While babywearing may seem trendy, it’s actually an age-old tradition that, at its most fundamental, lets you keep your baby safe and close while still allowing freedom of movement, activity, and your hands. The benefits of babywearing are vast—and truly worth considering.
And before you worry if wearing your baby often will lead to spoiling, here’s what the chairman of psychiatry and psychology at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. David Mrazek says, “During the first six months, it’s really impossible to spoil a child. Meeting an infant’s need to be comforted, held and fed in a predictable fashion helps him feel secure and builds a loving relationship between parent and child. It does not lead to spoiling.”
The benefits of babywearing are plentiful for little ones, but you’ll be happy to know there are some pretty great perks for moms, too!
You get your hands back!
If your baby is only happy being held, a wrap or sling can be a physical and emotional life saver. It’s far easier to work, do chores, make a meal, or even get in a light workout when you have full use of your hands. Wearing your baby also allows you to be available for an older child who still needs plenty of attention, play time, and physical closeness.
It’s an important way to bond with your baby.
The physiological effects of loving touch are impressive. Touch lowers the stress hormone cortisol and boosts “feel-good” endorphins, along with oxytocin, the hormone largely responsible for bonding behavior. When you wear your baby, you provide constant touch and reassurance, plus you’re always available to respond to their cues and meet their needs.
Babywearing boosts brain development.
Touch can also activate particular areas of the brain and influence thought processes, reactions, and even physiological responses. One study shows brain scans that reveal how affective touch activates the orbitofrontal cortex, a brain region associated with learning and decision-making as well as with emotional and social behaviors. And when your baby spends less time crying (yes, it’s scientifically proven that babywearing reduces crying by 40%) or worrying that their needs will be met, they can get on with the business of learning and growing with confidence.
It can deter strangers from touching your baby.
A baby snuggled right up to your body is less available for random hands and cheek-pinchers than one in a stroller or shopping cart basket. This can help your baby feel safer around strangers and keep unwanted germs at bay.