There’s nothing more precious than holding your newborn. And now, with the popularity of babywearing, you have an excuse to keep them even closer. Claire Barnardo experiences it first-hand
But moms will also agree that it’s pretty impossible to get anything done while you are holding a baby. One solution is to attach your baby to your body with a sling. It’s called babywearing, and it’s not only becoming trendy, it’s also highly beneficial for both mom and baby.
Babywearing has actually been a common practice for generations and grew from women needing to free up their hands and keep their child happy. Their only way to do both? Find a way for the baby to remain on its mom.
‘Centuries ago, clever mothers invented a solution to allow them to carry on with everyday chores with their babies in tow. Traditional babywearing is the most effective and simplest way to love our babies while giving them the opportunity to experience life with us,’ says Olga Lipkovics, a mother and the founder of the Babywearing Association South Africa.
The beauty of babywearing is that it supports the natural act of keeping the baby close to the mother, while still being able to create a hands-free kit for her. The skin-to-skin contact lets the baby feel secure, while also helping to regulate all of the baby’s vitals like breathing, temperature and blood pressure. That is why babies who are worn on their mother are more content. And with an array of slings and pouches on the market, there are many ways to wear your baby and enjoy the rewards. ‘The benefits are manifested in so many crucial fields of development for the baby as well as the mom,’ says Olga.
Babywearing stimulates all of the senses. This will allow neurons in the brain to make more connections, and gets your baby’s mental stimulation off to a great start. Research shows that an increase in mental stimulation can actually result in better mental performance. It has even been said that babies who are carried learn faster.
Babywearing is beneficial for the mother too. ‘It assists new moms to mentally adapt to their new role in life. It’s one of the hardest roles we can ever have, because it means we have to give up part of our life to serve our baby, who completely relies on us,’ says Olga.
Babywearing, on an emotional level, helps to build a strong bond between mother and baby. ‘Babies love to sleep on their mom’s chest, because they can hear the mom’s heartbeat, just like when they were inside the womb. It allows the baby to feel safe, which builds trust and develops a fundamental emotional connection between the pair. It helps the two to get to know each other through close proximity and bonding. This, in turn, helps to build confidence in the mother, as she begins to know how to respond to her child’s needs,’ explains Olga.
Being close to the mother assists with the need to be constantly in motion. ‘Remember, your baby has been in motion inside of you for the last nine months, so don’t expect them to suddenly want to stay still. The motion keeps them calm.’
Other benefits of baby-wearing are that it develops the muscles in the spine, as well as the vestibular system. For mom? It can help with pregnancy weight.
‘Not only can moms and babies get out of the house easier, but it helps with breastfeeding once in public. It stops the mom from being isolated when feeding,’ says Olga.