When we are welcomed to parenthood, we are also welcomed to a whole new world of phrases and terms to do with child raising, it’s almost like learning a new language, right? A term which has become increasingly popular and continues to do so amongst this generation is BABYWEARING. Although it is fairly obvious what this term means (wearing our babies) what is not immediately obvious are the scientific facts, the studies and the wonderful benefits of this practise during the early years of raising our little loved ones.
When it comes to babywearing so many questions arise; which carrier should I use? What’s the best make? What does the term ‘ergonomic’ even mean? When can I start wearing my baby? Is it safe? When should I babywear? Whilst ALL of these questions won’t be answered in this specific post, one question which I will be answering is;
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BABYWEARING?
- OXYTOCIN LEVELS: When a mother gives birth, many people don’t realise the importance of keeping the newborn as close to the mother as possible and at nearly all times for at least a minimium of 6 weeks post-partum. Why? Is this the first time you’re hearing this? Most probably. So here’s the theory, a female body for 9 months forms and carries a child around, it creates this baby and all of a sudden after 9 months gives birth and many societies or cultures expect the mother and baby to stay away from each other in some form or the other from very early days, it is expected of many societies and cultures that the mother let varying guests hold the baby e.g. friends and families. Whilst of course we must accomodate to the fact that we are a civilised species and that we cannot hoard our babies and not let anyone touch them we must also for a second stop and think, what should our reactions be as mammals? We are mammals and we still sport many mammal instincts and characteristics in today’s day and time (of course). Not many realise that this constant distancing from the baby decreases our oxytocin levels. Why is that a problem and how does babywearing help? Lowered oxytocin levels means a ‘lowered level of happiness’. Thus increasing depression, which manifests into post-partum depression and in extreme cases post-partum psychosis, as well as pschosomatic illnesses in mothers. This is nothing new, think about all other mammal species, they do not let ANYONE or ANYTHING even touch their babies for the first 6-8 weeks. Babywearing helps increasing this scenario as oxytocin levels are increased through physical contact with the newborn. Thus having a postive domino effect on the relationship between mother and infant. Stronger maternal bond -> better understanding of baby and it’s needs as well as easier breastfeeding -> better care.
- NEEDS ARE MET: Babies who are carried are generally calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met (we are still mammals at the end of the day). The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, felt, giving especially newborns the closest feeling to being in utero as possible. This makes the transition from in utero to out in the open world a much smoother, easier and less traumatising one for newborns. As well as this, the caregiver is able to provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing development e.g. neural, gastrointestinal and respiratory health (hopefully the caregiver NOT being a smoker) and to establish balance (inner ear development).
- ‘HUMANIZATION’: Infants are ‘humanized’ earlier. Instead of spending their first days in anxiety, trying to figure out the giant world around the, and wondering/crying for their parents (generally specifically the mother). Infants feel safe, secure and content thus allowing them to develop socially and concentrate their energy and rapidly growing brain on other things such as studying facial expressions, studying body language and energies as well as learing languages.
- ESTABLISHING INDEPENDENCE: One thing that many people DO NOT realise is that babies who are baby worn actually are more prone to establish their own independence then those who are not. Why? Because babies who are babyworn spend the lives in a secure state, rather than in a state of panic or anxiety due to separation (separation anxiety), This constant state of being content and secure manifests into a child with confidence in themselves rather than a child that is fearful, therefore the domino effect being that a child with confidence feels ready to establish his/her own independence from an earlier age and explore the world around them – continuing to grow and become an independant adult.
- ATTACHMENT AND LOVE: This one a more obvious benefit of babywearing, carrying your baby around almost always ensures a growth of a strong bond inbetween the caregiver and baby. Being that close, and feeling the someone so dear to you, so close to you all the time can only result in a feeling of closeness, physically, emotionally, mentally and full of love.
These are the main benefits of baby wearing, covering some of the maybe not so obvious reasons as well as physiological reasons on why babywearing is such a healthy practise when it comes to raising our children. Although I covered these few points, yet in detail, there are many other reasons as to why we babywear and how we use babywearing to help us in every day life. Please don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube (Life of a Chocolate Girl ) to learn everything you need to about babywearing and lots more!