For all parents, having a baby is a huge transition and major life changer and finding something that can make the transition and parenting in general easier definitely helps! For me, I really discovered all the benefits of babywearing when my daughter was four months old and went through that major developmental leap! All she wanted to do was be held in my arms and with my dodgy back I quickly started looking for options to meet her needs and to save my back! Not only did babywearing save my back, I also found the ease and joy that it could bring to my day. For mums, there are specific benefits just for us.
Heart and Mind
While some people have that light bolt moment of love when they lay their eyes on their baby, for others it takes time to build a bond and attachment and babywearing can help with that. By having your baby close to you, oxytocin (the love hormone) is released that helps build that emotional connection. Bonding and attachment is especially important to help us get through those sleep deprivation, touched out and generally difficult times! Anecdotal evidence also suggests that it can be a protective factor against postnatal depression and anxiety due to encouraged bonding and as a worn baby cries less (51% overall and 49% in those witching hours in the evening) which creates confidence in a mother’s abilities.
With two free hands, it also gives mums a chance to do things! From being able to get outside, see friends or just do the day to day tasks that we have, babywearing has you covered. Knowing that your baby will be happy (and often sleepy) just being with you while you do these things is amazing! There is no need to rush home for a specific nap time either as you know that your baby will sleep well in your carrier. Babywearing has the benefit of being able to show your baby your world and keep them entertained without constant face to face stimulation. Often this will help to attend to your needs, boost your mood and have the opportunity to do things that YOU enjoy!
With neck and back issues common even before a baby is born, pregnancy and life with a baby often exacerbates or results in some pain or ongoing issues. Most babies, especially newborns, only want to be carried in arms which while those snuggle cuddles are amazing it can certainly hurt! Babywearing helps as a proper fitting carrier encourages good posture and to distribute your baby’s weight evenly so there is no pulling on your neck, shoulders, arms or back. You also will be building and strengthening your core and back muscles as your baby grows; this is how I can still wear my 16kg almost 4 year old as her growth has gently built up my muscles! As you build your muscles, you are also burning extra energy which is why going for a walk or going to Kangatraining is so effective!
Babywearing also helps with breastfeeding as with your baby close, the hormone oxytocin is released which is important for supply and in particular for the milk let down reflex. As breastfeeding is a supply/demand process, being able to easily feed your baby and pick up on their early feeding cues can make a huge difference in success. Plus learning how to breastfeed in your baby carrier is a game changer and makes life so much easier! There is no need to go and sit somewhere, you can adjust your carrier (safely) and feed and keep doing what you were doing. Feeding in the carrier can also be quite private and less noticeable which can help build a mum’s confidence to feed in public thereby increasing her freedom. Often I could keep shopping or working or numerous other activities and feed my girl, she would then fall asleep with no fuss and it was not a challenge for me.
As a first time mum (or second or tenth), figuring out your baby and their needs can seem daunting and overwhelming! Babywearing allows for a closeness to your baby so that you can learn about them, their cues and to solve any issues before they escalate (think hysterically crying)! Being able to calm your baby quickly is such a huge confidence boost for any parent and when you feel confident, your stress and anxiety levels can reduce and you have the opportunity to really enjoy your time with your baby. Often when you have a happy baby, you as their mama are also happy!
Not only do worn babies cry less, it is also easier to get them to sleep and for them to stay asleep longer. With sleep being such a huge topic and area for stress in the parenting world, this can help any mother! I used to spend at least an hour trying to get Emily to sleep in the cot for a 15-20 minute powernap OR I could put her in the carrier and she would be asleep within 10 minutes with minimal effort from me and would sleep for at least an hour. Even at 3 years old, she would still fall asleep in the carrier in Kangatraining classes!
With new research showing how important touch, cuddling your baby and emotional engagement is to their brain, social, physical and emotional development; knowing that you are meeting all your baby’s needs with a tool that makes your life easier is amazing! With science backing up your choices, it is easy to be confident in your parenting choices. See more here
When you have more than one child, babywearing often becomes a necessity as you are able to keep your baby close while giving you opportunity to spend time with your older children. This helps both or all of your children still feel connected to you and often the baby. If you are still wearing your older children, babywearing also offers a chance to connect with them and provide that one on one time.
Honestly babywearing has been one of my main parenting tools and I think I would have been lost without it! The benefits don’t stop at mothers, there are also numerous benefits for dads (see more at Babywearing and Dads).
Certified Babywearing Consultant