Category Archives: Benefits of Baby Carrying

Babywearing Benefits: Enhanced Bonding

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In this series of blog posts, in celebration of International Babywearing Week, we discuss the many benefits of babywearing, each presented with a beautiful piece of artwork developed here at Oscha, and share some of the touching stories our customers have told us about the impact of babywearing on their lives. 

Babywearing increases the opportunities for close contact between parent and child which leads to a more secure bond.

“We had a rather difficult start to parenthood. With a difficult labour and birth and then our daughter being admitted into the special care unit soon after birth I didn’t really get the chance to bond with her as I’d hoped. For the first few days I felt really distant from her – I was staying on the maternity ward while she was in special care for a week. A week after we got home we went to a breastfeeding support group and took along our stretchy carrier – with a bit of help from a lady there we finally understood what to do with it and our babywearing journey began. It was amazing the change it made. Babywearing helped me to bond with my daughter in those early days and our connection has grown ever since. It also helped my husband to connect with her.” Lydia McNeeney

  • Children who are carried develop a more secure attachment to parents, and securely attached children and adults live happier, less conflict ridden lives (1,2).

“When we pop him in a sling, that sleepy dust covers him and the screams stop, the eyes droop, the body relaxes and he melts. My husband and I both wear him, sometimes there is a fight to see who gets to do it. It’s not only a coping mechanism but a bonding mechanism.” Danielle C

“Babywearing has given me so much more bonding time with my babies. I’m a single mother of twin babies and baby wearing makes it possible to give holding time to both. To let one sit and cry while I attend to the other is unbearable for me and I know that kind of stress isn’t good for their development. I’m beyond thankful to have discovered babywearing.” Melissa G

  • Babywearing can lessen the likelihood and impact of post-natal depression in mothers, which helps to develop a healthy and lasting bond between mother and child (3).

“I’ve been wearing my wee man for a few weeks now. I really struggled with PND and as he is a high needs baby who has really bad reflux and has had to go to hospital 3 times in his 10 weeks, he will only sleep on me and made me feel trapped in the house. I thought that wearing the baby would be so difficult I was reluctant to try, but I was surprised by how intuitive wrapping became and by wearing him, he has become so much more content and settled and my mood has lifted to my previous self! It has also been fantastic for my husband as he thought that his son was rejecting him as he cried every time he picked him up.” Lana

  • Babywearing boosts production of oxytocin in parent and child, which is essential for developing a secure bond (4).

“Babywearing has enabled me to have great communication with my grandchildren- I feel it has enabled us to develop a very special bond.” Carol K

Babywearing has given us the ability to deal with all the ups and downs of life. It’s helped us to bond; many hours spent together with each of our babes has brought us together in several ways and given us the gift of sharing so many special moments with our children we wouldn’t otherwise have.” Katheen L

 

  1. Whitborne, Susan Krauss: “The 4 Principles of Attachment Parenting and Why They Work” in Psychology Today 2013, July
  2. Anisfield, Elizabeth / Casper, Virginia / Nozyce, Molly / Cunningham, Nicholas: “Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment”. In Child Development, 61, 1990, S.1617-1627
  3. Bigelow, A., Power, M., MacLellan-Peters, J., Alex, M. and McDonald, C. 2012: ‘Ef fect of mother/infant skin-to-skin contact on postpartum depressive symptoms and maternal physiological stress’, Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41: 369–382
  4. Uvnas-Moberg, Kerstin 2003: The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love and Healing, Da Capo Press Inc

Benefits of Babywearing- A Dad’s Point of View

Ciaran McKenna, AKA The Babywearing Dad, talks about why he enjoys carrying his first son in a sling and why he would recommend other fathers  do the same. Ciaran will be this years Face of the Fair at Babywearing Irelands annual Wear a Hug Fair.
Ciaran also reviewed our Starry Night Midnight wrap recently (pictured below), read what he thought here.

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I am a first time dad, like all first time dads I had no idea how this was going to go. I didn’t know what kind of a father I would be. Without babywearing I think things would be very different. I didn’t wear him for the first 6 weeks, mainly because I thought I might break him! I know now that that’s nonsense, and the next time round in will do it as soon as the baby is handed to me! In the run up to the Wear a Hug Fair I’d like to talk about some benefits of babywearing for any dads out there that might have their doubts about it. Don’t forget you can always contact me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if you’ve got any questions. I’m always more than happy to talk about my love of babywearing!

1. Bonding

Anyone who has read a few of my blog pieces or interviews knows that this is always a big one for me. It can seem to some dads that mom can bond faster than dad, and why wouldn’t they? They could have just carried the little one for 39ish weeks! The best way to bond, in my opinion, is babywearing. Having your baby so close to you, sleeping on you, getting used to your voice, your smell, your heartbeat. You can also do skin to skin, or kangaroo parenting while babywearing, which is a great way to bond too.

2.  Hands Free Parenting

I honestly don’t know how parents who don’t babywear get anything done! Feeding/walking the dogs, hanging out washing, stuffing nappies, making lunch, playing Xbox, all these and more are done in our house whilst babywearing. It’s so practical, and your baby is happy and contented the entire time (often asleep!)

3. Sharing Hobbies/Experiences

When babywearing you can really go pretty much anywhere. There’s no clunky buggy stopping you get in or up places and you are hands free. I’ve done some hillwalking, hiking, collecting plants for college work and changed the spark plugs on my bike with my little fella strapped to me. He was delighted and I got to continue doing things I like while still parenting and having my baby close to me. This also gives Mom a well deserved break which earns major brownie points; another benefit for dad!

4. Settles Babies Quickly

I have yet to find any way to soothe or calm my baby as quickly and easily as babywearing. Even my mom wears him now when she minds him! It’s unbelievable, and no matter what’s wrong it always helps, be it the position he’s in giving him relief from wind etc. or just the close cuddle giving him comfort, it has yet to fail. Every morning now for nap time he goes in a wrap for 10 minutes and he’s out like a light, and can be transferred to his cot (if I don’t want to just sit there cuddling him). Happy baby makes for a happy dad, and that time in the cot gets you a break for a cup of tea, or making bottles!

5. Impress Your Lady!

There isn’t a babywearing mom out there that doesn’t find their partner wearing their baby extremely attractive! I don’t know exactly what it is, but I haven’t met one woman who doesn’t love it!

Ciaran will be at the Wear a Hug Fair this weekend in Kildare, Ireland. Why not pop along to say hello if you’re near by.

Research Into The Benefits of Babywearing

Zoe and Vicki recently attended the Flemish Babywearing Conference in Antwerp and were fascinated to hear about current research exploring the benefits of babywearing. Here they share a personal view of what resonated for them.

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When you’re working every day designing and making baby wraps it’s great to take time out to be reminded of the difference that baby wearing can make for babies, their parents and carers. After attending this two day conference and hearing about the growing evidence base demonstrating the benefits of baby wearing we returned with a renewed enthusiasm for the work we do. Here’s a brief foray into some of the things we learned.

Professor Reinhard Graf, an Orthopaedic Consultant from Austria was first up. Ebullient in his bow tie, he talked passionately about hip development of new born babies and what can cause developmental dislocation of the hips, otherwise known as hip dysplasia.

Many communities swaddle babies tightly from birth so the baby can be kept warm and safe, as well as easily transported over long distances and difficult terrain. Unfortunately tightly swaddling babies and wrapping them on carrier boards can lead to developmental dislocation of the hips. Essentially, it’s not healthy for babies to be forced into extending their legs for long periods of time; they need to be carried in a more natural position, with their knees tucked up. Reinhard told us that where communities had moved away from tight swaddling, to allow the baby to be carried with bent legs then the incidence of hip dysplasia reduced dramatically. Baby wearing, where the baby is correctly positioned to support flexion of the hips, can help both in preventing and addressing developmental dislocation of the hips.

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Showing the flexed ‘M’ shape of the babies hips and knees when carried in a woven wrap.

Both with animals and humans the baby naturally clings onto the parent with their legs bent and apart and so resting on the mother’s hip. Dr Evelin Kirkillonis talked of three different sub-categories of mammals differentiating between altricial such as cats and rats which need care and attention after birth for a period of time, precocial such as horses, elephants which are born, licked clean, nudged to stand up and off they go to find some food and finally the parent-clinging. Human babies, like apes and kangaroos, are ‘clinging young’ as Evelin called it, and need the closeness to the mother/parents for secure attachment as well as for food and safety.

Touch between parent and child, another key aspect of wrapping, also helps the production of oxytocin. This really does seem to be the wonder hormone, stimulating good cell growth, inhibiting cancer growing cells and killing cells that are not functional. It’s produced everywhere in the body; heart, cells, gastro-intestinal tract, skin, brain leading to a connective web, all influencing one another as Professor Kerstin Unvas-Moberg, who has published a number of books on oxytocin, told us.

As well as being key in the production of breast milk, when oxytocin is released it reduces anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, pain and leads to weight loss in men. It increases social interaction, curiosity, growth and restoration, wound healing and weight gain in women (oh well, nothing’s perfect).

Skin to skin contact is key in the release of oxytocin and creating attachment between parents and baby. So it’s critical that parents have the opportunity to touch as soon as possible after the baby’s born, and of course baby wearing creates close up touch between child and parent.

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Babies carried close enjoy plenty of instinctive, positive touch.

The importance of skin to skin was also the theme of the presentation given by Tina Hoffmann. She talked movingly of a project, which Didymos were involved in, to design a wrap for carrying premature babies.  This was a subject close to our hearts as Zoe’s twins were premature. It certainly would have been great to have the enlightened team of midwife and consultant, whom Tina worked with around instead of the general ignorance of and resistance to kangaroo care we encountered. However, things have moved on in six years and there is more awareness of the benefits of kangaroo care now.

The wraps Didymos designed hold the baby securely against the parent so they can relax and even lie back and drift off without fear of baby slipping. They are soft yet stretchy allowing easy access for the nurses in case they need to quickly remove the baby and are simple, so tubes won’t get entangled.  Tina said they found fathers initially reluctant to wear their babies but having been persuaded once they were invariably keen to continue.

In between workshops we enjoyed catching up with babywearing consultants and healthcare professions attending the conference, and hanging out with our friends at Connecta, as well as meeting people from other wrap companies. We, somehow, still found time to explore the beautiful old town centre in Antwerp, window shop for jewellery and stock up on Belgian chocolate.

All in all it was a great two days and we’d like to thank the conference organisers for a seamless event and all the speakers, most of whom were presenting in English, which was not their first language – much respect.