Babywearing: 14 Reasons to Wear Your Baby

babywearing

Babywearing, a necessity in cultures wherein the mother must return to manual labour almost immediately after the birth of her baby, is becoming more and more popular in the western world. Babywearing is practical, affordable (assuming you don’t develop a serious sling addiction… ahem), safe and a wonderful way to bond with your baby. I am passionate about babywearing and wanted to put together a list of all the reasons why it rocks my world!

1. It’s way easier than lugging a pushchair around. Don’t get me wrong, I love our parent-facing pushchair and it comes in very handy sometimes – like when it’s peeing down with rain and too windy for an umbrella – but trying to cart that thing around shops is a flippin’ nightmare. And don’t even get me started on using public transport with a pushchair in tow. If I had a penny for every filthy look I’ve ever gotten from a senior citizen whilst awkwardly trying to get my pushchair on board alongside all the others without crashing into anybody and whilst attempting to placate two kids, I’d be a very rich lady.
2. It’s arguable that babywearing is vital when you have more than one kid. If it wasn’t for our Kari-Me wrap (and later, the Ellaroo wrap), the first 4 months of Squish’s life would have been way more difficult than they needed to be. Babywearing leaves you hands-free to chase after older siblings, tidy up, hold hands in the street and give big cuddles.
3. Worn babies have an advantage when it comes to growth and development. Because babywearing brings the baby up to adult level, they are generally interacted with more than if they were down low in a pushchair. Also, because most babies are more content when they are being carried in a comfy sling, they spend more time in the “quiet alert” state – the optimum state for learning. In other words, they are taking it all in.  Before anybody jumps down my throat, I am not trying to say that babies in pushchairs don’t grow or develop properly – of course, they do.  I just personally believe that carrying them gives them a shot at *optimum* growth and development.

Read the Ellaroo Wrap Review

4. Babywearing is a great way to promote connection with your baby. The physical closeness that babywearing involves is crucial to babies’ healthy growth and development. Of course, there are plenty of ways to be close to your baby, and wearing them is just one of them. 5. Slings are generally much cheaper than pushchairs. Obviously there are some exceptions to the rule, but generally you can purchase a quality wrap, mei tai or SSC (soft structured carrier) for much less than a travel system would cost. 6. It saves you money! When I am wearing Squish around town, I am far less likely to make unnecessary purchases because I have to carry my bags, rather than just hanging them on the pushchair. For a serial impulse-buyer like myself, this is a serious plus point.
7. Babywearing facilitates good sleep. Many babies nap better and for longer when being carried in a sling. Many parents also report that their baby’s night-time sleep improves when they start carrying them in a sling during the day – Monkey’s certainly did!
8. Babywearing helps keep you fit! After all, it takes a good chunk of extra calories to lug a baby around on your back. This means you will probably lose the baby weight faster than you would have otherwise (or it means you can have extra chocolate. I bet you can guess which one I went for). Also, carrying a heavy baby around will certainly strengthen your muscles and improve your posture – providing you use a carrier that distributes the weight evenly, such as a woven wrap or a mei tai.
9. I’ve found that babywearing is a great conversation starter. Somebody usually asks me where I got my Melkaj mei tai from, or how on earth I manage to get Squishy onto my back without help. When you walk into a toddler group and you don’t know anybody, it’s always good to have some kind of talking point.

Read the Kari-Me Wrap Review

10. Babywearing is a great tool for caring for high-needs babies. High needs babies often won’t tolerate being held by anybody other than their mamas, but very few of them can resist sleep when tucked into a comfy wrap, no matter who is wearing them. This can give mama an opportunity for some well-deserved down time.
11. Babywearing makes on-the-go breastfeeding easy peasy! And for those of us who like to cover up when nursing, your wrap thrown over your shoulder works great as a cover and means you don’t have to carry anything extra around with you.
12. Worn babies tend to cry less. Research by Hunziker and Barr (1986) found that babies who were worn regularly cried 43% less, and 54% less during the evening hours. It is speculated that because their needs for physical contact are being met, they have less need to cry than other babies. Obviously there will always be exceptions, but this has certainly been the case in my experience.
13. Babywearing helps prevent over-stimulation in the baby. When worn correctly (facing inwards, on the front, back or side), the baby is able to turn their face away and switch off from the world if needs be. Babywearing can also be a fail-safe way to calm down a baby that has become overstimulated.
14. And finally… because what on earth could possibly be better than having your favourite person within easy gazing, snuggling, sniffing and kissing distance? I adored carrying Squish around as a newborn. Having his tiny little frame wrapped snugly upon my chest was the best feeling ever. Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing him on my back now he’s a great chunk of a baby, but you just can’t beat having a tiny newborn in a FWCC (front wrap cross carry), with a warm coat zipped over them, walking on a cold, wet, winter night.

What’s your favourite thing about wearing your baby?

Comments

  1. lalla says

    i love this! im an avid baby wearer myself (i have a spoc wrap, a mei tai and a sling :p )with a high needs/velcro baby, its been essential for her, but i find its also essential for me! if my bubba isnt on me or right next to me, i crave her gaze and her scent, lol. her older sis was worn also, and is now the most self assured little girl i have ever met! great article imogen! i couldnt love it any more than i do, im going to share this with everyone! :)

  2. sonia says

    i desperately wanted to wear my baby, but with existing back problems and a (real emergency) c section, i was unable to :(
    i made sure he was always facing me in his pram though!

  3. Christine says

    I received a Moby wrap when my son was two weeks old. My 9.9lb newborn loved it instantly and so did I! He would nap in it while I cooked and cleaned. I ride the bus everywhere and have seen many parents struggle with suv sized strollers, I was not among them. Everybody loves an adorable newborn and I’ve had all sorts of people come up to me and fuss over my baby. It was comforting to know that he was always within clutching distance. Wearing him upright also helped with his neck muscles so he was able to hold his head very young. Now I tell all my expectant friends that a Moby wrap is a must for their mommy arsenal!

    • says

      Thank you for your comment! ah yes, a good stretchy wrap is a newborn must-have! I’m glad you’ve had such a positive reaction to wearing your son. I love it when people coo over Squishy when i’m carrying him – if he were in the pushchair, he would probably be ignored a lot more!

  4. Rachel says

    I’ve got to say the biggest benefit has to be the kissing distance, sometimes I think she will develop a bold spot on that little head, so darn cute.

  5. says

    I have to add one of my favorite reasons to wear my high-needs/velcro baby is that people don’t try to touch her as much. At least they didn’t when she was tiny. Since she was a preemie, it was nerve wracking when people would randomly touch her without asking! Now, she likes to be carried and worn as an almost 2-year-old so she has a better view of the world and her little legs just can’t carry her for very long.

  6. Amy says

    For the first couple of months (post NICU) I wore my babe. But then it got to be too painful, so I had to stop with the wraps – even the moby wrapped properly hurt. I still held her as often as I could and she slept with me a lot, or next to my bed. How the time flies by – she’ll be 5 in a couple more months & I’m not ready to send her to school.

  7. Jen says

    Another reason to wear your baby – it’s tremendously helpful for those with severe reflux, as it helps keep them upright and that means the acid isn’t as likely to travel up into their esophagus. My 2nd child had erosive esophagitis because of reflux and having her in the sling was the only way to nurse her without her pulling off the breast in pain, and was pretty much the only way I could function without putting her down, since lying down exacerbated the reflux. Literally, it saved my daughter’s life, since she had virtually stopped nursing until I figured it out.

  8. Milla says

    One of the main reasons to carry a baby which is sadly overlooked (because it is just so simple and obvious) is that it is impossible for a baby to burp when lying down. I can’t stress enough that burping is a vital part of caring for a newborn. They need to burp throughout the day, just like us, and being upright in a wrap is the easiest way to achieve this without as much patting, rocking, rubbing, jiggling, rotating etc etc. Babies do not latch well if they have a bubble trapped in their upper digestive tract, and often the discomfort can become pain. Feeding a baby on top of a bubble of air is often the cause of reflux and spitting up. If your baby grumbles and makes a lot of noise in her sleep, try burping her and putting her back down, most will drop off again. Unless of course you are wearing her, then she can burp and sleep without much help from you :) Another serious consequence of not burping your baby whenever he or she needs it is that the bubbles have nowhere to go but down, and this is often the cause of the “mysterious” 5pm screaming session which can last for hours, starting the second dad walks in the door. Gas trapped in the intestines is not just uncomfortable, it is excruciating, as can be clearly observed from these babies’ crunched faces, balled fists and guttural cries of pain. This is often called “colic” and babywearing parents usually have little or no experience of this, thank heavens!

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