Why Carrying Matters
What kind of impact could babywearing have on your life? Maybe you have older children to care for, and being able to carry your smallest hands free would leave you able to play and engage more with them. Maybe you have multiples and carrying one (or more) would give you time to complete household tasks or give one-to-one attention.
Maybe you just want to keep your lovely little ones close!
Whatever your personal reasons, using a sling has so many benefits for both child and carer. Being carried offers a child a warm, comfortable safe place to be, which can reduce crying, improve sleep and support positive attachment with their caregiver (this doesn’t have to be a mother – fathers, grandparents, aunts/uncles and even siblings can enjoy the snuggles!). When a baby is so close to you, you learn to recognise their cues and wants more quickly, which leads to a more settled baby and a less stressed carer. A happy baby is ready to receive the world, and for older children new or busy situations can be navigated with the close contact of their carer.
A baby has spent the last 9 months in a wonderful cocoon, receiving immediate nutrition, reassuring movement, a constant supply of food and the sound of their parents’ voices. Early use of a sling can help a new baby adjust to “life on the outside”, enabling them to feel swaddled (to support the regulation of their arms and legs), hear a heartbeat, enjoy soft movement and fall asleep even while their carer cannot give them 100% of their attention.
Babies who arrive early can especially benefit from skin-to-skin contact and being carried – physical closeness can support them in regulating their physical responses and some research has even shown that premature babies who are carried can gain weight and are generally healthier than those who are not.
Babywearing can also benefit a breastfeeding journey, keeping baby close and being able to immediately respond to their needs (without even necessarily needing to move them from their carrier) supports the responsive, frequent feeding that new babies need. In turn, a sling can provide cover for a mother that would prefer this when feeding in public, and a baby who is fed quickly following their cues is less likely to cry. When a baby has their needs met quickly and their carer knows and understands them, the parent can feel more confident in the knowledge their baby is happy:
A large part of confidence is the ability to read baby’s cues successfully. When a baby is held close in a sling, a parent becomes finely attuned to baby’s gestures and facial expressions….Every time a baby is able to let his parent know when he is hungry, bored, or wet without having to cry, his trust in the parent is increased, his learning is enhanced, and a parent’s confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction enhances the mutual attachment between parent and child, and it makes life more enjoyable for everyone – Laura Simeon
Carrying your children is an economical, physically beneficial (for both baby and carer), developmentally appropriate way to build relationships and encourage communication between wearer and child. Sold? Visit my Sling Library/Hire or Consultancy pages to find out more.
Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A random-ized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648
“Current knowledge about skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care for pre-term infants”. J Perinatol. 1991 Sep;11(3):216-26.
Tessier R, M Cristo, S Velez, M Giron, JG Ruiz-Palaez, Y Charpak and N Charpak. (1998) Kangaroo mother care and the bonding hypothesis. Pediatrics 102:e17.
The Benefits of Baby Wearing, NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 6, November-December 2004, p. 204-208
Sears, W. and Sears, M. The Attachment Parenting Book. Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2001.
THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING. Schaumburg, Illinois: La Leche League International, 2004.
Simeon, Laura. Ten Reasons to Wear Your Baby, www.wearsthebaby.com.
Jess Williamson, Benefits of Slings and Carriers, the 7 C’s, https://babywearingwithjess.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/benefits-of-slings-and-carriers-the-7-cs/