Slings of the Quarter 1 – Introduction to babywearing
“Babywearing” – what does this word mean to you? Ask the man on the street and they might suggest phrases like “hippy” or “alternative” or “new age”. But in fact, the practice of carrying your baby, is as old as mankind itself, and is a tried and tested parenting tool, used daily across many cultures around the world.
Babies love to be, and need to be carried and held close. This bond with a parent is the earliest relationship of all and the greatest social need of all. All children find comfort and security in the arms of their parents, and we all know that crying reduces when a child is picked up and cuddled. Being close to the caregiver encourages mutual bonding (especially in postnatal depression), helps to establish breastfeeding, and gives the child a greater sense of attachment, allowing them to explore the world from a position of security.
Here’s what some families have to say about their babywearing experiences .
- “To me it’s the simplicity and convenience of transporting my child – bus journeys are a breeze, car boots are pram-free!”
- “It helped me gain a bond with a difficult baby. Without being introduced to a stretchy sling I wouldn’t have battled PND the way I did and I certainly would have had a strained relationship with my baby boy who would not be put down.”
- “It means being able to keep G close and never miss a moment of him growing and changing so fast… he can be involved in things like me and R cooking together.”
- “It helps with my clingy baby – you can’t push a pram around our kitchen!”
- “It means my baby girl won’t have to fear the world because I will always be close.”
- “I am able to talk to [my toddler] gently, constantly, and I am far more aware of her needs than the times she is in a buggy…She can point things out and chatter to me more easily.”
- “It means we get extra cuddles and Z sees the world and its faces rather than the earth and lots of legs.”
- “Togetherness and fun.”
- “My little one is involved in what I do and experience and I can be involved with all the big one wants from walks to baking.”
- “Interaction with me and the world… every once in a while G will just gently stroke my face or look up at me with her inquisitive eyes [from her front carry].”
- “I love being able to go anywhere, do almost anything, and still keep my baby close to me.”
These are just some of the enormous benefits to be gained from sling use; for more, see the article on “Why carry your baby” on my website below. Over the next few issues the NCT and I will be collaborating to showcase some common carriers and how to use them safely.
Rosie Knowles, Sheffield Sling Surgery