Babywearing Benefits + Choosing a Carrier + FAQ’s

Babyearing Benefits Choosing a Carrier FAQs


Dr. Sears – BABYWEARING

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE IN ARMS PHASE

EXERPTS FROM THE VITAL TOUCH

BABYWEARING – A DAD’S EXPERIENCE

We, at The Little Sling Company, know only too well the first hand benefits of wearing your baby. Now we would like to share this knowledge with you. Babies love to be held and we believe the safest and most comfortable way to hold your baby is with a soft baby carrier like a sling, pouch, mei tai or wrap. Please have a read of the links above to learn some interesting views on babywearing and how beautiful and beneficial it can be.

43 REASONS TO CARRY YOUR BABY

by Marni Co Collection www.nurturing.ca


Baby-carrying provides the elements of pressure, motion, pleasure, warmth, security, sound that is essential to the development of the vestibular nervous system.

  1. Baby-carrying provides constant vestibular stimulation necessary to the development of motor skills in infants and calming deep-pressure touch and kinesthetic stimulation. Carrying infants lowers the level of stress hormones and adrenalin circulating in the blood stream of the infant.
  2. Carrying helps the baby develop balance and trunk and head control. Infants who are carried sit independently and walk sooner.
  3. Baby-carrying enables the mother to be acutely responsive and aware of her baby’s cues and signals. Baby-carrying increases maternal sensitivity and heightens parent’s perceptions of their children’s needs. Mothers become so sensitive to their baby that they can anticipate hunger needs, waking, and the need for a clean diaper.
  4. Babies that are carried develop a strong and secure attachment to their mothers.
  5. Baby carrying reduces crying and fussiness (one study found by 43% during the day and 51% at night), mothers feel more competent and nurturing toward their infant and are less likely to act in abusive ways towards their children. This author found that baby-carrying resulted in crying less than 1% of the time for the first year of the baby’s life.
  6. Continuously carried infants initiate separation faster and become more self-reliant.
  7. Baby-carrying creates autonomy, intimacy and a healthy development of physical intimacy and touching between parents and children.
  8. Baby-carrying gives healthy messages of touching to children and they learn to give and receive affection and touching in healthy ways. Carried infants are less likely to have sexual problems or unwanted pregnancies later in life.
  9. Babies who are touched and carried continuously develop larger brains than infants who are denied this stimulation.
  10. Babies who are carried have a lower mortality rate than infants who are denied this constant contact.
  11. Baby-carrying greatly benefits premature infants and lowers their mortality rate.
  12. Babies who are carried cry less, smile more, are less prone to vomiting and spitting up.
  13. Infants who are carried experience reduced or little incidence of colic.
  14. Carried babies experience an enhanced degree of bonding with their caregiver.
  15. Baby-carrying allows parents to accomplish their day-to-day activities and still be in close physical contact with their babies.
  16. Baby-carrying provides the natural rhythm of movement and tactile stimulation that small babies need for proper neurological development. Constantly carried babies fall asleep quickly in the comfort of their sling – some babies may always fall asleep while carried.
  17. Baby-carrying allows the baby to be an active participant in the walking, talking, laughing, movement, and working of the parent.
  18. Babies are easy to wear and parents learn to relax and touch, even if they were not touched often as children or are awkward with physical intimacy and closeness.
  19. Baby-carrying develops bonding and attachment between parent and child, shows love and affection, and parental-child love is expressed and actively demonstrated on a constant basis.
  20. Baby-carrying tells children they are loved, safe, secured and cared for.
  21. Baby-carrying creates children that are more involved in their parent’s life and more likely to be involved in their own lives and less isolated as adults.
  22. Baby-carrying allows children to be AT the center of activity rather than being the center of attention, which is a healthy atmosphere for development of empathy, affection and a healthy sense of self.
  23. Baby-carrying is the most comfortable and easy way to hold baby on the parent’s shoulders, backs and hips. Baby-wearing distributes weight evenly from parent’s shoulders to hips and aligns baby’s center of gravity as close to parent’s body as possible. Baby-carrying develops the back muscles necessary to carry the baby and corrects posture in the caregiver.
  24. Baby-carrying holds baby securely leaving the parent’s hands free for work and activities.
  25. Baby-carrying offers constant and easy access to the infant’s food source, mother’s breast milk.
  26. Babies sleep comfortably and for longer periods of time while carried.
  27. Babies who are carried have a solid sense of self-esteem and independence.
  28. Baby-carrying stimulates optimal development of the cerebellum of the brain, the only part of the brain that continually increases in cells as the baby gets older.
  29. Infants who are not carried can be at risk for the brain pathways that modulate pleasure being improperly or incompletely developed.
  30. Carrying of the infant is the most important factor responsible for the infant’s normal and social development.
  31. Baby-carrying is a natural soothing baby tranquilizer which helps fussy or tired infants fall asleep.
  32. Baby-carrying stimulates the tactile receptors in the skin, developing muscle tone, increases cardiac output which increases circulation, promotes respiration and aids in digestion.
  33. Baby-carrying helps the baby maintain equilibrium and provides movement to the baby in all three directions, essential to proprioception (body awareness).
  34. Baby-carrying provides the exact level and kind of stimulation an infant requires, energizing their nervous system and providing quiet and calm alertness in the infant.
  35. Infants who are carried learn more as they are in a vertical position or semi-vertical position which encourages an alert state of arousal. Baby-carrying develops the muscles needed for the infant to sit, stand and walk. The baby must use his muscles to fight gravity and hold his head up, building necessary muscle strength, control, and coordination.
  36. Infants who are carried have less head lag, stronger neck and shoulder muscles, and walk on their own by ten months old versus the average North American walking age of eleven and a half (or more) months. Baby-carrying allows infants to retain the standing/stepping reflex present from birth which they use to push themselves up and grab onto mother.
  37. Infants who are carried typically walk and never crawl due to their advanced motor development and enriched environmental experiences while worn on their caregiver.
  38. Carried infants experience less vertigo and increased physical agility in adulthood, a superior sense of balance, precision of movement, and an awareness of their position in the space around them.
  39. Baby carrying shortens the period that an infant is dependent on his caregiver, and carried infants initiate separation sooner and for longer periods due to their more secure attachment to the parent.
  40. Baby carrying constantly allows the baby to complete its exterogestation period which is needed for the proper development and health of the infant.
  41. Baby-carrying creates an intuitive sensitivity that allows mother to anticipate her baby’s every mood and need and fully experience the joy of mothering.
  42. Baby-carrying recreates the oneness of the baby and mother that existed in the womb which is absolutely necessary for proper development of the infant and the mother’s levels of mothering hormone, prolactin.

reprinted courtesy of: The Marnie Ko Collection http://www.nurturing.ca/

EXCERPTS FROM BABYWEARING

by Maria Blois, M.D.


Babywearing is Good for Babies
Biologically, babies need to be carried in order to thrive. Studies have shown that otherwise well nourished and cared for infants who are deprived of human touch fail to thrive and can even die. Good things happen when baby is carried. Research shows that babies who are held often:

  • cry less: Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry. The long-term consequences of letting infants cry without responding are just beginning to be understood. One study found that letting babies cry permanently alters the nervous system by flooding the developing brain with stress hormones. This makes these babies overly sensitive to future trauma and may lead to incidents of post-traumatic stress and panic disorders in adulthood. Babies who cry less in the first few months cry less in the following year. Responding quickly to your crying baby is an investment – the less she cries now the more peaceful the upcoming year. Well worth it.
  • are more calm and content: Carried babies have a more even respiratory rate, heart rate and steady internal body temperature. Even very tiny premature babies can be carried safely in a sling without danger of compromised breathing or heart rate. Regularly carrying a baby encourages baby to feel secure and content.
  • sleep more peacefully: Keeping baby close helps baby organize his sleep/wake cycles. Naptimes are spent in constant motion, close to mother’s heart and night time is dark and still with a loved parent near by. This helps baby make a difference between daytime and nighttime, an important step in sleeping longer stretches at night. One study of premature infants found that babies had longer intervals of quiet sleep when they had skin-to-skin contact with mother.
  • nurse better, gain weight better: Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. Full-term babies nurse more frequently when they are carried close to mother.
  • enjoy better digestion: The constant motion and frequent small feedings associated with carrying baby can promote good digestion. Babies who are carried often spit up less. Babies with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) can benefit from being carried in the upright position after a feeding. When baby is upright, the force of gravity helps the acid stay down in the stomach where it belongs. Most babies outgrow this condition.
  • develop better: Babies who are held experience human touch and movement. This stimulation has been shown to have a positive effect on the baby’s development. Carrying baby enhances motor skills by stimulating the vestibular system (used for balance). Baby constantly readjusts as mother moves around, using his developing muscles to hold his head up, kick his feet and use his arms to cling to mother. Because soft carriers keep pressure off the back of the head, carried babies are at a much lower risk for plagiocephaly (asymmetrical head shape). Carrying baby naturally limits the time baby spends in hard plastic carriers, such as carseats, automatic swings, and such. Holding baby while moving counts as “tummy time.”

There are other physical advantages of being carried for baby. Babywearing can be kind to baby’s developing hip joints. Baby hips are unique in that formation is not complete at birth. The acetabulum, or the ball and socket joint of the hip, continues to develop for the first few months of life. When baby straddles our front or our back, his legs are said to be in the abducted position, or turned out from the hips. This position aids in healthy hip development. In fact, children with congenital hip dysplasia are often placed in this position to help correct the problem.

Copyright 2007 Dr. Maria Blois, Excerpts from Babywearing; Babywearing is good for babies.

EXCERPTS FROM BABYWEARING

by Maria Blois, M.D.

Choosing a Baby Carrier


If you saw it in my book or saw me wearing it at one of my talks, you will find it here. Please keep in mind that there are many quality baby carriers available, these are simply the ones I have personally tried. Exclusion of any carrier does not imply an inferior product.

Type

Description

Slings


If you are new to babywearing, a sling is the perfect place to start. Slings are easy to use and work well for most parents and babies.

The fabric goes over one shoulder and around the hip. Baby rides in folds of fabric close to the body in a variety of positions, front, side and back. Slings can accommodate newborns to toddlers up to 35 lbs. Change positions while baby is still in sling, no need to reload. Most slings are 100% cotton, machine washable, but specialty fabrics, such as silk and solar veil exist. Slings are easy to put on and take off. You may breastfeed easily and discreetly in a sling.

Slings can be adjusted with rings or simply tied at the shoulder. Adjustable slings are great because different people can wear the same sling. Also, you can loosen or tighten the sling while baby is in the sling – a feature that is great for breastfeeding moms – simply loosen for more space to nurse bigger babies.

Slings come in padded and unpadded varieties. The padding is on the shoulder and/or rails. A well-adjusted unpadded sling is every bit as comfortable as a padded sling, so padding is just a matter of personal taste.

Many unpadded slings have an open tail that can be used for, among other things, a cover-up for discreet nursing or to block the sun.

Pouches are tube-shaped fixed slings that are very easy to
use. Pouches can’t be beat for the in/out convenience, but it is difficult to do a vertical hold with a pouch.

Adjustable pouches are a nice mix of the features of a ring sling with the compactness of a pouch.

Hybrid pouches feature a sewn in pouch with a ring sling for adjustability.

Hip slings are exclusive hip carriers, suitable for babies with good head control, usually around four months.

Wraparound

This long piece of fabric wraps around you and baby in a variety of comfortable positions, front,

side and back. The all over fabric provides great support for newborns – simply adjust the fabric up and over sleeping baby’s head. It is surprisingly easy to learn to wrap. Great relief to have baby supported on both shoulders.

Wraparound carriers are the absolute best for distributing baby’s weight, so they are perfect for larger babies and toddlers. They do, however, have a bit of a steeper learning curve.

Wraparound carriers are particularly suited forkangaroo care, the practice of holding premature and full-term newborns skin-to-skin for optimal neurological development.

You may breastfeed discreetly on both sides in front carry.

Front/Back Packs

These carriers hold baby vertically on your front or on your back. Packs are a favorite for the back carry – both shoulders are supported (unlike a sling) and there is less fabric than a wraparound carrier. Not a favorite for the hip carry.

Fabric packs are beautifully compact and sleek while the constructed packs feature a more backpack like construction.

You may breastfeed discreetly with minor adjustments in the front carry.

Back Torso Carriers

Strapless back carrier. Fabric wraps around baby in back, under mom’s arms and over bust. Leaves shoulders free. Great for those with neck problems. Suitable for babies four months plus. Great for chores requiring bending over- loading dishwasher, laundry. Great for hiking and long walks.

Copyright 2007 Dr. Maria Blois, Excerpts from Babywearing; Choosing a Baby Carrier.

FAQ’s

Q: Why should I bother with a sling?

A: There are so many upsides to wearing your baby besides the extra love and nurture that they get from being close to you! Wearing your baby frees up your hands and makes life easier. If your baby is unsettled then you can wear your baby around the house, placating your baby whilst getting lots done. If your baby is happy but just wants to be close to you, then wearing your baby allows for this too. If you live in London, then you know how difficult it is to navigate the underground with a buggy – popping your baby in a sling means you don’t need a buggy. All public transport is made easier when wearing your baby and having your hands free. Going to restaurants, cafes and most public places where there is no room for a buggy, is also much easier with your baby in a sling. There are physical benefits for you as your sling enables you to carry your baby without putting any extra strain on your body. How many times are we told about the importance of carrying our baby correctly? So your baby is happy, your hands are free, you and your baby are supported, you can negotiate public transport and places more easily, and with our beautiful range of fabrics you also look stylish.

Q: Is my baby too big for a carrier?

A: Most carriers support babies up to 30lbs, some up to 40+lbs! If your baby is not yet walking, then your baby is never too big for a sling! If your baby is walking then a pouch or a mei tai is perfect to keep your back from breaking whenever they want to be picked up (which is usually 5minutes after you leave the house).

Q: How do I decide on which type of sling or carrier; there are so many?

A: There are many factors that help determine which type of sling or carrier is best suited to your needs. Do you want to share your sling so that your partner can wear it? Do you have a preferred colour or fabric? Your baby’s age and weight will also play a role in helping determine which carrier is suitable. For example, ring slings can be used from birth and are adjustable, most pouch slings are not adjustable, and mei tai’s are suitable for babies and toddlers. Whatever your needs, we are here to help you work out which carrier or sling will make you and your baby happy.

Q: Which sling do you recommend for breastfeeding discreetly?

A: We think the best slings for breastfeeding are without a doubt, ring slings. They feature long tails which can be used to cover you and the baby whilst nursing. You can also easily latch your baby on while still in the sling. After ring slings, we think that a well-fitted pouch sling can also allow for discreet breastfeeding.

Q: Why do people ask if a baby in a sling is more fussy or more difficult to put down to sleep?

A: We have heard it said by some that carrying your baby will make a rod for your own back. Nothing could be further from the truth. Holding your baby is the most natural thing in the world. Babies are designed to be held. There is research to show that babies that are carried by their parents cry less and are less prone to colic than babies which are not carried. If you are wearing your baby, your baby will learn your daily life rhythms and interact with far more people. Your baby will feel safe and secure next to you and will gain more confidence. All of these promote a happy settled baby and do not create a clingy fussy baby. Babies carried in slings often drift off to sleep in them and stay asleep without any fuss. It is also very easy to transfer a baby sleeping in a sling into a cot or bed without waking them up.

Q: Can using a sling help if my baby suffers from a form of Reflux?

A: Keeping your baby upright after a feed has been attributed to decreasing the effects of reflux by helping to stop the acid refluxing and your baby vomiting. As soon as the baby has settled after a feed you can put them in the sling which will keep them in an upright position.

Q: I would like to try the slings on before I buy, where can I do this?

A: Come to our showroom! All of our slings are available to try on in the comfort of our friendly and relaxed showroom; complete with nursing chair and toddler play area. We know that babywearing for the first time can be confusing and overwhelming, so that is why we set up a showroom in London. You can try on different types of baby carrier and learn how to use them before you buy one. Please just contact us and let us know when you are coming. We will be more than happy to assist you.