The benefits of baby wearing
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.
Even though your newborn may be pint sized, 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. If you are a mama on-the-go, wearing your baby is a great option.
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, studies by anthropologists have noted that in Western culture we measure crying in hours, whereas traditional baby-wearing 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 of 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. When my son was a newborn and beyond, babywearing was my personal lifeline for having a happier baby and being a happier mama.
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 of 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 stroller or a bouncer. Enhanced environmental experiences have proven to lead to greater nerve stimulation and connections, which help the brain to grow and develop.
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 and size, 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 use and adjust as needed.
Our Tot approved Baby Carrier Picks
Designed to distribute the weight evenly all over your upper body, never tugging on your shoulders or back, Solly baby wraps provide a comfortable solution for both parent and baby. Their baby wraps work to help calm even the fussiest babies by providing a safe, comfortable and secure womb-like environment for the baby. Solly has just released its New Standard Wrap Carrier, which is recommended for sizes Petite, XS, Small, Medium and Large, with the main difference from the original XL being the amount of times you will wrap the tail ends around your waist before tying the double knot.
Ergobaby’s revolutionary Four Position 360 Carrier offers parents the convenience of four carry positions, including an ergonomic front-outward facing position, while maintaining the highest standards in ergonomic design to ensure safety and maximum comfort.
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
- Stay tuned for Babytalk’s “Babywearing 101” online class coming soon!
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!