Top 10 reasons to carry your baby:
Babywearing promotes bonding and a secure attachment between you and your baby; what this means is that the connection you feel between you and baby can be developed and nurtured. This is an ongoing process from the moment your child is born but the time spent with them when they are tiny is crucial in many ways and holding them close can assist you to build a secure platform for future relationships
Carrying your baby, when done properly in the right carrier, will make you happy 🙂 as a new mum this additional time together with baby held next to you will increase hormone levels (prolactin &oxytocin) that will actually help to ward off the baby blues and assist you with tasks like breastfeeding and feeling more able to manage parenthood
Believe it or not it actually helps you get back into shape! Not only is carrying around a baby a physical task (and as we all know physical activity leads to a healthier us) you may also experience less breast engorgement and more rapid involution (which is the uterus returning to pre-pregnant size yeah!)
Carrying a baby in a sling is truly the most pleasurable and rewarding activity. For dads/partners in particular it creates a precious time to bond with the baby and a time where they can be a key player in helping to calm and relax baby. By walking with them in a sling they can hum and sing and have special moments of their own. This is the same for other family members, grandparents and care providers.
It’s good for your baby! We all appreciate a cuddle, how many of us love to have our back being stroked? Physical connection and baby being able to hear your heart beat (from being positioned on your chest), skin to skin contact and baby being able to hear your voice are all calming influences. It’s even true that babies worn for 3 hours or more a day actually cry and fuss up to 50% less! Carrying your baby upright in slings also helps to prevent against reflux and colic.
Have you ever been in a situation where your buggy just won’t fit through a doorway, or worried about fitting on a bus/train or climbing that mountain? Carrying your baby allows you the freedom to go anywhere and do anything. It is not only flexible but cost effective. You can buy slings and carriers from £30 new this is not including preloved items (don’t get me wrong there are expensive ones out there and you may get hooked and want more) but single slings/carriers are not as much as buggies.
Whilst your baby is riding around in your beautiful sling (which of course you can get in hundreds of different colours, patterns and designs) it is able to take in its surroundings spending time in a quiet state of alertness which stimulates their growing brain and helps the thousands of synapses to grow and respond to the environmental experience they see and hear from the sling (thus promoting earlier cognitive language & social development).
It is natural and innate. Hold your baby on your chest when it is born, you will see that the baby has a natural grasping reflex to cling to you. The baby’s arms fall on your chest and its legs and knees pull up towards its chest in a fetal position. A baby is most comfortable here supported by the correct carrier. Car seats, push chairs, baby rockers the sofa are ok for short periods but they do not support the natural development of your baby’s spine and hips (learn more about this here).
Babies were born to be carried: we are some of the only species that after birth are immobile and require parents to provide constant care, in that 6 months after birth before crawling and walking so much development is occurring for your baby. You carrying your baby allows them to adapt slowly to our fast pace and hectic lives. This is particularly relevant just after birth when your baby is learning to adapt from being inside the womb.
Carried babies are less likely to suffer with ‘flat head syndrome’ (plagiocephaly – a condition that causes a babies head to be misshapen often if they are lying on flat/hard surfaces). Whilst assisting to protect against this, these babies exercise all planes of movement developing core stability muscles (through reacting to your movements in the sling). This development is similar to the requirements put forward in tummy time, an activity created to compensate for what is lost when an infant is not carried. You may find that your baby also develops strong neck control earlier and other neurological and physical developments.
You get your hands back! Carrying your baby allows you the freedom to get on with daily tasks and activities, whilst keeping your baby safe and secure with you. I know many mothers that have chosen to return to work with baby in a sling and often working from home. There has been a huge rise in a work at home professional culture being created here in the UK and it will be the way forwards for many parents. The washing, cleaning, cooking dinner, caring for older siblings and elderly relatives: we all have such busy lives (which we need to remember to take time out from and relax) but for those moments where you need to get on you can’t beat a carrier to support you and your baby