This week is a celebration, but don’t feel bad if you’re not sure why. After all, International Babywearing Week is not as well-known as Christmas or even St. Patrick’s Day.
Nevertheless, it is an event that is growing year-on-year in tandem with the surging popularity of babywearing. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that carting your baby around in a carrier, sling, or wrap is something of a crunchy fashion statement, but, I’m afraid you’d be wrong.
Not only does baby-carrying date back to the earliest human societies, but now there is an increasing body of modern scientific research that is revealing some incredible benefits that babywearing can bestow on both mother and infant.
Did you know that carrying with skin contact can actually help preterm infants gain weight? Or that slings and carriers might help moms cope with postpartum depression? Or how the position of babies in carriers can reduce reflux symptoms?
Well this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out these 23 evidence-based benefits of babywearing:
Benefits Beyond the Science
Of course, we all want to base our parenting decisions on sound evidence, but sometimes the anecdotal evidence supplied by moms and dads is just as important.
Here are some additional babywearing benefits that don’t require a PHD to understand:
- It’s convenient. – You can walk around freely and easily, especially when navigating steps, escalators, or narrow, busy streets. All nightmare situations with a stroller.
- It makes breastfeeding in public easier. – Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll soon breastfeed without anyone noticing. Heck, you can even do it while using both hands! Though this can startle the unsuspecting shop clerk.
- It’s affordable. – Compared to strollers, carriers are very affordable. With a wide selection of wraps, slings, and carriers to choose from, you’ll find one for any budget.
- It’s great for travelling. – Hopping on and off planes becomes a cinch. Plus you won’t need to wait for your stroller at the baggage collection.
- Look, no hands! – With your hands freed up, you can get on with typing, texting, and toddler-wrangling older siblings.
- It’s good for fitness. – It’s easy to exercise, be it walking, yoga, or personal training. Plus the extra weight works extra muscles and burns more calories.
- It’s good for dads. – And grandparents too. Wearing your baby promotes closeness and bonding, which allows other caregivers to experience the warm and fuzzy feelings.
What are you waiting for?
Now that the science is catching up with ancient anecdotal mom-wisdom, it’s little surprise that babywearing is entering the mainstream culture. Expect to see a lot more mammas and pappas slingin’ their babies. We think this is something worth celebrating!
Neve Spicer is a two time champion kid-wrangler and a passionate babywearer for over five years. She is also the founder and chief editor at WeTheParents, an online resource that simplifies parenting for noobies.