When I had Zoe, wanting to have her close to me was a natural instinct. I was nursing her on demand, she slept in our bed from the first night on, and I couldn’t have imagined it any other way. We did not even have a “baby room” because this time around I made myself a promise to do what is right for me and Zoe and not to listen to all the nay sayers and critics.
But this also came with its own set of challenges. Zoe was born at 35 weeks, underweight and very small. It was the dead of winter too. Not ideal for a preemie. Advice I received from a nurse at the hospital saved me- she recommended carrying Zoe in a stretchy wrap. I had my reservations at first when she handed me the stretchy wrap. A super long piece of fabric. And I had to so what?
The wrap was especially handy when I came home with her. I had my hands free and could still help Khloe. I was able to nurse Zoe on demand and use the extra fabric of the wrap to cover her. She would fall asleep in the wrap, and everyone around us was relieved that this little baby was so calm and relaxed.
I experienced first-hand how content Zoe was because she was so close to me, and I’d suggest baby wearing to any new mom.
But here is my favorite reasons to baby wear:
1.You don’t have to cart a pram around
It’s so much easier to put your baby into a sling to run into the shops than getting the cursed pram out of the car. And you can skip having to explain how the stroller works to your brother – just have him wear the baby when he takes her for a while.
Baby wearing also allows you to have both hands free to do other things, like typing an email, making lunch and helps when you have older kids that need attention.
2. Babywearing Allows You to Attend to Baby’s Needs Faster
A baby that’s in a cot instead of close to mom in a sling or wrap is likely to be more fussy, plus you are less likely to react to the first signs of the baby being uncomfortable or unhappy. Research found that baby wearing for three hours a day reduces infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours.
3. Baby Can See and Experience the World So Much More
My mom never wore me as a baby; in fact I know she hardly ever left the house with me when I was little. (I had colic- so can’t blame her!) I spent a lot of time outside in a pram, stationary, “in the fresh air in the garden.”
I did the total opposite with Zoe: I did take her everywhere, and thanks to slings and wraps, she is perfectly fine going into busy shops and environments. Being stimulated by seeing and hearing so many different things benefits a child’s brain development. And if she gets tired or overwhelmed, she now covers herself with the tail of the ring sling. Clever girl 🙂
4. Babywearing Builds Confidence
Attending to baby’s every need and carrying them does not make them more needy or spoiled – it creates the exact opposite.
Being comforted and close to a caregiver in a baby carrier generally results in a very close bond and in children growing up with more confidence because they feel assured that they always have a place of comfort to come back to.
5. Babywearing Makes Breastfeeding Easier
Mothers can react to a baby’s cues of hunger faster if the baby is worn in a carrier, and babies are more likely to have a successful feed before fussing becomes a cry for food.
I fed Zoe at the first sign of hunger. I don’t think that’s because she was naturally an easy baby – I think she was an easy baby because I was able to nurse her right away, and anywhere I was, while she was in the wrap.
There are so many more styles of slings and baby carriers on the market today than there were 5 years ago, and I envy any mom who has a little newborn today to try out different ones to find the one she likes the best.
I miss the stretchy wrap days. Enjoy being so close to your baby and know that baby wearing has benefits for baby and mom.
It’s such a short time when they are so little and cuddly- enjoy every cuddle and wear as they grow up way to quickly.
Added link: https://babywearinginternational.org/what-is-babywearing/babywearing-resources/benefits-of-babywearing/