Great things about babywearing

What are some of the really hard things about parenting?

  • Your baby seems to need you all the time
    It can be tricky to get much else done, other than care for your baby
  • You want your baby to be as happy and content as she can be.
  • Sometimes this seems really hard - tiring and frustrating
  • It can be difficult to have much of a life, while so much of your time is taken up with your baby

Babywearing's great for you:

  • Cook dinner during the "arsenic hour" and soothe your baby at the same time
    Do the gardening, chores, socialise, even dance, while providing a stimulating learning environment for your baby
  • Breastfeed hands-free while on the phone or shopping
  • Keep your baby close and happy while playing with your toddler
  • Get some exercise (walking) while your baby sleeps
  • No need to lug around an awkward, heavy carseat, or battle getting a stroller into your car, onto a bus or up stairs.

Babywearing = keeping your baby happy + getting on with your life

It's also great for your baby:

  • Babies cry less. Research has shown that babies who are carried cry (on average) 43% less overall and 54% less during the evening hours (1). In cultures where babies are carried almost continuously, babies cry much less than those in non-carrying cultures (2-6).
  • Good for baby's mental development. Babies spend more time in a "quiet, alert state" when carried - the ideal state for learning. Their senses are stimulated while being carried (yet there is a place to retreat too). When carried, your baby sees the world from where you do, instead of the ceiling above his crib or people's knees from a stroller. And the extra stimulation benefits brain development.
  • Good for baby's emotional development. Babies are quickly able to develop a sense of security and trust when they are carried. They are more likely to be securely attached to their care-giver/s (7) and often become independent at an earlier age (8).

  • Good for baby's physical development. By being so close to your body's rhythms, your newborn "gets in rhythm" much more quickly. Your heartbeat, breathing, voice and warmth are all familiar. Research has shown how this helps newborns (especially premature babies) to adapt to life outside the womb (9).
  • Good for babies whose mums are depressed. Babies who are not held need more verbal interaction and eye contact, just to be reassured that you're there. Carrying your baby is a great way to connect with her (and provide stimulation too) without the "burden" of having to interact (10). Of course your baby is "right there" to enjoy whenever you feel like snuggling, kissing or talking.

It's great for other people who look after your baby:

Partners who work away from home, relatives and babysitters all have a ready way of connecting with and soothing your baby when they wear him too!

Many people are discovering how well babywearing works in their lives. Try it for yourself and see!

References

  1. Hunziker, U. A. and Barr, R, G. (1986). Increased carrying reduces infant crying: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics, 77, 641-8.
  2. Barr, R. G. (1990). The Early Crying Paradox: A Modest Proposal. Human Nature, 1, 355-389.
  3. Barr, R. G., Konner, M., Bakeman, R. and Adamson, L. (1991). Crying in !Kung San infants: a test of the cultural specificity hypothesis. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 33, 601-10.
  4. Brazelton, T. B., Robey, J. S., Collier, G. A. (1969). Infant development in the Zintandeco Indians of Southern Mexico. Pediatrics, 44, 274-290.
  5. Lee, K. (1994). The crying pattern of Korean infants and related factors. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 36, 601-7.
  6. LeVine, R.A., LeVine, S., Dixon, S., Richman, A., Leiderman, P.H., Keefer, C. and Brazelton, T.B. (1994). Child Care and Culture: Lessons from Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  7. Anisfeld, E., Casper, V., Nozyce, M. and Cunningham, N. (1990). Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment. Child Development, 61, 1617-1627.
  8. Whiting, J. W. M. (1981). Environmental constraints on infant care practices. In R. H. Munroe, R. L. Munroe & B. B. Whiting (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural human development, New York: Garland STPM Press.
  9. Ludington-Hoe SM, Swinth JY. (1996). Developmental aspects of kangaroo care. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 25, 691-703.
  10. Pelaez-Nogueras M, Field TM, Hossain Z, Pickens J. (1996). Depressed mothers' touching increases infants' positive affect and attention in still-face interactions. Child Development, 67, 1780-92.

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