10 BEST REASONS TO WEAR YOUR BABY
6 babies and many carriers, wraps, and slings later, my absolute hands down favorite for wearing my babies is my beloved Moby Wrap! It is stretchy and comfortable for both my baby and me and they come in an array of colors and patterns. And if this is your first time trying one out, there are countless video tutorials on YouTube on how to wear your baby/toddler.
Wearing my babies are some of my fondest early motherhood memories. Here is a list of the very best reasons to wear your baby!
1. Babies feel safe. Our little ones spend 9 months growing and bonding with us while in our womb. We rock and sway throughout our days and our babies sleep and grow with our every movement, within the warmth and safety of our bodies. Then, the big day arrives when they are separated from their mother into a cold, too bright and very loud world. Even the most tranquil of births is a traumatic transition from womb to world. Babywearing returns to them a much needed sense of safety and security. Wearing them returns babies to their mother's warmth and her unique rhythms (in her movements, heartbeat, and voice) and that is immensely comforting to a baby and the benefits are invaluable to their well-being.
2. They sleep like a boss. We all know babies sleep a whole lot and their absolute favorite sleep spot is curled up in the warm softness of a mama. Babies grow, heal, and develop while they sleep and they sleep up to 16 hours a day. That doesn't mean you have to wear your baby 16 hours a day! Any amount of babywearing benefits both mother and her baby. Sometimes the art of baby napping can elude us and that's especially hard on a sleep-deprived new mom. Baby wearing is a very organic way of napping a baby. They fall asleep effortlessly and sleep deeply and comfortably when worn in a sling or wrap. The structured carriers, in my opinion, are less comfortable and not as cozy as wraps and slings but they are good for when taking long walks, hikes, and for metro travel.
3. Promotes calm and reduces colic and stress. Fussy and colicky babies often calm within minutes or even seconds of being placed lovingly and securely in a wrap. When a baby is so close to a mother, it automatically makes her more attentive to her baby's needs and that promotes calm and reduces stress in babies that may be colicky, fussy, overtired or just need some extra love and attention.
4. Continues bonding between mother and baby after baby is born and out of the womb. We've all seen and experienced babies that cry the moment their mothers step away from them - it causes babies distress to be apart from their mothers. When a baby is worn, they are being reassured that mom is close and near and that their bond is strong and secure. And research shows that people who start off in life with strong feelings of security and healthy bonding with parents are better equipped to become independent and capable individuals than those who had limited opportunities to bond in the early years.
5. Breastfeed publicly in a very private way. I enjoyed breastfeeding my babies whenever they were hungry or needed comforting and sometimes that meant nursing in a public place. I was okay with that and so were my babies. However, I knew that some people were not comfortable with that and that's okay, too. I wasn't out to change the world, I was just out to be out of the house and running errands... Nursing while wearing my babies afforded me both privacy and convenience when out and about. I could even stroll the mall while nursing and none were the wiser.
6. Reduce the risks of flat-head syndrome. Flat-head syndrome is when a baby is repeatedly placed in a resting position on a hard, flat surface and it causes the baby's head to be misshapen and flattened, usually in the back or on the side. Common causes: car seats, cribs, playmats, bouncers, the floor, etc. Wearing a baby reduces the amount of time that they may spend with their soft heads flattening on a hard, flat surface.
7. Maneuver easily through crowds and urban areas. I grew up in NYC and saw mothers maneuver their baby's in strollers up and down whole flights of stairs at subway stations like city-mom gladiators. But if you want to get around in a big city or big crowds (i.e. sporting events, park festivals, airports, school functions, etc.) baby wearing is a safe and secure and mind-blowing fun way to do it for your little one. They get to be eye-level in all the hustle and bustle of busy life and that can be an eye-opening experience for them or they can blissfully sleep through the whole thing and be supremely happy either way. Plus, the convenience for mom can't be beat.
8. Hands-free 'Momming'. Here are some of the things that I did while my babies hung out in the wrap: cook, read with my older kids and homeschool with them, clean, knit, talk on the phone, do my makeup, pop in contacts, and yup, use the bathroom (TMI, sorry).
My girlfriend used to nurse her son in his Bjorn and after nursing, he would nap comfortably in his carrier while she worked at her computer. He had reflux and so nursing and napping in an upright position was ideal. Also, using the carrier freed up mama's hands so that she could work while he napped. It was a win-win!
8. Babies cry less. And in my case, that meant that I cried less, too. No. 8 alone, is reason enough for me to promote baby wearing to all new moms. I suffered from PPD (postpartum depression) after the birth of each of my six babies and hearing them cry was deeply distressing. They cried less and slept well when being worn close to me and that seemed to lower my anxieties as well as theirs. It was immensely helpful for my well-being as much as theirs.
9. A happier baby. I don't know if there is any scientific research to back up my observation but it's true: babies in slings and wraps always seem happy, confident, curious, and at ease with themselves and their surroundings. Who wouldn't want that for their child?
10. Get to know your baby. When you wear your baby and toddler, you get to know them as not just your 'baby' but you get to know them as an individual person, apart from you. Having them so close allows you many opportunities to talk to them and with them and to make plenty of eye contact and engage with them with smiles and coos. All that interaction and communication enforces positive brain and emotional development.
What more can I say? Wearing your baby is such a gift to both you and your baby and ultimately, to society, as your baby grows up.