Lugging around a new baby can be exhausting with everything a mom already has going on. And, when you’re a tired new mom, the weight of carrying around a baby can be even more taxing. This is why we’re covering the benefits of babywearing.
From dispelling a few myths and answering some questions you may have about babywearing, we’re sure you’ll love to know about these babywearing benefits for mom and baby!
What Is Babywearing?
While babywearing is connected to the beginnings of humanity, it is a safe and practical tool that most new moms utilize as they care for themselves and their tiny babe.
Babywearing is a hands-free method of staying close to baby throughout the demands of your new role as a mom, and even more helpful if you already have littles at home.
With so many options on the market, moms can choose from carriers, slings, or breathable wraps to keep their little one close.
Ergonomic carriers are probably the easiest to use. This carrier features a pocket for baby, two straps for mom’s arms – think forward-facing backpack, and one belt-like piece to secure around mom’s waist. This method is easy, quick, and great for transferring your sleeping baby to her crib, with little to no startling.
Slings are an excellent choice for those who have super cuddly babies. A sling is simply a piece of fabric connected by a metal ring and creates a cozy seat or pocket for your little one. Slings also promote comfortable nursing for when baby wants to be held, and mom is attending to other duties.
Lastly, wraps are another option. Using a wrap is the most challenging of the three, but once you get the hang, it can be the most flexible. Because baby is wrapped to mom’s body, it is the most secure babywearing method available. This is beneficial for moms caring for other small children and those who find themselves in a season where baby wants to constantly be held as life happens.
While this may seem overwhelming, it is as simple as trying them out and seeing which one works best for you and your baby.
Is Babywearing Safe?
As with practically everything, babywearing is safe if mom follows safety guidelines. The acronym “TICKS” is an easy guidance tool as you prepare to babywear:
Tight: The sling or carrier should be tight enough to hug baby closely.
In view: Baby’s sweet face should always be in sight.
Close enough to kiss: When mom tips head forward, she should be able to kiss the top of baby’s head or forehead.
Keep chin off chest: Baby’s chin should never be touching their chest as it can restrict their airway.
Supported back: Baby’s back should be supported naturally, with tummy and chest facing mom.
While babywearing is a great way to keep baby close throughout the day, improper babywearing can increase your baby’s chances of hip dysplasia. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommends the M-Position, also referred to as the Spread-Squat or Jockey position, while your baby is in his carrier or sling. The M-Position practice is when baby’s thighs are spread around mom’s torso, with hips bent, so that baby’s knees are higher than their buttocks. This method may decrease the risk of hip dysplasia in your infant.
What Are the Benefits of Babywearing?
There are many benefits to babywearing for baby and mom.
- It encourages health in both baby and mom. Not only does wearing your baby prevent flat head syndrome, but it also aids in promoting good digestion. As baby is snug close to mom, baby learns to utilize core muscles needed for balance. As for mom, oxytocin levels are naturally increased as mom and baby engage in physical contact, lowering mom’s risk for postpartum depression.
- It reduces crying for baby. I don’t know about you, but the most challenging part of the newborn stage for me was hearing my little one cry. More times than not, when I picked her up, she stopped. Practicing safe babywearing allows baby the comfort of being with mom, gives extra snuggle time and allows for bonding outside of the womb.
- It is a great way to support breastfeeding. While there is nothing dreamier than sitting in an oversized chair, nursing your babe as he grabs your finger, sometimes life is busy. Babywearing is a great option for nursing mothers in the thick of life. Not only does it allow discreet nursing while running errands, but it is an easy way to allow baby to nurse on demand while keeping mom hands-free.
- It promotes cognitive development. Babywearing allows a front-row seat to the world that their mom or dad sees. Because babywearing is excellent for soothing, baby will cry less, allowing more time to interact and study facial expressions from those in their environment.
- It makes mom’s life easier. Everyday activities are much more difficult when you’re holding a baby in one arm. Being able to hold baby while having both hands free allows for mom to take care of the house, other children, cooking or other chores she needs to handle. If mom is breastfeeding, she’s able to multi-task if necessary.
Can You Wear Your Baby Too much?
The short and long answer is no.
New moms are often gifted the thoughts of those within their extended families, friends, and even interested strangers in Target. But the truth is, sometimes these thoughts and suggestions aren’t gifts at all!
You can wear your baby as often as it is comfortable for both of you. Holding your baby is encouraged, especially in pre-term babies and newborns. Remember that the benefits far outweigh the opinions of others.
How Long Should You Babywear?
You can babywear as long as it is something both you and your baby enjoy!
However, the most important thing to remember is that baby is in a carrier or sling that supports a healthy positioning.
Also, as baby grows into a toddler, there will be a weight restriction of around 40 pounds that you will want to consider when choosing a baby carrier. You may even want to purchase a specific toddler carrier.
Can Babywearing Help Mom Lose Weight?
Yes, babywearing can help mom lose weight, which is a huge benefit of babywearing!
As you wear your baby throughout the day, you use various muscle groups to balance yourself, not to mention the added pounds as you walk and climb stairs! You can even engage in babywearing workouts as you connect with your babe.
Remember, as baby grows, you will get stronger.
Does Babywearing Affect Baby Sleeping in Her Crib?
Keep in mind that baby’s sleep is usually disorganized until they are about four months old, sometimes longer. Babywearing shouldn’t affect the baby’s nighttime routine.
If baby is having a hard time falling asleep, Dr. Sears suggests that mom wears baby in a sling, in the least stimulating position, while walking around the house until baby enters a state of deep sleep. Once your little one is fast asleep, gently transition them to their bed.
Are you considering babywearing for the benefits to you and your baby?
If you’re still uncertain about the carrier you need, how to use one, or how they’ll fit, you can find a local babywearing group for support.
Any other questions about the benefits of babywearing or other baby concerns? Comment or reach out to see if we can help!