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Baby Wearing

October 10, 2011

How it all started In many cultures, babies are held by their mothers or carried around in homemade slings when they work in the rice fields. If anyone has seen the film "Babies" note the different behaviour of mothers and babies in the 4 different countries and which babies were more content.

 

 

These sensitive, personality-shaping interactions happen most readily when babies are in the arms of their parents. When you wear your baby, the two of you move through your day together. You see the world from similar points of view. Your baby hears your voice as you talk to others, picks up on your emotions, and trusts you to provide safety and comfort. . Wearing your baby provides closeness even when you cant give your baby 100% of your attention. 

 

Moro reflex

The "Startle" (Moro) reflex occurs when an infant is startled by a loud noise or other environmental stimulus or feels that he or she is falling. 

The reflex causes the baby to extend the arms, legs, and fingers and arch the back and it's present in all infants/newborns up to 4 or 5 months of age.  

During the first few months of life, most infants exhibit the moro reflex repeatedly, In most cases it's when mothers lift their babies off their own bodies to lay them down in their crib. The sudden sensation of air and the loss of warmth triggers a "falling" sensation, and these babies demonstrate the moro reflex even before they are put down sometimes waking themselves from sleep to do so.  After birth, the experience of being held close to a parent’s body helps them recall the peace they felt in the womb.

Baby wearing really helps the baby through this stage until the Moro reflex is no longer present (around 5 months)

 

The Benefits

In addition to helping infants develop emotionally and socially, baby wearing also meets their physical needs. It allows them to completely relax their muscles, cradle without resistance which in turn helps with tummy time.  

Babies who suffer from Gerd (reflux) and have stiff backs will benefit from baby wearing.  

Babies need and enjoy motion. In the womb, they become accustomed to the sound of mother's heart pumping blood and to the feeling of being confined in a small space. The experience of being in the womb also teaches them to enjoy the rhythm of their mother’s movements. 

A sling is in essence a "transitional womb" for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. It is great for Preemies too, premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster. 

 

So, Wearing a baby promotes physical development and is healthy for you! 

It can be challenging for new mothers to find time to exercise, but if you carry your baby around with you most of the day or go for a brisk walk with your baby in her sling, you will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and "weightlifting".   Other benefits of sling type carriers include easy accessibility to breastfeeding, ability to wear baby facing toward or away from wearer, ability to wear sling on back, front or side.

 

What to buy?

When considering the purchase of a baby carrier, you can often just ask yourself if you would be comfortable in it. Would you feel like you were in a hammock (a sling), or in a parachute harness, with your legs hanging down? Laying in a hammock is better for all of us.

 

Mechanical swings and other holding devices do notprovide these same benefits as a sling that swaddles them and helps control the movement of their arms and legs. 

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