, moving when you do, smelling your scent, feeling your breath, listening to your heartbeat. This all helps them to develop a better sense of the world. And for you the parent, it lifts the heart when they want to snuggle close and be comforted, or alternatively, excitedly point out things they can see at your eye level.
Enjoy your babywearing journey, its a beautiful thing!!