I touched a little on the subject of baby-wearing under Attachment Parenting. It sounds weird based on the term, but it literally means wearing your baby (i.e. in a sling or carrier of some sort). I never thought I would have been one to adapt to carrying around a baby all the time in one of these until I had my son. I was given a carrier for my first child but she never cared for it. With my son, however it took some trial and error as he was a colicky baby that just wanted to be held all the time until I found a sling that worked well for both of us.
Natural parenting and attachment parenting strongly support close infant bonding. Holding your baby close to your chest, near your heartbeat is especially comforting for newborns. It gives babies a sense of security and closeness to mom or dad and provides an extension-of-the-womb experience for baby. This can easily be achieved thanks to the many choices available in baby-wearing gear today.
Benefits of Baby-Wearing
Wearing your baby in a sling or carrier provides many benefits for mom and baby. Here are a few listed:
- Less fuss – it’s a pretty obvious fact that babies who are ‘worn’ by parents are less fussy and cry much less than babies who are not held as frequently. A happy baby = a happy parent. In fact, our culture has us believing that it is normal and acceptable for babies to cry a lot; however in other cultures where baby-wearing is common practice babies cry far less and is considered outside the norm for a baby to cry excessively.
- Babies learn more – babies frequently carried in slings learn more than more isolated babies. This is based on the concept that when a baby is held, they are content and thus focusing on the world around them and absorbing everything. Additionally they get to see the world from a different perspective, as mom or dad sees it, than babies confined to a stroller or left in a play pen.
- Smarter babies – in accordance with the above fact that worn infants learn more, the stimulation babies receive through their environment helps their minds develop sooner. Also, being engaged with the parent in adult conversations among others aids in baby’s speech development and social development.
- Multi-tasking – This is one of the benefits most baby-wearing parents appreciate, having their arms free. With baby held close to mom or dad by a sling or carrier, the ‘wearer’ has free use of their hands to get more tasks accomplished.
Baby wearing is not a new concept. It has been around for as long as babies have existed. Centuries ago, baby-wearing was not just some trend, it was necessary for hard-working women to accomplish tasks while carrying their babies. In some cultures even today, nursing mothers will wear their babies in slings to allow them to suckle throughout the day.
Baby-wearing gear has since come along way from slings made of pieces of cloth that were difficult to figure out. The modernized slings and carriers make it much easier to use and more convenient for parents to give their baby the benefits associated with being ‘worn’ more safely than prior slings. You can see two popular choices in baby carriers in our Buying Guide.