The Benefits of Babywearing

In many developed countries, the practice of babywearing is sometimes perceived as a relatively new trend among young parents who subscribe to certain 21st-century parenting styles. But in fact, babywearing is thousands of years older than modern inventions such as strollers and playpens, and it is still practiced widely throughout the world. And contrary to what one might believe, it is not uncomfortable or inconvenient for mother or baby, and it actually has many benefits. Babywearing might not be for everyone. If it does not appeal to you or you try it and it does not work out, then maybe it is just not part of your parenting style. But if you are willing to give it a good shot, here are some of the benefits you can expect to experience. 1. Ease the baby into the world: Many childcare experts liken the first few months of a child’s life to a fourth trimester, and some even say that the first nine months should be treated as an extension of pregnancy. Babywearing makes sense in this stage because it allows you to position the baby in ways in which she is comfortable. After nine months packed into the tight confines of the womb, young babies love to be worn snugly. 2. Babywearing reduces fussiness: Babies who are worn do fuss, and they will cry if there is a legitimate reason for them to do so. But, according to studies as well as anecdotally, many mothers say their babies are simply more content and patient while they are being worn. 3. Babywearing aids mental development: When a baby spends less time being fussy and crying, this frees her to observe the world. And from the position of her mother’s or father’s side, back, or chest, there is much to see and learn. 4. Faster bonding: When mother or father and baby are so close together for an extended period every day, it makes bonding happen faster. And the bonding goes both ways. The baby gets to experience the warmth and security of being close to a parent, and the parent gets to appreciate the baby from right up close. 5. Carried babies develop faster: There is much to be said for giving children, even babies, plenty of independent time to play and explore the world, and babies certainly should get this time every day. But studies have shown that young babies who are carried for multiple hours a day develop more rapidly both physically and mentally. Because carrying with your arms can be tiring when you do it day after day, babywearing is the perfect solution. 6. Babywearing is often easier: Having to deal with strollers can be a drag on your time and energy, and so can constantly having to monitor your child when she is not physically in your control. With babywearing, you get around these problems. Though it does take some getting used to, once you become a babywearing pro, you can do virtually anything while you have your little one with you. If you have often found yourself crunched for time since the baby came along, using a carrier to strap her on can be a great relief. 7. Easing into sleep: Many young babies find the gentle rocking of being worn comforting and can drift off to sleep in this position with little difficulty. If your child is troubled when it comes to getting to sleep—and many young babies are—try babywearing as a solution. By Jamell Williams