Some cultures have experienced for centuries already the benefits of babywearing their children. The Western world caught on, and babywearing has become a standard parenting practice. Numerous research and scientific studies have proven the benefits for parents and their infants.
Mothers and fathers across the world are experiencing the joy of carrying their babies for extended periods. In this article, we answer the most obvious question a beginner would ask, and we list the benefits of babywearing with scientific proof to encourage parents.
Is Baby Wearing Good For Baby?
The short answer is a definite yes. Here are some scientific facts to back the statement.
Having your hands free to attend to other things is one of the most significant benefits of babywearing to busy moms and dads. It is also safer for babies; if the parent stumbles or loses their footing, they have their hands free to protect themselves and their baby.
Although their hands are free, parents should be aware of what they do while carrying the infant. Avoid dangerous activities and situations that may harm the child. For example, do not cook while babywearing your child at the front; you don’t want hot oil spilling on the baby.
Flat Head Syndrome
Sleeping on their back is the safest way for infants to reduce SIDS risk (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). However, sleeping on the back or in one head position, risks the development of a flat head. One of the best babywearing benefits is giving your little one the sleep they need without risking SIDS or flathead. Cuddled against the parent, the infant sleeps peacefully in a vertical position.
A study with 100 women proved that breastfeeding increases with the use of baby carriers. Half of the parents in the study received a baby carrier. All the women received the same breastfeeding instructions. The study showed that moms with baby carriers reported an increase in breastfeeding rates.
An exciting benefit for babies during their discovery of their world is speech development. With babywearing, babies and parents have eye contact, and babies are stimulated by external sounds and their parents’ voices. Babies also experience their parents’ non-verbal facial expressions, which help with speech development.
Postpartum depression is a common illness affecting moms after the birth of their infant. A study with 48 depressed and non-depressed mothers showed that infants reacted positively to the depressed caregiver‘s touch despite a lack of verbal communication or facial expressions.
A study tested the bonding hypothesis that infant-carrying increases bonding between mother and child. In the study, the infants were separated from their mothers after a specific time. The infants whose mothers were babywearing them with infant carriers displayed a more secure maternal attachment than those with infant seats.
Stress and anxiety manifest in a person’s body; your heartbeat increases, and steady breathing patterns become erratic. One of the benefits of babywearing is avoiding these symptoms in your baby by physiologically calming the baby through motion and touch. Babywearing keeps the baby close to the parent’s skin, the infant is consistently being touched by the parent, and the parent’s movement soothes the child.
Babywearing helps parents carry their newborns in ways that are physically and emotionally beneficial to your little one. In the mother’s womb, the baby curls in a fetal position with their knees up and their spine C-shaped.
The benefits of babywearing are that the newborn’s body is supported naturally and allows spine and body development without placing unnecessary stress on the newborn’s body. The infant’s knees are still up, and their spine isn’t prematurely forced to straighten.
Babies and parents enjoy the close contact that babywearing inspires. A ring sling, baby wrap, or baby carrier brings your child to your eye level. Babywearing allows babies to experience the world at the same level as their parents. They see and hear what their parents see and hear while securely wrapped against their parent’s bodies. Being at the same level as the parent establishes joint engagement in what the world has to offer.
It is easier for the parent to respond to the baby’s needs, which stimulates more communication between the two.
One of the greatest babywearing benefits is lifting the physical load from the parent. Baby wraps are small enough to transport in the diaper bag. Portable car seats, foldable strollers, and prams are heavy to carry.
A study in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology reported that carrying a baby drains energy. Parenthood means sleep deprivation and being busy; conserving energy is vital. Carrying your infant in your arms increases energy expenditure, with 16% compared to babywearing.
Preterm Infants Development
Preterm babies have special needs to help them develop and grow. One of the best benefits of babywearing is helping a preterm newborn with developmental growth. A study on 488 preterm infants compared the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) with a standard incubator or open system treatment. The study found that the infants of the KMC babywearing parents gained weight and grew faster.
The study suggested that babywearing should start as soon as possible and continue until 40 weeks of gestational age.
Can You Wear Your Baby Too Much?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you cannot wear your baby too much. Your baby has been in the mother’s womb for nine months, where they were safe and secure. When the baby is born, the newborn must adapt to the outside world.
One of the benefits of babywearing is the secure and safe feeling it gives the newborn. A study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that infant crying decreased 43%s at six weeks old when parents carried their babies an extra three hours per day. According to the AAP, newborns who are picked up immediately when they cry tend to cry less often. Your newborn may soon learn to comfort themselves by holding the blanket, sucking their fist, or clasping their hands.
How Long Should You Baby Wear?
Baby wear your infant for as long as you like. Growing babies weigh more, and they become more active. The best way to know when to stop babywearing is when it is no longer comfortable for the parent or the baby.
Baby carriers are designed with a weight limit. You may continue carrying your baby in the baby carrier, sling, or baby wrap as long as it accommodates the baby and its weight.
Some Benefits Of Babywearing Sources:
Holding the Baby too much? – https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/preemie/Pages/Baby-Wearing.aspx
Baby carrier reduces crying – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3517799/.