Wearing your baby seems to be a practical alternative to the stroller, but there are many benefits that you may not be aware of. These benefits range from developmental to emotional, psychological and everything in between. Interestingly, the benefits impact both baby and caregiver alike, so perhaps there is more value to the baby carrier than just an easier thing to carry than a stroller (although, that’s a good one too).
In looking at what these benefits might be, it is important to first assess what babies actually need in order to grow into healthy, well-adjusted children. On the most basic level, all they really need is milk and human contact. The milk obviously provides the nourishment necessary for physical growth, and the human contact allows for psychological growth as it keeps the baby calm and secure without taxing their developing emotions. Over time, it can also be argued that stimulation from the outside world is necessary for mental development. These needs (with the exception of milk) are satisfied in the instances of baby wearing.
We’ve already mentioned how wearing your baby is beneficial to emotional growth, however wearing your baby, particularly out in public, also offers aid to social development. Being strapped to mommy and exposed to people, conversations and social encounters prepares the little one for interactions of her own one day; reducing anxiety when dealing with unknown persons.
Baby wearing also has physical benefits for your bundle of joy. Motion is good for the development of various functions, such as the vestibular system as well as the respiratory system and circulation. Motion, much like that experienced in the womb, provides stimulation to limbs and circulatory elements, calibrates your baby’s equilibrium and this calm environment helps your baby to breathe in a relaxed manner. So wearing your baby provides all these development benefits while also giving you the opportunity to build stronger communication with your child.
Baby wearing is good for mommy too, though.
First and foremost, the obvious benefit to wearing your baby is the freedom it affords your hands. Babies are wonderful creatures, but they can make even the simplest and most mundane household chores a difficult task. Freeing up your hands by wearing your baby gives you the ability to get things done, much like a momma gorilla whose young are born with the ability to grasp her fur while she knuckles through the jungle.
Wearing your little bundle of 8 to 20lbs of joy can also offer more exercise. If you have been looking for ways to rid yourself of those extra few pounds the baby accidentally left on you at birth, wearing her around will help shed them for sure.
Finally, an often overlooked benefit that baby wearing equipment, like a baby carrier, provides is a bonding tool for other caregivers. Daddy, grandma and grandpa also get a chance to build up a close bond by having baby secure in her external womb.
So while you are considering the best way to get around with your baby; ditch the stroller and get a carrier and try baby wearing on for size.