Wearing your baby is fun and convenient, but there are many more reasons to wear your baby that you may not have considered. Keep this list handy for those times when well-meaning friends and family comment that your constant carrying of your baby will result in him being spoiled and/or delayed in some way (it won't!).
In no particular order:
1. Physiological benefits. Babies are born with a natural c shaped curve in their spine. Babywearing supports this natural curve. Babywearing also helps with the important formation of the first curve in the neck, something usually encouraged through "tummy time" but that can just as easily (and more enjoyably!) be accomplished through regular babywearing. Another reason doctors promote tummy time is the prevention of plagiocephaly or a flat spot on baby's head; this can also be remedied by babywearing. Additional physiological benefits to note are the regulating of bodily functions including breathing, digestive functions, and body temperature (read more about this at the Babywearers of Northern NJ blog, link below).
2. Carried babies cry less. Studies have proven that babies who are carried cry less (40% less!) than babies who are not carried for a good portion of each day. In cultures where carrying babies throughout the majority of the day is the norm, babies' periods of crying are measured in terms of minutes rather than hours (as is the norm in the Western world).
Photo courtesy of Emily Rivard
3. Brain development. With all that time spent not fussing and crying, babies who are carried spend a good portion of the day in a state of "quiet alertness", a state which makes learning about their world around them comfortable and enjoyable. Babies who are worn regularly observe and learn from the every day events that their parents engage in. In addition to this, we know that babies senses are stimulated by touch (which is inevitable when carried); the closeness and contact that comes with carrying your baby further encourages healthy brain development.
4. Bond. Babies and their mothers often have an instant bond that is further intensified through the breastfeeding relationship. Significant others and additional caregivers who also want to establish a close bond can do so through babywearing. Some of the closeness and skin to skin contact that nursing babies share with their mommies can be had through babywearing. In the sling or carrier, baby can become familiar with Daddy's (or Grandma's or babysitter's) voice, body temp, heart beat, etc.
Photo courtesy of Meg Deresti
5. Convenience. Whether you have just one squish or a squish plus a toddler or two, you will find using a carrier is extremely convenient. From navigating the grocery store with your squish safely stored against your chest, to pushing your busy toddler on the swings at the park while baby naps on your back, babywearing makes being a great parent even easier!
To learn more about the benefits of babywearing, have a look at the following sites:
Dr. Sears http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/fussy-baby/baby-wearing/benefits-babywearing
Babywearers of Northern New Jersey http://babywearersofnnj.wordpress.com/2012/12/