The Benefits of Baby Wearing
Babies that are carried next to their mother’s chest cry less and sleep better, according — (not surprisingly) — to a company that makes baby carrying slings. There clearly are benefits to baby carrying, as well as some risks.
Baby-wearing product manufacturer Lucky Baby said that baby carrying is a growing trend, and for good reason. The company said that being close to mother will help calm a baby by making him/her feel more secure, and more connected.
For mothers, the benefits of baby carrying include having a calmer baby, a free hand, better fitness and a fuller pocketbook, the company said. It can even help to ward off post natal depression.
According to the company, carrying a baby in a sling promotes a better connection between mother and child, leading to better communication. They claim that babies carried this way often don’t cry as much, simply because mothers have the opportunity to “tune in” to their baby’s subtle communication cues.
This faster, deeper bonding helps to give mother’s added confidence, they claim, which can actually decrease the chance of post-natal depression. In addition, having this built-in daily workout can help to keep mothers fit.
By relying less on expensive strollers and car seats, (from using a sling), mothers can cut back on their equipment overhead, and save some money. And by keeping baby close during normal activities, new mothers can better integrate their new life into their existing social and professional lives.
These are all good, common-sense benefits to baby wearing. Now, what about the downside?
Mothers need to keep in mind that baby-wearing involves having a growing amount of added weight attached to their bodies. While a well-designed sling keeps the weight close to the body – (which helps to avoid straining the back and neck) – there can still be added strain just from lugging around extra (and, as we mentioned, growing) weight.
Two things that the baby-carrying mother should avoid are improper footwear, and bending over to lift heavy things. By “improper footwear” we mean those fashionable pumps in particular — but really any shoes that aren’t optimal for carrying extra weight. A good-fitting pair of cross trainers would be a good choice.
When bending over, keep in mind that the extra 8-9-10 pounds carried on your chest adds to the strain on your back. This strain increases greatly when you bend over, and greater still when you bend over to lift something heavy from the ground.
Lifting and generally “futzing” with things are unavoidable aspects of mothering. However, certain everyday risks can be avoided with forethought, and preparation. For instance, if you have a dog, transfer the dog food from the heavy bag into smaller containers ahead of time. That way, you’re not hastily lifting it while remembering to fill the dogs bowl while rushing out the door to work one day.
Baby wearing certainly brings benefits, and it’s not surprising that this has become a popular aspect of parenting in the modern age. Just be careful that you don’t strain yourself, lest the money you save by toting baby around will later be spent at the chiropractor’s office.
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