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5 Benefits of Babywearing
In many cultures, carrying a baby close to the body has been the only way for parents or caregivers to transport a child. While carrying a baby in a carrier was also practiced in Europe for centuries, it gradually fell out of style in Western societies in the 19th century with the rise in popularity of prams and strollers along with new parenting attitudes. The relationship between children and parents grew more distanced as parents worried about spoiling their children. In the 1960s and 1970s, carriers began to make a comeback as new parenting philosophies entered the mainstream.
Now science shows carrying your baby matters for more than just transport. Here’s 5 reasons why.
Born to be carried
When infants are placed flat on their backs or picked up, they naturally adopt a carry-ready posture. They instinctively pull their legs up and their arms naturally spread out. There is a perfectly good reason for this – they expect to be carried.
Centuries ago, when our ancestors were always on the move searching for food and shelter, the only way to keep their babies safe was to carry them on their body. The spread-squat leg position is the starting position for a humanchild to hold on to the mother‘s body in a hip carry and it remains instinctual until children can support their own weight and stand unaided. This posture is supported in a natural way when the child is carried in a wrap or carrier. Even newborns can hold this position for long periods of time, a position that is uncomfortable and tiring for adults.
Babies have slightly rounded backs. As they start to crawl, sit, stand and walk this C-shape develops to become the S-shape of the adult. DIDYMOS baby wraps and carriers perfeclty mold to the baby's developing back, providing optimal support for his body. Today, as in ancient times, an infant is anatomically wired to being carried in the flexed-abducted position with a rounded back. This means the baby can adapt to the wearer‘s body whether worn in a front, side or back carrier. Babies are born to be carried.
Babywearing Helps Babies to Develop a Feeling of BasicTrust
A baby is carried for nine months in his mother‘s womb and he is nourished with all he needs. He hears her voice and he smells, tastes and feels his mother‘s presence.
After birth this intimate relationship continues in another, yet similar, way through babywearing. Carrying babies in a wrap or carrier is a wonderful way to respond to their needs for physical closeness to a parent or caregiver.
Babies rely on adults for loving care, attention, nourishment and emotional closeness. Feeling safe and secure, they develop a strong attachment – a bond that provides the foundation of a child’s trust and relationships, helping him to develop a solid sense of resilience and independence.
Babywearing Is Healthy
Babywearing has so many positive health aspects that you can hardly name them all.
One of the most important benefits is the healthy development of the hip joints. The spread-squat position, which is the natural clinging position for infants, is an ideal position to aid this development. It is not surprising that hip dysplasia is rare in cultures where babies are traditionally carried in slings or wraps.
An increasing number of babies are diagnosed with flat head syndrome, which is caused by being in a supine position for long periods of time. This increase is due to the recommendations that parents keep their babies on their backs to help prevent SIDS. Carrying your child in a wrap or carrier is helpful to avoid or improve flat head syndrome. Babies that are carried frequently spend less time on their back.
Colic in babies is a widespread problem which is hardly known in cultures where babies are carried. Why?
1. Close to his parents' body, the baby's belly is massaged with gently rhythmic motions.
2. Carrying stimulates acupressure points which are located on the lower insides of the thighs. This has relaxing and antispasmodic effects.
3. Being held close to his parents' body helps to meet a baby's need to feel safe and protected, so he is less likely to cry.
Babywearing Stimulates Baby's Motor Development
In the womb, the fetus experiences almost constant motion. The mother’s movements stimulate the unborn baby's muscle growth and motor development. Carried in a wrap or sling, babies constantly practice compensatory movements enhancing muscular strength and exercising their vestibular system, which controls balance.
Babywearing Enhances Learning
Carried babies are intimately involved in their caregiver’s world. They can see what mum and dad see. They observe the world around them, their senses report to the brain about these experiences and this input stimulates neural activity When carried babies become overwhelmed by too much stimulation, their head sinks to the side and they fall asleep quickly in the comfort of their wrap or carrier. Close to the wearer they can easily block out the environmental stimuli.
Babies need to move. They love to be swayed and rocked. Carried babies move back and forth and side to side with their wearer‘s walking. These movements encourage brain function and mental development. Research has shown that movements stimulate the growth of new neurons. This is particularly true for babies and children.
Parents constantly interact with their children when they carry them. They explore the world around them together, from the same point of view . This constant exchange of looks, sensations and feelings plays an important role for the child's mental development and language acquisition.
Conclusion: Carrying your baby allows you to be close and bond in the most natural way. Older babies and toddlers also benefit from the comfort and security of babywearing. Carrying stimulates their physical and mental development and strengthens the bond between you and your child. There are many different DIDYMOS baby carriers as well as tying methods for baby wraps. Find more information and a wide range of DIDYMOS products in our online shop.