Let’s chat about something that may just save you your sanity mama, babywearing. Babes tried? Clingy? Sleepy? You need two hands for something? Babywearing is such a lifesaver! There are a bunch of ways bubs can be worn and this practice has been used for centuries to keep bubs close to their mamas/care provider! There are ring slings, pouches, backpacks (once bubs older) and more! So let’s dive in and chat about some of the benefits that we know of!
Benefits of Babywearing
Babywearing is an amazing bonding exercise that can be done by either mama or dad! Having your baby so close allows you to be fully in touch with what your baby needs! Whether it be subtle feeding cues or just a warm cuddle with mama, you really get to understand what is best for mum and bub.
You may have heard about skin to skin or kangaroo care? Babywearing works in a much similar way where baby’s temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate are regulated according to mamas. Baby’s have spent 9 months in the womb hearing and feeling their beautiful mama, and now in the fourth-trimester babywearing can replicate this process. It soothes baby and overall helps baby to cry less! That’s a bonus for all the tired mamas out there.
Babywearing reduces the incidence of SIDS by regulating a baby’s breathing rate. Mamas out there have said that when they are babywearing and take deep breaths, so does their baby! Babywearing allows your baby to be calm, soothed and reduces all the stress hormones in their body! Mama, this is a great way to keep your baby safe! It also reduces Flathead Syndrome by allowing your baby to sleep in different positions rather than always on their back!
Babywearing can assist in the development of your baby’s muscular and fine motor skills. It lets baby’s move their head, neck, back, and core muscles and allows them to grasp around mamas chest. It also promotes early language development as they have the ‘best seat in the house’ to see mamas beautiful face when she speaks and makes expressions. This will help them when they begin to babble and talk!
Breastfeeding and babywearing go hand in hand due the closeness of baby to your chest. Mama, this allows for all of your good hormones like Oxytocin to be released. It can help with your supply and encourages the ‘let-down’ reflex. Having your baby so close allows you to monitor when it’s time to feed and allows your baby to feed on demand- so conveniently as baby is already on your chest. As you become more experienced with babywearing, you may want to breastfeed when the baby is being worn, however first mama, you should master each skill and give them a go together whenever you feel comfortable!
A benefit of babywearing for mama is that this whole practice is convenient. You can have peace of mind of knowing exactly what is happening with your baby, whilst making yourself a cup of tea. Mama, this practice gives you two free hands to do things for YOU! All at the same time of keeping your baby warm and safe. It’s a win, win situation for both!
How, and when should I start babywearing?
Mama, you can start babywearing whenever you feel comfortable following the recovery from your birth and your transition to parenthood. Always check with the maker of your sling on the age they are designed for. Some baby carriers do not support bubs head and are only to be used once bub has full neck control. When babywearing your newborn baby, it is important to remember some of these quick tips!
- T, Tight! Keep your baby nice and firmly wrapped against your chest. They should be positioned upright against your body to prevent them from slipping out.
- I, In view at all times! When bub is in the baby wrap, make sure their face and breathing is visible at all times. By seeing their little face, you can also keep an eye on feeding cues etc.
- C, Close enough to kiss! The way we recommend positioning baby’s is so mamas are able to kiss the top of their head. This is a little guide for the correct and safest positioning when babywearing!
- K, Keep chin off chest! A gap of about 2 fingers from your chest is a safe position for babies. When they're in a good upright position, their spine is curved and legs are squatted.
- S, Supported back! Try not to over-tighten the baby wrap against baby’s back. The wrap should be nice and firm, where baby is pressed against your chest. However, the wrap should be loose enough for you to slide your hand over baby’s back.
Mama, give babywearing a go! It has so many wonderful benefits to both you, your baby, and your partner! Overall, it allows your beautiful newborn to be in arms reach (literally) and through this wholesome process, you can see your baby grow, develop, and be nourished by the powerful mama that you already are!
Written by Midwife Aliza from Bumpnbub.