Babywearing: Benefits and Common Misconceptions
Babywearing is becoming more common across the globe. In your neighbourhood, you may have seen babies seemingly wrapped in a woven cloth close to their mothers. Or perhaps you have spotted a young toddler sitting comfortably in a contraption with straps, buckles, and paddings.
How do you feel about wearing your child? Will you consider it too? Before you decide, read the rest of the blog post first.
What Is Babywearing?
Babywearing, as its name suggest, means carrying your baby in a wrap or baby carrier, which will free up the wearer's two arms and hands.
It may sound new to you, but babywearing has been around for thousands of years and is prevalent in traditional cultures.
What are the Benefits of Babywearing?
If you talk with a babywearing parent, these are the top advantages and benefits they will highlight about babywearing.
. Frees the arms and hands of the caregiver.
Carrying a baby in the arms limits the movements of the caregivers. On the other hand, babywear caregivers can multi-task and do other things if the baby is safely resting on the baby carrier.
Travelling with a baby becomes easier with babywearing. You won't need to bring a bulky stroller or have no difficulties balancing the baby and the baby's things in the arms.
. Prevents Crying
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babywearing is recommended as a response and to prevent crying. In addition, the babies' physical nearness to their mothers or caregivers soothes the little ones.
In another study in 1986, the researchers found out that the babies who were carried were crying and fussing lesser than the babies who were not.
Your presence is soothing to your baby. Being close to you helps him/her transition from your womb to the outside world.
Lastly, when your baby is happy, there will be less crying.
. Promotes Parent-Infant attachment
When your baby is with you, you will be most likely to talk and interact with your baby more. It is a great bonding experience for you as you get to know your baby and his/her needs. Babywearing can help you be more attuned and responsive to your baby's needs by understanding his/her cues.
. Helps Feeding the Baby Easier
With practice, mothers can breastfeed their babies while babywearing. A ring sling or a wrap provides a more discreet way to feed in a public area.
Babywearing can encourage you to feed your baby based on his/her hunger cues.
. Promotes Baby's Overall Health and Well-Being
When you are wearing the baby in the correct position, your baby's physical health and development can benefit from it. First, babywearing can help prevent the flat head syndrome, common to babies lying down in the same position. Also, it can promote good digestion and avoid colic and reflux.
Research also suggests that babies held in an M position have lower chances of getting hip dysplasia.
. Promotes Cognitive and Social Development
Because your baby is not crying, he/she can spend more time observing, socializing, and learning from his/her environment. When the baby is with you, he/she can hear your words and interactions, which gives her exposure to language and vocabulary. The power of your touch also provides a sensory experience to your baby.
. Decreases the risk of postpartum depression in mothers
Research shows that babywearing can prevent or reduce the severity of postpartum depression by enhancing the mother and baby's bond, improving breastfeeding success, lessening infant colic, and increasing the oxytocin release.
. Stops people from touching your baby.
It's hard to resist touching a cute little bub. But, it is not very ideal for people to touch your baby as he/she is still building his/her immunity. When your baby is worn, people will most likely not touch your baby.
What are the Common Misconceptions about Babywearing?
You may hear concerns or opinions about babywearing that may cause you to have second thoughts about babywearing. Let's shed some light on some of the popular misconceptions that people have about babywearing.
. Will spoil the baby
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, being held is a baby's basic need, especially during the first few months. AAP also mentioned that babies picked up as soon as they start to cry have a tendency to cry less often and for shorter periods than those not picked up immediately.
Don't worry. As your baby grows, he/she will learn how to self-soothe.
. Is uncomfortable for the baby
The baby's weight is distributed evenly when he/she is in a correctly-tied wrap. In addition, the position alleviates the pressure on the baby's spine.
. Is uncomfortable for the wearer
There are many ergonomically designed carriers in the market. These carriers have the proper structure, design, padding, and materials, making them comfortable for those who use them. You can seek the support of a consultant to figure out the best carrier for your baby.
. Can hurt the baby's back
If the baby is in the right position when worn, your baby's spine is protected. In addition, Dr E Kirkilionis' study indicates that the risk of getting sick with any spinal disease for babies carried is not higher than the children who were not held.
. Is terrible for the hips
On the contrary, babywearing is beneficial to your baby's hips. As mentioned earlier, babywearing can prevent hip dysplasia.
. Can suffocate the baby
By ensuring that the sling or carrier you use is appropriate to your baby's size, weight, and age, you can prevent suffocation. You also need to follow the TICKS checklist to ensure that you are carrying your baby in the correct position. We will discuss TICKS in more detail in the next blog post.
. Is too hot for the baby
Slings, wraps, and carriers come in different materials. You just have to choose the material and design that is best suited to your climate.
After deliberating the pros and cons and assessing if it fits your lifestyle, you can make a personal decision to start babywearing. If you opt to babywear your child, the next question is what baby carrier is suited for you.
We will discuss the different types of carriers and babywearing tips in our next blog post.
Please share your babywearing experiences, comments, or questions in the comment section below.
Ready to find a great sitter?