What is Babywearing?
Babywearing is exactly as it sounds, wearing your baby on your body. Though it may seem like today’s latest trend, the concept actually dates back centuries and has been practiced in nearly every primitive culture.
What are the Benefits of Babywearing?
Babywearing has many benefits for both parent and child. One of the most important benefits is bonding. The physical contact is a wonderful means of promoting attachment as well as an infant’s sense of security. Father of eight and renowned pediatrician, Dr William Sears is a strong proponent of Babywearing. Sears is also the founder and advocate of Attachment Parenting, as well as an adoptive father himself. Many experts also believe that a strong attachment between parent and child can make discipline easier and more effective.
This type of carrying is also proven to reduce periods of crying in babies. Infants experience fewer episodes of fussiness, allowing for more time learning about the world around them. And according to the Academy of Pediatrics, carrying your newborn in a soft-sided front carrier can reduce crying spells due to colic. How many babies immediately calm when being driven in a car? Likewise, the feeling of being “on the move” can soothe many. And the added benefit of being in an upright position can assist with digestion and reflux related challenges.
Babywearing is extremely beneficial for premature infants as well. Often these babies spend weeks or even months outside of the womb with limited physical contact. In addition to the benefits of bonding and attachment, which also in turn promote growth and development, it is believed that the movement a baby experiences while being carried replicates that of the womb. As a result, these babies gain weight quicker and have fewer episodes of apnea, both major concerns for a premature infant.
And let’s face it, Moms (and Dads) never have enough hands. Wearing your child is practical! Whether it be grocery shopping, doing chores around the house, taking a walk or just working on the computer, having your baby with you is an effective way to juggle all that life requires. And since motion can be soothing as well as having neurological and developmental benefits for all babies, it’s a win-win situation!
Some things to consider when comparing carriers:
- Different styles of carriers- traditional front carriers, slings, wraps or backpacks (for older infants and toddlers).
- Ease of use. Can you reasonably and safely put the carrier on and child in? Or would you need assistance?
- Versatility. Are there numerous carrying positions within a single carrier, or only one?
- How long will the carrier safely and comfortable accommodate your child?
- Does the carrier place repetitious pressure on the back or neck of the wearer?
- Is the weight of the child evenly distributed? And does the child appear comfortable in it?
- Is the carrier easily washed?
A good carrier will last years and is worth investing in. Take you time to do your research and listen to what other moms have to say. When possible, borrow a few different styles from friends and test drive to find which style best suits you and your baby. And finally, enjoy this special time with your child!
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