Babywearing is the act of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or other form of carrier. Baby carriers have been around for thousands of years. Before the twentieth century, baby wearing wasn't seen as a fad; it was simply a means for mothers to get things done. Mothers since the beginning of history have used fabrics ranging from long cloths, shawls, scarves, and even bedsheets to attach their baby to their body in order to multi-task.
Nowadays we think of babywearing as something that occurs more often in developing countries or cultures. We might imagine a tribe where babywearing is a fully accepted part of community life. There are many different forms of baby carriers used by different countries, dependent on the climate, role of women, and traditions regarding clothing.
For example, in Mexico mothers use what's known as the Rebozo, a square of women cloth tied over one shoulder. Depending on the length of the fabric it is sometimes called a Chal. The babies are most often carried on the mother's back.
Then, in Peru, the carrier of choice is known as a Manta. It's more cape-like than the Rebozo and sits over both shoulders, with the baby sitting high on the mother's back.
European mothers use a mixture of pouches, wraps, and short cloth carriers, while Aboriginal mothers historically used carriers made of bark. This choice of carrier is similar to the Native American cradleboard, only without the cloth covering.
There are a variety of methods used by women all over the world to carry their baby. As you can see, babywearing is not a new trend. It's a form of childcare that has a rich history across many different cultures.
Babywearing is becoming popular
Only recently is babywearing becoming popular in Western culture again. This is because for a long time, babywearing began to be associated with poverty. Using fabric to carry a baby was what poor people did, while prosperous people began to latch onto the trend of baby strollers. Interestingly, this was also the case with the consumption of bread. For a long time brown bread was associated with poverty because it was cheaper due to the fact that it didn't undergo the same processing as white bread. It's funny how things that are seen as the poor person's choice then undergo a complete revival in the culture of the rich!
Babywearing also started to disappear from the public eye in the mid-twentieth century because parenting trends were moving towards teaching a child independence. It was thought that constantly carrying the baby would cause him or her to develop into a needy and spoilt child.
Luckily, the tables have once again turned when it comes to babywearing. Later research refuted the spoilt child theory and actually brought about a wave of theories arguing that lack of love and touch actually severely diminishes the development of a baby. As a result, baby carriers began to regain their popularity.
Culture isn't a reliable marker for deciding what's good and bad because it's so fickle. Instead, it's more sensible to decide for yourself whether babywearing is the right choice for you and your baby. There are many benefits to it. Below are some for you to consider:
It's Perfectly Safe
Once you learn how to use a baby carrier, you never need to worry about your baby falling out of the carrier or it becoming loose. Carriers these days are specifically designed with the best materials in order to ensure the safety of your baby. They provide adequate support for your infant's developing neck and back. Things have moved on quite substantially from the more traditional method of using a bed-sheet!
It's Perfectly Easy
New mothers can be very anxious about anything and everything to do with their baby. Fear not: baby carriers are made for simplicity and efficiency. After the first cautious try, you'll find yourself getting confident very early on because our babywearing products are very easy to use.
It's Perfectly Natural
Think about all of the things we are led to believe we need to buy or think about when preparing for a baby. Babywearing allows you to get back to the things that really matter: helping a child grow and develop in the real world. We are often deceived into thinking that having a baby involves a cacophony of specialized equipment. If you breastfeed and babywear, a lot of those special items are simply not necessary. Keeping things simple will give you more time for the things that really matter.
It Lasts Forever
Literally. All of our baby carriers come with a lifetime guarantee. Planning to have more kids in the future? You can even keep your carrier for your next baby and use it all over again!
When people think of a baby carrier, they often don't use their imagination. Luckily, we've used ours. Our carriers aren't just white or cream. They come in many different colors and patterns. If you're a fashion-conscious mother, you'll have no trouble finding a carrier to match your outfit. You could even get one for any day of the week! Like a little black dress, we have our classic tones like baby wrap carrier in gray and black, but if you're feeling more adventurous, why not opt for a baby wrap in daring red? It saves you Money
As if there aren't enough benefits, right? Baby carriers are much, much cheaper than strollers. A new stroller costs hundreds of dollars while a carrier costs less than fifty!
Less Fussy Baby
Did you know that carried babies cry less? It's true! Babies who are worn by their mothers forget to fuss. There have been studies to confirm this. In 1986, babies who were carried cried and fussed 43% less than the non-carried babies.
A More Alert Baby
Being worn is a fun and exciting experience for a baby. While they're busy forgetting to fuss and cry, what are they doing instead? They're learning of course. A worn baby is more aware of its surroundings. The height a baby is at when carried allows them to see and experience the world much more vividly. Do you remember when you were a kid and you loved nothing more than being put on your daddy's shoulders? Being carried is just as enthralling for a baby. Not only this, but they have a wider view of the world around them when they're carried. Think of it this way: a baby in a stroller gets a two-dimensional view of the world, while a carried baby gets a three-dimensional one.
A Better-Developed Baby
When a baby comes out of the womb, it is something of a jolt for them. For nine months, they have been cozy and warm inside the womb, only to be brought out into bright lights and hospital smells. The birth process actually disrupts the organizing process of the baby's systems. Because a carried baby is wrapped up nice and snug, close to the mother, babywearing extends the experience of the womb. This helps the baby adjust to their new life much more smoothly as the carrier acts as an external regulating system that balances out the jolt caused by birth. Hearing the mother's heartbeat, for example, reminds the carried baby of the womb. It's a wonderfully calming and familiar sound for the baby. The comforting biological rhythms, sounds, and smells of the mother allow the baby to balance out, ensuring their development will occur at a harmonious pace.
A Smarter Baby
We've all heard the tale of mothers playing Beethoven to their unborn child, hoping for a genius. Well, did you know that carried babies actually become smarter? Roll over, Beethoven! The carried baby has increased environmental experiences, allowing nerves to branch out and stimulate their growing brain. Babywearing actually helps the infant's developing brain to form the right connections. The greater intimacy between mother and baby a carrier allows encourages the baby to have a more direct experience of the mother's world. A carried baby's brain stores more experiences because their vision of the world is much more all-encompassing than a baby transported in a stroller. Babywearing doesn't only help to boost brain development; it also helps to boost speech development. Logically, a carried baby is closer to the conversations of his or her parents, so the sounds heard are louder, allowing the baby to process them more quickly. Being at eye level helps the baby to learn how to listen to speech patterns. Even sounds can help the baby learn faster. A non-carried baby would likely give way to their moro reflex when they hear a startling sound, but everything for a carried baby is a potential learning experience.
Anthropology is the study of human behavior across different cultures. Anthropologists who study infant-care practices agree that in babywearing cultures infants cry much less. We often measure a baby's crying in hours, but in places where babywearing is a common practice, it's measured in minutes. We've almost become used to the idea that babies cry a lot. This just isn't true, and babywearing will mean that you'll be counting in minutes too!
This list of benefits isn't even completely exhaustive. There are so many benefits that babywearing offers it's almost impossible to name them all! Now that you've read about some of them, why not browse through our collection of baby-wearing products. Trust me: you won't regret it!
Benefits of Babywearing for your Baby
The History of Babywearing and 'Modern' Slings