What are the benefits of baby wearing?
For centuries, mothers (and fathers) across different cultures and continents have worn their babies. Practised from the early days of the ‘fourth trimester’ right up until they get too heavy, this comforting tradition offers many advantages if done right – and yes, there are ways to do it wrong! We cover reasons to wear, and tips for ensuring you do so safely.
Reasons to consider wearing your baby
It can help baby feel safe and reduce crying
As any parent will know, babies need to feel safe, and there’s nowhere safer than on a parent’s front (or back). Randomized studies have also shown babies carried at least 3 hours a day cry up to 51% less, so get closer for less fuss!
It can be beneficial to health
Especially useful for premature babies, baby-wearing can help regulate body temperature, heart and breathing rates and is sometimes referred to as “kangaroo care” for this reason. Skin-to-skin contact can also be help promote milk production and make you feel just as good as baby, too.
It can help soothe reflux and help baby ‘go’
Reflux is common and often results in a lot of time spent holding babies upright, which isn’t easy on arms or shoulders! A supportive upright sling position can help reduce regurgitation (and spare your arms); the spread squat position of baby’s legs can also help relax those muscles and help keep things moving.
It can be a great position to breastfeed in
Whilst it may take some practise and loosening of straps to allow baby to latch properly and baby’s head enough space, many mothers master breastfeeding in a carrier or sling and find that whilst it’s not hands-free, it’s a soothing and supportive skin-to-skin way to feed on the go – plus you benefit from a certain amount of built-in privacy.
It can be really convenient!
Perhaps the most obvious benefit to busy mothers is the ability to keep baby close enough to kiss and smell and enjoy whilst being able to use hands to do something else. Anyone who’s ever tried to do anything finicky whilst holding a wriggling newborn will definitely be nodding now! Added bonus: if you’re not a fan of people who peep into your pram or coo into baby’s face, keeping baby close and facing you should prevent this!
What to look out for when baby wearing
There are always a few things to make sure you’re getting right, especially when you first begin babywearing, but thankfully they’re simple and easy to check. Here’s the checklist you’ll need to tick off, the easy-to-remember acronym for which is TICKS:
T - T is for tight. Your sling or carrier has to be tight enough that baby is supported and close to your body
I - I is for in view. You should be able to glance down and see baby’s face without having to move things around
C - Close enough for a kiss! Baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is possible and comfortable
K - Keep chin off chest. You should be able to push a finger between your baby’s chin and their chest
S - Support their back. Baby should not be slumped or curled into a C shape, especially in the early days when neck muscles are relatively weak