Reasons to Carry Your Baby
People have been carrying their babies in slings for thousands of years in all cultures across the world.
There are so many positive reasons to carry your child, for the whole family. Babies can be carried from birth until well past toddlerhood into preschool years.
Here are the reasons using a sling can be beneficial for parent and baby:
- Regulates heart rate, temperature and respiration
- Supports the 4th Trimester easing the transition from womb to world
- Regulates circadian rhythms (differentiating between day and night)
- Carried babies cry less
- Calmer and in a state of quiet alertness and able to learn more from world around them
- Parent is more easily able to pick up on baby’s cues and needs
- Helps to establish and maintain breastfeeding as well as increasing milk supply Improved sleep
- Helps babies with colic or reflux to be in an upright position, aids digestion
- Supports muscle development and muscle strength
- Helps brain growth and development
- Encourages speech development
- Promotes healthy hips
- Establishes and develops secure attachment with parent, thus encouraging independence later
- Babies are part of their parents world and involved when in a sling rather than a spectator
For parent or carer:
- Promotes bonding with baby because of the ‘love’ hormone Oxytocin that is released whilst carrying, therefore reducing low mood
- Reduction in stress hormone Cortisol therefore reducing stress, low mood and anxiety
- Can reduce symptoms of Perinatal Mental Illnesses
- Promotes bonding with father or other family members/carers
- Parents are able to meet their own needs whilst meeting those of their baby
- Can be easier for parents to invest time in social activities and going out
- Be able to visit places that one may not be able to go to with a buggy
- Due to hands being free, parents can complete household tasks around the house
- Able to look after and play with older siblings while carrying baby or vice versa
- Parents can engage in exercise, walking, dancing or any other physical activity
- Can help to regain core strength following pregnancy and birth
- Promotes intuitive parenting so parent is more aware of babys cues and needs
- Increases parents feelings of competence, as they are able to respond to babys needs and comfort/reassure before baby becomes upset
- Can be part of a community and make friends with other parents online and at local sling library and meets
It's important to feel comfortable when you carry your child in a sling, and carrying them safely is essential too.
The safest way to carry your child in a sling is with an ergonomic carrier, that supports the natural posture of the baby with the knees higher than the bottom in a squatted position.
Most high street bought narrow based carriers tend not to adopt this optimal position and although not harmful are not always the most comfortable option for both baby and parent.
Due to lack of head control in the early months it is also very easy for babies to slump down, therefore it is important to use a sling that is tight and supports an upright position to ensure that the the chin is off the chest and the airways are clear.
Baby should be held high in the sling or carrier so that the baby's head is close enough to kiss and in view at all times.
Here are the TICKS guidelines that have more information on what to follow when using a sling or carrier.