Baby Wearing: Best for Baby, Mum AND Dad. Here’s Why…
007, we salute you and all other parents like you with your baby-wearing ways! It is always disheartening when someone with a public platform chooses to spout nonsense, but even more so when that nonsense is the sort that might dissuade someone from doing the very best for their baby.
Fortunately, rather than knocking down all the dads out there who do choose to baby-wear, those now infamous comments made by Piers Morgan have sparked a surge in men coming forward to show their support for the baby-wearing movement. Suddenly the internet is overflowing with gorgeous photos of new fathers carrying their precious bundle right where they should – tucked in, cosy and warm, safe and close to their heart.
So, it’s pretty clear that we here at Babycup are very much PRO baby-wearing, but why? Sure, it’s adorable and downright convenient much of the time (two free hands?! Amazing!) but there’s a lot more to it than that. There is heaps of research and evidence to suggest that baby-wearing is a wonderful choice for both parent’s and their little one.
First, the physical
Your bub has spent a full 9 months of her life held, securely and lovingly in just about the most cosy and comforting environment possible – her mother’s womb. Suspended, with no strain to muscles or bones. Now, of course this wonderful place that your baby is so familiar with cannot be fully recreated after birth, but it makes sense to try and mimic nature as much as possible and baby-wearing, whether on the mother or father, does just this.
Holding a baby or infant upright and on your chest in a carrier or sling not only helps them feel secure (more about that on our next point) but, when done correctly, it actually helps prevent physical abnormalities such as hip dysplasia, flattened skulls and ‘frog legs’ that have been linked to extended periods of time lying on their backs, during those very early stages.
Moreover, upright carrying also helps to promote healthy digestion, particularly for the hour after a feed, meaning a lower risk of colic, reflux, trapped wind and other digestive issues. It will also help keep your baby’s heart rate and temperature in the ideal ‘Goldilocks zone’, and encourages regular feeds for consistent weight gain and milk production.
Mental and emotional health
A new born child has never known anything other than the loving hold of their mummy. Her voice and heartbeat are endlessly comforting and reassuring, the warmth of her body is literally essential for life (as kangaroo care in hospitals has shown) – and the same goes for daddy. His voice was present before your baby entered the world and the nurture from his body will comfort (and even help to heal an unwell child) too.
When a baby is held by a parent they love and trust, they feel at ease and safe in what is likely to be quite a scary, loud and bright new world. Through baby-wearing, you are encouraging healthy mental and emotional development which later, will lead to a confident, independent and happy child.
But it’s not only the mental wellbeing of the baby that can be improved. Baby-wearing works wonders for post-natal depression (which can occur in both women and men) and also helps ease the transition into big brother or sisterhood for older siblings, who will love being able to hold mum and dad’s (free) hands and play just like the old days, when bubba is sleeping soundly on your chest.
Better for the planet
If the benefits for you and your baby weren’t enough, there’s the added bonus that baby-wearing is much more eco-friendly (and wallet-friendly) than forking out for a great big, mass manufactured, largely plastic pram.
Most parents-to-be have a travel system on their shopping list, with the average price setting them back at least £500! Baby-wearing negates the need for this big spend and the need for more and more big buggies to be produced. Going for a sling or carrier, which you can even get in organic cotton and from small suppliers, supports a far greener world. And it’s much easier to get out of the house with too!