Babies Development Emotional development/bonding – Babies are born with the instinctive need to be close to us as parents all the time. Babywearing allows us as parents to support this need, helping create a strong bond between parent and baby. Studies showed that babies who were worn in a sling by their parents (either parent) for 3 hours a day, cried 48% less than babies that weren’t. Babies give off cues which let us know what they are needing at that time. Feeding cues, tired cues, playful cues etc. When you wear your baby you are able to pick up on the earliest signals of those cues in their body language rather than waiting until the verbal cue that follows. This helps your baby develop security, knowing their needs are being met quickly.
Breastfeeding – Babywearing can be a great support for Breastfeeding. Skin to skin contact within a sling or just keeping baby close to the feeding mother can help maintain milk supply. It helps the body create love hormones (oxytocine), relaxing both mother and baby which can aid in the release of the milk from the breasts and decrease the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) which can interfere with the baby's development.
Social and early language skills – wearing your baby gives them the opportunity to be at an ideal distance from you to communicate. Parents who babywear instinctively talk to their babies more than those who don’t. Hearing up close, conversations you have with other people, taking turns to talk, changing tones of your voice, are all skills that they will familiarise themselves with earlier when worn in a sling than if they were in a pram.
Physical development – being worn in a sling can support a baby in their development of head control and core strength, in a very similar way to that of ‘tummy time’. It also gives the opportunity for them to develop their sense of balance and coordination earlier than if they were in a pram the majority of the time. Your movement in all directions (leaning from side to side, stepping up or stepping down, etc) is very different to the movement they experience when they are laid in a pram.
Reflux – many babies suffer from reflux. This is where milk consumed does not remain in the stomach but is regularly brought back up again. It can be very uncomfortable for the baby and worrying for the parents. Remaining upright after feeds can reduce the symptoms of reflux. Carrying your baby in a sling would mean being able to keep your baby in an upright position while continuing with daily tasks.
For the parent Babywearing gives the parents the opportunity to provide for all the babies needs as mentioned above while having both hands free to care for older siblings or do daily tasks around the home. You can walk the dog on the beach or in the woods, places you can’t take a pram. There are social groups where you can meet other parents and exercise classes specifically designed for babywearing.
There are many other benefits also, these are just a few of the big ones. I hope this has given you something to think about.