Benefits of Babywearing
BABYWEARING HAS SO MANY BENEFITS!
Wearing your baby has been around for centuries for a reason! As caregivers we know that having a child (or multiple children) is not predictable or easy. With babywearing, you’re able to give -and receive- the amazing benefits of being in close contact with baby; it not only comforts them and helps develop their neck and trunk control, but it also allows you to remain hands-free and able to take on whatever the day throws your way! Let’s take a look at some of the great things you can look forward to when you choose to babywear.
We all have rough days. Kids fight naps, battle with new teeth, fall down and hurt themselves, have anxieties about new people and new environments; but, when wearing your baby, you are in close, direct contact. They can feel your heartbeat, hear your breath, feel the comfortable pressure from your hugs, and are close enough to kiss or be reassured with quiet words. Children, especially young babies, need and thrive when their comfort needs are being met. Whether it’s an infant needing to be held and rocked/kept in constant contact, or an older child needing cuddles and a reset from their big feelings, babywearing is a great way to comfort your child, co-regulating, and strengthening the bond between the little human being worn and the wearer.
YOU CAN MULTITASK
Caregivers often carry a large and invisible mental load, so knowing your child is safe and close helps to remove a bit of the worry and distraction, and makes daily tasks, like chores or helping other kids, easier to achieve!”
Whether you have one kid or ten kids, being able to accomplish multiple things at one time is definitely a time saver. Have you ever tried to go grocery shopping with a tired baby? They get fussy, and want to be held, and you’re trying to cross off the items on your list, and stranger are reaching in to touch them, and they want to wiggle out of the cart seat, and by the time you make it home you realize you were so distracted that you forgot the most important item on your shopping list…Babywearing is a great way to keep baby happy and comfortable, and you focused and confident while you accomplish necessary tasks throughout the day. Caregivers often carry a large and invisible mental load, so knowing your child is safe and close helps to remove a bit of the worry and distraction, and makes daily tasks, like chores or helping other kids, easier to achieve! Now, walking the dog with a child who suddenly doesn’t want to walk isn’t as difficult. Or helping your oldest get ready for kindergarten at 7 am seems a little less daunting. Having your hands free and not having to always plan around a napping or cranky baby easily slides into the pro column for babywearing.
FEED DISCREETLY AND (USUALLY) HANDS FREE
Feeding a baby while babywearing has to be one of the coolest things you can do! Whether by chest or by bottle, being able to feed your baby while walking around or doing another task is really convenient and can further the bond between baby and wearer. When baby is small, feeding can take up a huge amount of time; their tiny stomachs cannot hold much and they seem to be either eating or getting ready to eat, again. With a few adjustments (such as simply loosening the carrier and lowering baby, in the pocket, to a slightly reclined position) you can latch baby on, or present a bottle. At first, you may need one or two hands to help support the baby’s head, or to get them in the right position; as they grow and have better control,and as you get more confident, feeding can eventually be hands free!
GREAT FOR SOCIAL AND COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
Kids are curious and always learning. Some watch what you and others do, or listen to your voice and surrounding sounds, and many of them even give their own feedback on what they are processing. Babywearing helps kids with their social and cognitive skills by making helping them to absorb the world around them, all while feeling safe and secure. From their resting point (usually, on your chest or hip) kids process, in their own ways, how you interact with things and people around you. Some can hear or feel you talk on the phone, or sing songs with them, chat with your spouse or friend. Some children can see your facial expressions and many can read your body language and many learn and their natural curiosities are satisfied by being in the passenger seat while you engage with and navigate a world that, to them, is new and wondrous. From the comfort of your arms, kids can confidently learn how they want to communicate and even pick up other skills that can serve them in the future. Having your child close is a great reminder to involve them in whatever you’re doing! Sportscasting, smiling, singing, guiding their hands to touch (and encouraging them to participate, if they can) will help them feel valued and included in whatever activities you’re accomplishing, that day.
CAN HELP BONDING WITH OTHER CAREGIVERS
Some children can be particular with who they want to hold or comfort them. Although forming a strong bond with a primary caregiver can be very normal, it can also make it difficult to maneuver through certain situations. (We’ve all been there: A caregiver/new relative/well-intentioned helper tries to jump in and help soothe the baby. Nothing seems to work and by the end of it, you are stressed and the person who wanted to help feels defeated. Enter babywearing! A lot of the comfort, especially for infants, can come from familiar movements, and simply being held, snugly and securely. Babies who are accustomed to being worn are more secure and relaxed in a carrier, and will often settle more easily (no matter who is wearing them) since they connect being worn with being in a safe space/having their basic needs met. Babywearing is an effective and gentle way to transition baby into a relationship with a new, short or long term caregiver. While having an infant can be a special/cherished time, we know it’s not always possible for a primary caregiver/parent to have their baby with them, 24/7. Whether you have to head into work, run errands, go to a doctor’s appointment, take a shower, or you just flat out need a break, babywearing makes it possible for any caregiver, parent, grandparent, best friend, or babysitter to step in, and provide comfort for your child!
Babywearing is tried and true, and (most importantly) fun! Wearing children has been done for centuries, by many different cultures all over the world and is a safe, practical, and happiness-inducing (literally causes our bodies to releases oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin!) way to spend time with, and meet the needs of our children, at any stage. Give it a try the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, the next time you or your child need some extra cuddles, or on your next adventure!