Babywearing is the practice of carrying a baby close to the parent’s body-usually in a babywearing sling or babywearing wrap. Babywearing has been practiced for centuries around the world and has recently gained popularity in western civilization.
The influence of attachment parenting has propelled this shift. Research proves that bonding is heightened through babywearing due to an increase in the mother’s oxytocin levels. As the baby is close to mom’s chest, her physiology is affected. The result is a decrease in postpartum depression/psychosis. The father, who has likely experienced some exclusion in the bonding process of pregnancy, benefits from the babywearing experience by deepening the paternal bond.
Related Article: How to Kick Ass at Attachment Parenting
Babies who are raised within the cradled security of safe babywearing tend to be content, tranquil, and at peace. This is largely due to the fact that their primal/survival needs of attachment are met. The infant is reminded through their parents’ touches, smells, sounds, and presence that they are safe. As a result, the baby is at ease and more equipped to transition to sleep states.
Safe Babywearing- “Close enough to kiss”
Safe babywearing is a practice that can be embraced easily throughout toddlerhood and beyond. The foremost rule of thumb is that your infant is “close enough to kiss”. This ensures that your baby is upright and in the safest position while maintaining a snuggly embrace.
The primary concern for prospective parents surrounds safe babywearing. Should the parent fall while the baby is nestled in a sling or wrap, is the infant more at risk for injury? This question is a legitimate one, as we feel that our arms are superior when it comes to protecting a child, as opposed to fabric. However, one must also consider that a falling parent whose baby is cocooned in a sling has use of both arms when it comes to the instinctive act of breaking the fall.
Tips for safe babywearing
- Become adept at all babywearing positions for your babywearing wrap or carrier before you attempt to use those positions with your baby. Start with front carries and master them before you attempt back carries.
- Consistently inspect your carrier for weak spots, damage, and loose stitching. This is not a time to pinch pennies. Cutting costs on your wrap or carrier could mean purchasing a weaker product and subsequently one less likely to be safe.
- Keep your baby upright when you are not breastfeeding. Check your infant’s airway regularly to ensure that the chin is off of the chest and that sufficient airflow is present.
- Choose a wrap or carrier that provides sufficient neck and head support, especially when you are newborn babywearing.
Babywearing has been proven to help premature babies and babies slow to gain weight. While the baby spends more time closer to the mother, he is able to be nursed more often and at longer intervals.
Since newborns have a freakish head-to-body ratio without any neck strength, it is crucial that they are positioned properly within the safe babywearing carrier. Their natural default will be the chin to chest position, which compromises the airway. Your baby should always be “close enough to kiss”.
NüRoo Pocket Babywearing Shirt accomplishes the “close enough to kiss” rule beautifully. Designed for skin-to-skin contact, this babywearing shirt is soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking. Perfect for newborn babywearing.
The Moby Wrap has explicit directions and intentional design when it comes to newborn babywearing. If you are looking for a babywearing wrap, Moby has my vote.
Breastfeeding and Babywearing
Breastfeeding and safe babywearing go hand in hand. Since bonding is increased through babywearing, breastfeeding is more likely to be successful. Babywearing wraps and slings provide the nursing mom the privacy to comfortably nurse in public settings. A properly-fitted babywearing wrap also reduces arm strain by offering additional support. While a babywearing wrap does not allow the nursing mother to be completely hands-free, it does give her additional freedom of movement.
Nursing a newborn has its own intricacies and challenges. Mastering the art of breastfeeding alone prior to introducing breastfeeding within the babywearing wrap will keep your expectations reasonable.
Situations exist that make breastfeeding impossible. When faced with these obstacles, babycarrying is a natural and beneficial solution. Bottle-fed babies benefit from babycarrying by receiving the close parental attachment of their suckling counterparts.
Outstanding Babywearing Book
If you are looking for a complete guide to attachment parenting, the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, and babywearing, you are in for a treat. This book has it all, along with a compassionate look inside of the home of newborn parenting.