The Benefits of Babywearingby Sarah Hurst
There are so many benefits to babywearing, for both parents and babies. There are also many different styles of slings and carriers to choose from depending on the age and weight of your baby - front-facing, side carry, back carry, hammock slings, wrap slings… Young babies should always be worn facing inwards with their head fully supported. Stretchy wrap slings are perfect for this, and some well-known baby carriers have an optional ‘newborn insert’ to help with safely wearing small babies.
Wearing your newborn shouldn’t rub on your c-section scar either as you wear your baby much higher up, on your chest, where you can reach your baby’s head (if you can kiss your baby easily, this is perfect!).
It is also really important to choose a sling that keeps your baby’s legs in the M shape, so that the knees are higher than the bottom with thighs supported. Avoid carriers that allow your baby’s legs to dangle down with thighs together.
Do not fall asleep with your baby in a sling.
Now that we have crossed off a few health and safety points, here are just a few of the benefits of babywearing:
4th trimester nurturing
The 4th trimester is a time where your baby will need to be kept close, as an extension of their time in the womb, to continue early development. Wearing a baby mimics their life in the womb as they are gently rocked alongside the mother’s movements, with the familiar sounds and smells of the caregiver.
Connection and bonding
Wearing your baby allows for greater connection and bonding for all caregivers, allowing baby to become familiar with the scent of both parents and get used to them in a safe and relaxing scenario. This helps to build secure connections with the parent without the stress and worry of separation anxiety, leading to long term attachment security and confidence. This is a great way for Father’s to bond with their baby.
Stabilise heart rate and body temperature
Being worn close to the parent's chest, particularly during skin to skin, can help baby to not only stabilise their heart rate, but also their body temperature as they mimic that of the parent.
Helps with reflux
Wearing your baby in a sling keep them in an upright position which is particularly helpful if your child suffers from reflux, which can be made worse when in a lying down position.
Speech and language benefits
Having your baby at the same height as you allows them to watch as you go about your day. Talk through your actions, what you’re doing, what you can see etc. This gives your baby language that they will start to understand way before they can speak - helping to build connections in their brains and make sense of the world around them.
Hands-free for the parent
Wearing your baby in a sling helps you to continue to go about your day - especially if you have a little one who wants to be held all of the time, or you have another child to look after. When my second child was a baby my first required help with toilet training, and of course I still needed to cook dinner, tidy up and play! Being hands-free meant I was able to still do most of these things whilst my baby slept or rested in the carrier on my chest.
Babywearing makes those early months so much easier for parents and babies. If you are unsure of what type of carrier to choose or need help using one - you can visit your local sling library for help, advice and carrier loans too.