The benefits of babywearing
It would be easy to list the practical benefits of carrying your child for there are many, be it doing tasks around the house with free hands through to being able to breastfeed on the go.
To only describe the practical benefits would be to replicate the no nonsense, scheduled, activity led focus that modern parenting guides espouse. However, babywearing is much more than that, it contributes to a symbiotic, responsive, relationship that grows in tandem with your child.
A baby has grown in-utero, an environment of gentle warmth, sounds of a heartbeat and familiar muffled voices that will surround her days. The first contact with her mother or father is when she is placed on a warm chest where she immediately feels relaxed as she breathes in your scent. This is a comfort that she craves and it is no surprise, particularly in the early months - known as the fourth trimester - that she cries when she is away from her caregiver.
Consistent responding to needs means the child becomes healthily attached; she knows she is safe. This research concluded that children whose comfort needs are consistently met achieve a greater sense of independence in later life. These happy chemical reactions don’t just benefit the child. They are an important factor for helping with bonding and assuaging the detrimental impact of postnatal depression. These benefits cannot be downplayed.
In the early days - the never-ending hours of feeding and sleeping - babywearing means she is close to you. Should you choose to breastfeed she does not need to move, you can feed her in the wrap. At other times, head against your chest where you can feel her breath she takes in the world around her. She hears your familiar sounds, as she looks into your eyes, or as she is lulled to sleep by your motion and the sound of your heartbeat.
A wrap is more than a practical alternative to a buggy - space saving as it is. This finely crafted piece of cloth is a blanket to comfort her, imbued with familiar smells. Toddlers are particular and they gravitate to certain wraps and ask to be carried in them.
It would be impossible to list all the benefits of babywearing for they cover a period much longer than babyhood. Just some additional benefits that came from parents are:
- - Wraps are space saving, at home and when travelling
- - You can go on muddy, sandy, all terrain, walks and negotiate places that a buggy/stroller just cannot
- - It’s easier to negotiate busy places with less stress for you and your child
- - On public transport carrying your child is a no brainer
- - Your child cannot get lost in an unfamiliar place if they’re on your back
- - For a baby that suffers from reflux, the upright position of carrying eases the symptoms
- - Carrying is great for developing both you and your child's core muscles. Good for recovering a sense of fitness for the person carrying and good for the child's stability
- - When little toddler legs get tired your beautiful scarf (a shorter wrap) is ready to carry your child
- - Carrying a younger child means you can play, hold hands with or push the scooter of an elder child
Babywearing often starts with a tiny baby so it seems right to end with the words of a mother who is carrying her second, newborn, child. It’s the simple things that matter:
“I can eat using two hands!! I can pee! I can make my own cup of tea – all while carrying my baby which is what he wants! These things get me through the early days. Shame you can’t shower while wrapping or get dressed for the day too”.