Babywearing: a wonderful way to carry your baby
Throughout the ages babies have been carried close to the heart of their mothers. After spending nine months in the womb, the newborn needs more than ever the warmth of his mom . She will be his main reference for growing and understanding life in a totally unknown world. Naturally, all babies are carried in their parents’ arms, but there is a way to carry your baby while keeping your hands free: babywearing.
Using a ringsling, a wrap or a baby-carrier, we can carry a baby on the belly, on the hip or on the back in a physiological way.
In the womb, the baby’s body is in a total flexion, grouped on itself (kyphosis). It looks like the letter “C”: it is the fetal position. Month after month, the baby builds muscles and straightens his spine holding his head up, sitting and then walking. Because of these psycho-motor steps, the child’s back becomes “S” shaped.
It is, therefore, very important to provide the newborn with a position that allows the bending of his back, especially that his bones are partly cartilaginous.
Gradually, the ossification makes the bones stronger and wearing the baby in an optimal position is extremely important for his hips!
Indeed, some children may have instability in the hips (dysplasia) because of the femoral head popping out of its cavity.
When Sitting in the squatting position (knees higher than the buttocks, back rounded), the femur is blocked inside the cavity.
Holding the child for several months in this healthy position can significantly prevent hip dysplasia, ensuring a good development to the hip bones.
Here are the differences between two baby carriers:
On the right: a good position for a toddler
Beyond the physiological aspects, carrying a baby (for 3 hours per day) reduces his crying by about 43 percent or 53 percent during the evening.
Carrying develops connections in the baby’s brain, which offers a better sense of balance and appreciation of distances.
Additionally, the skin is an incredible thermo regulator tool and it regulates the child’s temperature even in a case of fever (especially for small Premature with the kangaroo’s method of Nathalie Sharpak).
Children in a wrap have a better oxygenation, feel safer, and develop a secure link.
Mothers who carry their babies have a faster flow of milk and usually breastfeed longer (because of a secreted hormone which is more intense when carrying the baby skin to skin : the oxytocin).
The baby can explore the world while feeling secure; he smells his mother, hears her heartbeats. Mothers can take care of their elder children and run their chores, or just hang out anywhere they want without any restraint.
The wearer’s back becomes gradually stronger and baby wearing more comfortable.
Parents develop an intense relationship of trust which also helps mothers suffering from a postpartum depression.
Babywearing offers the possibility to members of the family to take part in childcare and create a special relationship with the child.
It calms considerably colic (warm, movement and contact) and also appeases babies suffering from a gastro-esophageal reflux (the baby can sleep in a vertical position which helps with digestion).
Babywearing can be very simple but it is crucial to learn the proper positions for the baby :
She/He must have an open air way together with a good position for his hips.
For newborns, wraps and ringslings are preferable. During his first month, it is important to let the newborn in a natural position (without forcing apart the legs) while sitting in the wrap. At about 6 months old, the baby can be carried in a mei tai or a full buckle offering a good position (when the babies can put his feet to his month but the best way is to meet a consultant)
The child should always be worn high on the belly, with the possibility to kiss him and provide him with a good support .
You can also learn to wear your baby on your hips or on your back ,
Babywearing is a wonderful tool and an incredible experience.
A mei tai
Photos and Article courtesy of Mélanie Ghaddar consultant in babywearing in France (Bien porter bébé).
If you have any questions about babywearing, feel free to post your questions below to our babywearing specialist Melanie Ghaddar.