Babywearing has been practiced around the world for centuries, but gained popularity in the U.S. in recent years. Take a look at your grocery store tabloids and you’ll likely spot a celebrity mom or dad wearing their baby proudly as paparazzi snaps shots of them purchasing fruit from their local farmer’s market.
Why is baby wearing a growing trend? Truthfully, there is nothing more becoming on a new parent than a smiling little bundle of joy, but there’s more to it than that. As one who practiced babywearing with two children, here are some of the benefits my family has enjoyed:
• Feeling the love. Baby carriers are a magnificent bonding tool for all caregivers including mom, dad, grandparents, and even older siblings. While being worn, baby becomes used to the caregiver’s voice, heartbeat, motions and facial expressions. By holding baby close in a carrier, the caregiver becomes familiar with baby’s movements and facial expressions, helping them better understand baby’s signals for hunger, boredom, or even diaper change needs before baby starts to cry. This helps build baby’s trust of the caregiver.
• Quiet. Need I say more? Seriously – A controlled trial suggested infants who received supplemental carrying cried and fussed 43% less overall, and 51% less at night!
• Convenience. I cannot tell you how many times having a carrier has helped me make it through a day, especially with baby number two. Being able to maintain the physical bond with my baby while doing chores around the house or holding my first daughter’s hand while we walk through the zoo has been invaluable!
• Promotes healthy baby growth. According to one published study, Kangaroo Care, or the special way of holding your preterm infant skin to skin, shows a 51% reduction in newborn mortality when babies were kangarooed within the first week after birth and breastfed by their mothers. Various studies have also shown babywearing stabilizes heart rates, reduces apnea and uneven breathing patterns, and helps baby better regulate body temperature. Research has even shown that premature babies who are touched and held frequently gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not held and touched.
So in my opinion, this is one of those times it pays to be trendy. Talk to your baby’s doctor to make sure babywearing is safe for your child (especially if your baby was born preterm). To figure out which carrier will work for you, do your research online, ask your friends and family which carriers they like, or join an online babywearing club for local parents in your area and check out their lending library. I promise, once you find the right carrier for your family, your baby will become your favorite embellishment to rock!
Elizabeth Clarke works as the Community Benefits Coordinator for Aurora Health Care. She is a proud mother to two young girls and enjoys being a lifetime learner, talking all things baby and long walks on the beach (with a toddler on her back of course).