Todays blog post, in celebration of International Babywearing Week, explores how carrying your child in a sling can support healthy development for their mind and body.
We have some personal stories from mothers who have observed these babywearing benefits when using slings with their own children.
‘Babywearing has allowed me the opportunity to view the world through my daughter’s eyes. When I put her up in the sling and step out the door, we experience the world together. I see her interest captured by the blowing leaves and we stop to admire them. We crouch together to smell the flowers. We trail our hands along the tree trunks to feel the grooves. We listen to the cars and trucks whiz by as we mosey to our destination. On the bus, we wave at fellow passengers and watch the city pass by the window. In a time when everyone is looking for the best learning or sensory toy to grow their little ones mind, babywearing has made me see the greatest tools of all: my knowledge, her curiousity and the great world around us.’ Leigh Walker
- Babies who are carried show accelerated brain maturation (1)
‘I can’t find the right words to say how much I love wearing my baby. When we go out, it’s a joy to have him so close to me, see his reactions, talk to him. I’m convinced wearing him has made a huge difference to his social skills. He can look people in the eye and communicate on his own terms, and wherever we are, he catches people’s eyes, smiles at them and they always chat to him, which he loves. He is a very sociable and happy baby. He also had excellent head and torso control very early on and could sit unaided at 5 months. Everyone remarks on how advanced he is and I put it down to babywearing.’ F. Bernard
- Carrying promotes stimulation of the proprio-vestiblar (sense of movement and balance) and tactile systems, positively impacting cognitive development (2)
‘When I was still pregnant I knew I would babywear, but I had no idea that this experience would become a major part of my life and reopen a lot of things to me. When Lana was 1 month old she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and we were recommended to use a special harness all the time. Although I started to wrap Lana from her first days, I decided that now I have to babywear every chance I have. I did try the harness a few times, but my baby couldn’t get used to it and she was extremely nervous and cried desperately, until I decided I will wrap her close to me and this will be the treatment. So I wrapped and I wrapped and I wrapped for about 8-10 hours a day (sometimes even up to 12, when I had to go out for the whole day), so I managed to do almost everything I needed to, while my baby peacefully snuggled inside the wrap. So… my baby is 7 months today and the hip dysplasia is completely gone!! And the major part of it is thanks to Oscha – you saved my back, improved my child’s health while I was feeling like a queen wearing your wraps 🙂 ? All that mentioned, I cannot say that babywearing is the only way to treat hip dysplasia, BUT it helped us. Nothing compares to this unique experience of keeping your baby next to you all the time.’ Daria
- The likelihood of hip dysplasia is significantly reduced, as carrying in ergonomic slings encourages the optimum posture for development of baby’s hips and legs (3)
‘My son, Graham, was born 10 weeks prematurely barely breathing, barely with a heart beat, barely with any blood left in his little 2lb 9 oz body, and barely alive. He had suffered a hemorrhage and bleed out, back into me while still in my womb. I didn’t get to hold him until Eight days after he was born. I didn’t get a lot of things that Mothers get after giving Birth but I did get a beautiful baby boy. And greatest of all I got to wear him when the Doctors gave us the go ahead. I got to hold his body close to mine for hours on end while he was still hooked up to his monitors in the NICU. I got to snuggle him all day long when we came home after over Two Months in the hospital. And I got to comfort him each time we were readmitted to the hospital due to breathing issues. Even now, 9 months later, when we are struggling with muscle tone issues that prevent him from riding in a stroller. I still get to snuggle my baby boy because I wear him. Baby wearing has given me everything I felt was taken away from me when my son was born 10 weeks early.’ Ana T
- Many studies show the health benefits of ‘kangaroo care’ (skin to skin contact) for premature babies – babywearing helps facilitate this care for very young infants (4)
- Dodge, Andrew, 2014, Paths to Family Wellness Issue #4
- Sears, W. and Sears, M. The Attachment Parenting Book. Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown, 2001.
- Kirkilionis, Evelyn: “Die Grund-bedurfnisse des Sauglings und deren medizinische Aspekte – dargestellt und charakterisiert am Jungentypus Tragling” Teil 2. In: Notabene medicini, 2, 1997, S.117-121
- Lawn et al 2010: ‘Kangaroo mother care to prevent neonatal deaths due to preterm birth complications’, International Journal of Epidemiology 39