Written by Eric from CynicalParent.com
Before I ever had kids, I just assumed people carried their babies around in a wrap or carrier because they didn’t feel like pushing a stroller.
It’s true, using a baby wrap is convenient and allows you to leave the stroller at home if you don’t want to lug it around everywhere you go.
Little did I know, there was so much more to babywearing. It’s not simply a replacement for using a stroller. So, I did a little bit of digging, and came up with some pretty compelling reasons why you should consider babywearing (if you haven’t already), and why it’s just as much for your baby’s benefit as it is for yours.
#1 It strengthens the bond you have with your little one.
There’s a reason everyone suggests “skin-to-skin” contact right after a baby is born, and babywearing can almost be viewed as an extension of that. Wearing your baby keeps him or her close to you and helps continue to strengthen that physical bond. For the mother, babywearing in the first few months is sometimes referred to as the “fourth trimester.” And this can actually extend beyond just your bond as the mom or dad - babywearing can help caregivers (like grandparents, adopted parents, babysitters, etc.) bond with the child as well.
#2 It keeps your baby happy.
This is a pretty tough one to argue with. Who doesn’t want a happy baby?
Babywearing reduces crying and keeps babies happy. In fact, one study found that increased carrying around 6 weeks of age led to a decrease in crying and fussing by about 40-50%. Had I known this when my daughter was that age, I probably would have carried her in a baby wrap more often.
#3 It’s convenient.
There’s a lot of compelling benefits of babywearing, but for me, this one takes the cake. It’s just hard to beat the convenience of being able to move around with your baby (even if he or she is sleeping) and be able to get stuff done with your hands-free.
You can do chores around the house, tend to an older child, read a book, go for a walk, etc. It’s even nice if you want to go places that you typically can’t take a stroller - such as an outdoor hike, or a place with a lot of stairs.
#4 It can help your baby nap.
Naptime is tricky for many parents, especially when you consider that every baby is different. Some kids will nap anywhere at any time, with any level of noise; others need a very specific environment.
When my daughter was an infant, I found it really easy to get her to nap when I was wearing her. It’s the combination of the warmth of laying against you mixed with the vibration and movement as you do whatever it is you need to do while wearing the baby.
While we always first tried to get her to nap in her crib, if she had trouble going down for a nap, the baby carrier almost always worked like a charm.
#5 It can help with your baby’s development.
Not only does keeping your baby close to you keep him or her warm, but it allows them to sense your heartbeat, breathing, and other movements that you make, which, in turn, allows them to learn how to regulate their own bodies.
All of this was found in a study about pre-term babies, but the general principles can be applied to young infants in general. The study also found that spending more time close to a parent led to improved weight gain, an important concern for pre-term babies.
Beyond physical development, babywearing can also lead to better language development. They see your facial movements as you talk and are in the best position to listen to your vocal sounds. All of this plays an important role in early language development.
#6 You become more confident as a parent.
Parents, especially first-time parents, often lack the confidence that they are or will be good parents. Or, if even if they feel they are good parents, there’s sometimes a lingering feeling that they’re not doing everything correctly.
Babywearing allows you to become more in tune with your baby’s cues - whether they’re hungry, sleepy, or need a diaper change. And the more you can read these cues, the better you can accurately react to them, which will lead to you becoming more confident in your ability to care for your baby.
It’s a positive, reinforcing cycle that builds your baby’s trust in you, which builds your confidence as a parent.
Have you tried babywearing yet?
Hopefully, by now you understand that there are some very clear benefits to babywearing, with some compelling reasons backed by scientific studies.
Not only do baby wraps / carriers help with your baby’s mood, health, and development, but they make your life as a parent easier to manage. Looking back, I wish I carried my daughter around in a baby carrier more often when she was an infant.
If you currently don’t have a baby carrier (or the one you’re wearing is uncomfortable, which leads to you not using it as much), definitely look into getting one!
Want to see more written by Eric? Check out cynicalparent.com