Baby wearing is simply the practice of carrying a baby either on a sling or carrier. This kind of practice has been around for centuries and most regions of the world. Though baby wearing is considered as a way of transporting a baby, it is now a trend used by parents and even doctors to advocate attachment parenting.
According to Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician and who coined the phrase attachment parenting, baby wearing has several benefits:
* 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.
* Infants who are carried are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone is constant.
* Infants are more organized. Parental rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) have balancing and soothing effects on infants.
* Infants are “humanized” earlier by developing socially. Babies are closer to people and can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and be familiar with body language.
* Independence is established earlier.
* Attachment between child and caregiver is more secure.
* Decreases risk of positional plagiocephaly (“flat head syndrome”) caused by extended time spent in a car seat and by sleeping on the back. Sleeping on the back is recommended to decrease the risk of SIDS. Cranial distortion resulting from non-vehicular time in car seats has shown to be more severe than in children who develop plagiocephaly from back-lying on a mattress. Concern over plagiocephaly has also led the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that infants “should spend minimal time in car seats (when not a passenger in a vehicle) or other seating that maintains supine positioning. None of the baby wearing positions requires infants to lie supine while being carried. Infants can even be worn while they sleep, also decreasing sleeping time spent in a supine position.
Baby wearing does not only have emotional and physiological benefits, it had also has practical advantages such as the most convenient baby transport compared to a stroller, plastic baby buckets and or removable care seats which are all heavy for parents and they are also much cheaper. Baby wearing allows moms or caregivers to have their hands free to do their work while having the baby in a safe place, their chest.