Friday, February 22, 2013

Benefits of Babywearing

"Babywearing" simply means holding or carrying a baby or young child using a baby carrier. Everyone enjoys holding a baby, it is a natural. But many people are nervous or scared, baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable, allowing parents and caregivers to hold or carry their children while attending to the daily tasks of living. When done properly, carrying a baby in a soft baby carrier can be safer than carrying a baby in your arms. Babywearing using a baby carrier means your muscles won't get tired and the baby is safer in case of a fall or loss of balance.

There are many benefits to babywearing for the caregiver and especially for the baby. Here are a few of my favourite benefits:

• Babywearing allows the caregiver to be more aware of their baby cues and develop a heightened awareness of the baby's needs.
• Babywearing has been proven to calm fussy babies by up to 51%. This leads to a lower risk of postnatal depression and also allows the caregivers to feel more competent in their abilities to nuture. Also helps to ease digestion (Colic) and further reduce fussiness.
• Babies who are carried learn more due to the brain stimulation of the constant changing environment.
• Babywearing promotes an intimate connection between parent and baby. It's proven to be the most important factor in health, physical development, intellectual development and social development.
• Mothers' progesterone (mothering hormone) is increased through physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness
• Babywearing increases cardiac output, improves circulation, promotes respiration and aids in digestion. Skin to skin contact, or Kangaroo Care, has been shown to enhance growth and development of the term and preterm infants.
• Frequently carried babies fall asleep quickly and will learn to sleep for longer periods of time in the comfort of their sling.
• Babywearing enhances motor skills by stimulating the baby's vestibular system (balance organs) by exposing the baby to a variety of sights, sounds and motion.
• Babywearing provides the exact level and kind of stimulation an infant requires, energizing their nervous system and creating a quiet, calm alertness in the infant. Babywearing decreases the levels of stress hormones circulating in a baby's blood stream, resulting in a more relaxed, happy baby.

Babywearing is a skill so good safety practices are of paramount importance. You are responsible for your child's safety as well as your own.

Whatever carrier you choose, learn to use it properly, and always keep safety in mind.

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