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, and babies have been carried in some form of sling since prehistoric times. Many cultures around the world, especially traditional cultures, employ baby carriers on a daily basis, often superbly colourful!
Babies are designed to seek sustenance and closeness, and our instincts as parents or caregivers is to comfort a crying child by lifting them up and cradling them close to our bodies, murmuring and rocking and soothing with movement. This instinct is common to many species and has been borne out by recent scientific research – infants automatically relax deeply when they are carried, with a demonstrable reduction in crying behaviour, a decrease in heart rate, and a calming of distressed movements. Put simply, babies need to be carried, and babies thrive when they are carried. A soft sling can therefore be a very useful tool for parents to meet their child’s carrying needs.
There is increasing evidence for the huge range of further benefits of “babywearing” to both parent and child, both physiological and psychological. Here are just some.
Benefits to Baby – click on link to read
(such as encouraging breastfeeding, helping with physiological regulation, reducing crying, colic, plagiocephaly and ear infections, promotes attachment, to name just some – click on link above for more!)
Benefits to Parent – click on link to read
(such as reduced postnatal depression, freedom to get around or care for older siblings, to name just some – click on link above for more!)
It was Dr William Sears who coined the term “babywearing”. Here is what he has to say about it. “Babywearing means changing your mindset of what babies are really like. New parents often envision babies as lying quietly in a crib, gazing passively at dangling mobiles and picked up and carried only to be fed and played with and then put down. You may think that “up” periods are just dutiful intervals to quiet your baby long enough to put him down again. Babywearing reverses this view. Carry your baby in a sling many hours a day, and then put her down for sleep times and tend to your personal needs.”
There is no right or wrong way to carry your baby – as much or as little as you like, but as you can see, babies love to be carried and babies thrive when they are carried, with huge benefits to the whole family. Carry your baby and enjoy it!