Wearing your baby is a great way to be together with your baby while having your hands free. By wearing your baby close to you you'll build a lifelong attachment. Therefore, babywearing is not only practical but also contributes to your baby's healthy development.
Continue reading about babywearing:
What exactly is babywearing?
Babywearing means that we carry our babies, toddlers or older children: simply in our arms, or in a wrap or carrier that we put on our body. The child can be carried on the front of the body, on the hip, or on the back. Babywearing is an ancient tradition that originated from the need to have your hands free while you child is in the best place imaginable, namely close to you.
Contrary to many types of animals, human babies are helpless when born and are not at all ready for independence. They entirely depend on their parents; especially the mother makes sure that the newborn child can eat, sleep, breathe, that its temperature is regulated, etc. Babywearing facilitates this.
Is babywearing a new phenomenon?
Not in the least. The human body (especially a woman's body) is made for carrying a child, not only in the uterus but also after birth. When we place a baby on its mother's breast in a position that is most comfortable for the child itself, we'll notice that both bodies fit like puzzle pieces. Therefore, it's not hard to imagine that babies have been carried for thousands of years. Until the end of the 17th century children were carried in a wrap on one of their parents' body, while they were busy working. In those times there weren't any prams or strollers. Moreover, everyday life just went on after a child was born. By wearing the smallest family members in a wrap, parents could ensure that their child was saf, while they coninued to be able to care for their homes and to work. So if this has been such a practical solution for centuries, then why is babywearing such a relatively uncommon practice today?
During the industrial revolution, especially in Europe and North America, people's lives changed dramatically. People made long hours in factories and other workplaces that are unsafe for kids. At the same time society in the social sense changed such that more value was attached to work and the accumulation of wealth. As a result many "replacements" for attachment parenting were invented, such as the nanny, prams and all sorts of baby products. The market for these products continues to be huge even today. Generations have grown up with the idea that a baby sleeps in a separate cot, is transported in a pram or stroller, is given formula instead of breast milk, etcetera. For a long time we have been led by the baby product industry that promotes the usage of prams. Fortunately we're living in an age where we're regaining some interest in those "old-fashioned", simpler parenting methods. The popularity of baby earing matches this renewed interest perfectly.
Advantages of babywearing
Babywearing has many advantages, both for the baby and for the parent who wears it.
For the baby:
- The baby cries less.
- The baby is calmer and more satisfied.
- The baby's body temperature is better regulated. In the first period after birth, the baby's own temperature regulation doesn't work too well yet, but if the baby is close to its mother, then its mother's body warms up or cools down the baby whenever needed.
- The baby builds better attachment with whomever carries it, whether it's the father, mother, grandparent or other caregiver.
- It helps the baby getting to know its surroundings.
- Ergonomic babywearing stimulates the development of hips and spine.
- It stimulates language development.
- The baby will develop its sense of balance more rapidly.
- There is a smaller chance of "deformation" of the baby's head, as can sometimes be observed when babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs.
For the wearer:
- It triggers parental feelings and gives self-confidence.
- You can cuddle your baby for hours without having to sit still on a chair.
- You are close to your baby. Whatever you're doing, you can easily keep an eye on your baby.
- You have both your hands free to do other useful things.
- No hassle with pram or stroller. This saves a lot of luggage when on the move.
- A good wrap or carrier can be bought for as little as 60 euros and lasts for years, so babywearing is relatively cheap.
- You can go for long walks while your baby is warm and safe with you.
- If you wear your baby as a mother, it stimulates your milk production.
- As a father or other caregiver you establish a unique bond with your baby.
- The attachment that develops between parent and child improves communication between both. This will be useful during the more difficult periods, e.g. when the child is 2-4 years of age.
Read more about the advantages of babywearing:
- Babywearing International: http://babywearinginternational.org/what-is-babywearing/babywearing-resources/benefits-of-babywearing-2/
- La Leche League: http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbnovdec04p204.html