The benefits of baby wearing
Here are some of the wonderful benefits of baby wearing in the AmaWrap!
The first three months of a baby’s life have also been referred to as the “fourth trimester”, as it is felt that this trimester is an extension of life from the womb. Until now your baby never knew hunger, could always hear mummy’s heartbeat and was always rocked. It may take a while to adjust to life on the outside, and we can help with that transition!
- Kangaroo Care, the practice where the baby is held skin-to-skin with the parent, has been scientifically proven to benefit both baby and parent in terms of bonding and attachment. The contact allows baby to hear the parent’s heartbeat which he is accustomed to hearing in the womb, and has been proven by research to calm him. Research has also proven that preterm babies, when carried, grow at a faster rate than preterm babies who were not. Fully responding to your childs needs and allowing them to attach in infancy allows them to form important neural connections that are the building blocks for their future personality. (opens new window)
- Not only does it also improve parental confidence and a natural tendency to care for the child, for mothers specifically it stimulates breastmilk production and lowers the incidence of postpartum depression.
- Imagine navigating around a crowded department store during the sales with a pram! Baby wearing allows the parent the use of both hands, whilst keeping baby out of harms way. It is convenient even around the house! The wrap can also double up as a changing mat or blanket when away from home.
Communication and Physical Development.
- When we hold our baby close, we become more attuned to their gestures and facial expressions, to the point where we can pick up their cues before they resort to crying. When they don’t need to cry to communicate their needs, their trust in you is increased, learning enhanced and confidence reinforced.
- Wrapped with mother, the baby is more in tune with the mother’s movements and actions. This stimulation allows the baby to exercise his vestibular system, as he gains increased control over his muscles. The baby also gains awareness and familiarity on movements that the mother makes day to day – picking, reaching, wiping etc.
A secure and confident baby.
- As the baby grows older and becomes more aware of her surroundings, stranger anxiety is often exhibited. Being able to hear the mother’s breathing and heartbeat can calm a baby down and ease the stress of an unfamiliar environment. Research has shown that babies who were carried frequently by their caregivers were less likely to be clingy and more likely to be independent earlier. As the baby grows up feeling more secure and confident, they venture out independently much earlier as compared to babies who were not held frequently.
Reflux and Colic babies
- Keeping reflux babies upright aids the baby’s digestion, thus preventing further painful regurgitation. Colicky babies also cry less when held close to the mother’s chest, as the contact serves as a gentle massage to baby’s stomach.
Decreased risk of positional plagiocephaly.
- Plagiocephaly, also known as “flat head syndrome”, can occur when the newborn baby is placed in a certain position for long periods of time, especially when their skulls are still soft after the birth. This usually occurs when the baby is resting in the cot or car seat for extended periods of time. Baby carrier for newborns can mitigate this risk as it often does not require a baby to be resting at the back of her head.
Research has shown that “kangaroo care”, the technique of holding premature and full-term newborns skin-to-skin can contribute to optimal neurological development, as well as the skin to skin contact regulating the babys heartbeat and temperature.
1. Secure Attachments
A study by Anisfeld et al showed that increased physical contact resulted in significantly more secure attachment between mothers and infants. (Mothers received soft baby carriers and were instructed to use them everyday) Eighty-three percent of infants held in baby carriers were securely attached compared to 38% in the control group at 13 months of age. The presumed reason was that carrying the baby leads the parent to provide faster responses to the infant’s crying and cues. Further analysis even showed that sling-wearing positively affected infant-mother attachment beyond simple increased responsiveness of the mother when wearing the baby close.
A randomized controlled trial of full term breastfed infants by Hunziker, et al. found that carrying your baby in arms or in a full body contact baby carrier for at least 3 hours per day (in addition to carrying regularly provided during feeding and in response to crying) reduced daytime crying by 43% and nighttime crying (4pm-12am) by 54%. Also, the normal peak in crying that occurs at 6-weeks of age was practically eliminated.
In a prospective observational study by Furman et al of 119 mothers of very low birth weight infants, kangaroo care was one of the significant correlates that predicted successful lactation beyond 40 weeks corrected age
1. Anisfeld E, Casper V, Nozyce M, Cunningham N. (1990) Does Infant Carrying Promote Attachment? An Experimental Study of the Effects of Increased Physical Contact on the Development of Attachment. Child Development 61:1617-1627.
2. Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648