The Benefits of Babywearing
More than just a trend, babywearing has many benefits for both you and for baby. Read along as Babytalk Babywearing Expert, Erica Desper, shares 3 key benefits that will make you a believer.
Though your newborn may be pint size, you actually expend loads of energy carrying her in your arms. Wearing your baby not only requires less energy output, but it also frees up your hands for other things such as tending to siblings, folding laundry or grabbing a bite to eat. Are you a mama “on-the-go”? Whether you’re an urban or suburban Mom, wearing your baby is a great option in place of a bulkier stroller when you’re out and about with your babe.
Reduces crying and boosts sleep
Research has shown that carried babies cry less than your average non-carried baby, up to 54% less in fact. In addition, anthropologists who study other cultures have noted that in Western culture we measure crying in hours, whereas babywearing cultures measure crying in minutes. This is done because they are simply not seeing babies cry for extended periods of time like we do in Western cultures. So, why the stark contrast?
Well, it helps if we think about it in terms of a baby’s gestation being 9 months in the womb, and 9 months outside the womb. When they arrive, they aren’t truly ready to be here. Babywearing allows us to help mimic their womb environment, ultimately helping them to better self-regulate. Mom’s movements help to mimic the motion baby experienced in the womb. Mom’s sounds such as her heartbeat and rhythmic breathing also help baby to regulate her own breathing. These familiar sensations lead to a calmer state for both baby and mama. Baby thus expends less energy, releases less stress hormones, and as a result gets more sleep. It’s a win, win! Babywearing was my personal lifeline to a happier baby and mama when my son was in that newborn stage, and beyond!
Lastly, we’ve established that research shows a carried baby spends less time crying and fussing. So the question is, what does she do with all that free time? Learn, of course! A carried baby spends more time in a state of “quiet alertness” which is, in fact, the only state where they can take in information from their environment and learn. Not only is baby in an optimal state for learning but the 180° degree view of her environment, as well as the social interactions that occur when worn, are vastly different from say lying in a device such as a stroller or car seat. Enhanced environmental experiences have proven to lead to greater nerve stimulation and connections, which help the brain grown and develop. To say a carried baby learns a lot in the arms of a busy Mama, would be an understatement!
To get started wearing your baby you’ll want to try on a range of carriers to find one that suits your build and your baby’s age/size best as well as your needs. Some carriers are ideal for long periods of wearing while others are easier to pop baby in and out more frequently. Some are easier to nurse in as well. A babywearing group can help you determine this, as well as some retailers who encourage a “try before you buy” approach. Just remember the “best” carrier is not always the most popular carrier, but rather the one that fits you most comfortably and is easiest for you to both use and adjust as needed.
Want to try it out or learn more? Here are some resources that may help:
To find a group near you visit Babywearing International
To find a personal consultant visit the Center for BabyWearing Studies
For tips on how to wear your baby safely visit The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance
Erica Desper founded Confident Parenting in 2012, as a certified baby and child sleep coach and is an integral part of the Babytalk Team. Her sleep-saving approach and compassionate support has helped hundreds of families in and around the Philadelphia area and internationally to improve the quality of their families’ sleep. She is also a postpartum doula, infant massage instructor, babywearing educator and mom to son, Jaiden who, as an infant, was very good at crying and not very skilled in sleeping!