The Many Benefits of Babywearing
Babywearing- the act of carrying your baby in a wrap or in some way attached to your body, “hands-free,” is more of a re-discovery of something long done by women and infants around the world than a new invention.
In many ways babywearing is simply practical- it gives busy moms a free hand so they can get things done, eat a meal, sweep the floor, or take a phone call.
On another level, modern babywearing is an open embrace of all things nurturing, a nod to our ancestors, and a natural way to continue to gently transition the immature nervous system of the fragile human newborn to this fast-paced, busy life we all live.
Whatever reason you choose to babywear, it is a modern and ancient miracle. It just makes life easier!
Here are women who tell their reasons for embracing the many benefits of babywearing.
“If it weren’t for babywearing, I would have lived on my couch or had really sore arms!”
Shazia Lackey, childbirth educator, Arlington, TX
“My son has sensory issues and sometimes the only way to calm him down in overwhelming situations was to wear him in my Beco. I wore him last summer at the zoo…he was almost 5.”
Caren Nugent, childbirth educator, Arlington, TX
“I’m pregnant with #3. If I don’t baby wear, I’ll be in real trouble. I only have two hands!”
Melissa Kosloski, Childbirth educator, St Cloud, MN
“Babywearing is the solution when you pull up to a restaurant but your toddler is asleep in the car seat. Do you pull them out and wake them up? Never! Wear them inside and enjoy your meal while they finish their nap.”
Julia West, childbirth educator, Grapevine, TX
“As much as I love to just sit and breastfeed it is not always possible. Babywearing has allowed me to breast-feed while shopping, cleaning the house, cooking dinner and even go on four-wheel rides!”
Kendra Parry, childbirth educator, Pocatello, ID
“I am a food systems consultant which means that if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. I had to deliver week-long nutrition and culinary trainings in another part of the state when my baby was just two months old. Babywearing allowed me to take my baby to work with me, breastfeed and still deliver amazing trainings. Since then, he’s helped me deliver over 60 hours of training across the country and we joke that his first word will be “MyPlate.” Babywearing has been integral to me doing the work that I love as both a professional and as a mother.”
Alyssa M Densham, birth classes in Northern Virginia and Metro DC
“Going places with an infant and a toddler (or more) is so much easier with babywearing. You can get the baby out first while any older children are still buckled safely and unable to climb out and dart into traffic. Once the baby is secure, you can unbuckle everyone else and have hands available for holding in parking lots. Mom life made simple!”
Hailie Sue Wolfe, birth doula and childbirth educator, Abilene, TX
“I was raised to think that holding a baby all of the time would cause them to become ‘spoiled’ and ruin my chances of ever being able to get things done during the day. I found that with babywearing, I have been able to go and do so much more in 1 and half years with baby #3 than what I did with my first two who I did not wear from birth. And, whenever I took baby out of the carrier, she was much less fussy and discontent about having time away from me!”
LaQuitha Glass, childbirth educator, Mountain View, CA
“We could not survive infancy or toddlerhood with our special needs children without babywearing. It provided an exceptional grace to an extraordinary situation.”
Courtney Alva, doula and childbirth educator, Houston, TX
“Babywearing saves my sanity. As simple as that. I’m able to get the closeness/snuggles I crave, while at the same time accomplishing things around the house and parenting my other children. But I think the thing I love most about babywearing is watching my husband begin to love it. After our fourth kid (we have five) he will actually wear one of the younger ones and it is the sweet thing to see. Both baby and dad loving their time together.”
Andrea Felton Brannock, doula and childbirth educator, Cleburne/Glen Rose, Texas
“I didn’t babywear my daughter very much because she was the only one and could be held by my husband or me. With my son, it’s a necessity! There’s room to fill my whole shopping cart and I’m completelyhands-freee at the grocery store. I can cook, clean, do dishes, etc. while wearing. It’s my husband’s favorite way to bond with our babies and he even has his own Tula. It keeps strangers from getting too close and touching my kids, haha! Plus, my babies have always been gigantic, so if I didn’t babywear, my arm would fall off!”
Rebecca Grochowski, childbirth educator, Little Elm, Texas
“My three year old occasionally wants to go on walks with me — if weren’t for our “hanger” (his word), I’d have to leave him behind!”
Jill Kensok Christianson, childbirth educator in Fargo, MN
“Made my transition to a mom of 2 MUCH easier since I could tend to my newborn’s needs of being held and my three year old’s need for my attention at the same time.”
Kristen Spangler, childbirth educator, central Illinois
“Babywearing increased me and my son’s bonding time and made breastfeeding in public much easier. It was also a great bonding tool for my husband and allowed me to get some extra sleep while he wore our son.”
Maryellen Yates,doula and childbirth educator, Lafayette, LA
“Babywearing allowed me to have my hands free so I could get stuff done. 2 of my 5 kids were super clingy and wanted to be held all the time. Babywearing allowed me to meet their needs while also allowing me to take care of the other kids, household, and personal needs. It also is a great way to bond with your baby and toddler. I still wear my toddler when we’re out places that aren’t conducive for strollers.”
Cameo Sherman, doula, Bowie, Maryland
“I learned of slings and babywearing with my third baby. Honestly, I don’t know how I made it through with the first two. Having my hands free to help the toddlers, do the dishes, read, eat or really anything is so helpful. I especially love wearing baby when we are away from home. With my first two I’d awkwardly carry them around in their car seat which was tiring or at the store leave no room in the cart for groceries. With a sling I can carry baby right on me, they sleep longer or are just more content and outings go much smoother.”
Angela Howells Bunnell, childbirth educator, Grand Junction, CO
“Utilizing babywearing was a lifesaver throughout the stages from newborn through toddlerhood for our family! Especially while also keeping track of two other littles – babywearing made activities like grocery shopping, making dinner, going on walks, hiking outdoors, doing laundry, and nap time so much easier. The perk of looking down at a sweet face smiling at you was just an added bonus!”
Elizabeth Rozsa, childbirth educator, Rockford, IL
“Babywearing means you have both hands free to make a cup of coffee.
Babywearing means not wrangling a monstrous stroller.
Babywearing means no strangers touching your newborn at the grocery store because it’s too hard to tell where baby ends and milk-engorged breasts end.
Babywearing means that high needs baby can get a nap with momma and laundry can get done.
Babywearing means daddy can get some great bonding time.”
Jillian Hilton Blakeman, childbirth educator, Keller, TX
“My brother-in-law said quite accurately that if she could, my baby would have herself literally sewn to me. Baby wearing allows me to still function and take care of myself and my other kids.”
Alecia Louise Cumberworth, childbirth educator, Dallas, TX
“Babywearing was one way I felt normal again, for a couple reasons. One, I had this little being inside me and with me for months… And then all of a sudden was expected to leave him lying around while I went about my day. My heart just couldn’t handle it. With babywearing, I could keep him close to me; and we both loved it. On the other hand, I was tired of sitting around the house and needed to get some fresh air (for my health and sanity). Babywearing allowed me to leave the house and not have to lug around a car seat. I could shop in the grocery store, without worrying about strangers trying to touch my baby. Even my husband enjoyed babywearing. For Father’s Day, we went on a hike and my husband wore our son in the Ergo. It was one of the best naps my son ever had!”
Laura Simpson, childbirth educator, Cheyenne, Wyoming
“A quick up always meant a time for naps or or a safe place as they grew. Early on, babywearing allowed me to function almost normally.”
Laurie McGowan, doula and prenatal educator, Calgary AB, Canada
“Our babies are born so much more neurologically immature than other mammals. The mother’s body, skin-to-skin, actually stabilizes the baby’s temperature, respiration and heart rate, glucose levels, and catecholamine levels in their bodies. Heart to heart and belly to belly is where nature intended our babies to be. It is their native habitat, the point of nurturance, especially for those first three months after birth when they are transitioning to extrauterine life. Baby wearing is perfect for keeping baby where they want and need to be, with access to the breast, all the while giving mom free hands to do her day. I can’t say enough about the benefits of babywearing…it’s not a new thing..,it’s a rediscovered thing in the U.S. Since its a physiological imperative that we keep our babies skin to skin during the ‘4th trimester’ to stabilize their immature neurological systems, babywearing is a brilliant method of doing just that. Partners can do it too and bond with baby just like mom does, minus the meals on wheels!”
Debbe Cannone, doula and childbirth educator, San Diego, CA
“I always loved baby wearing when grocery shopping because my baby would go to sleep and random people would comment on how comfortable they looked, which is better than the sideways looks I would get shopping with 3 kids anyway.”
Michelle Davidson, childbirth educator, Buda TX
“With twins as children 4 and 5 babywearing gave me the capacity to be snuggle both babies at once. While wearing one, I could easily carry the other for short errands. Or for longer trips and even hikes, I could wear both babies and have hands free for the other children. On occasion when my preschooler was squirmy, he got carried and the twins went in the stroller. It saved my back (car seat carriers are torture) and gave me the freedom to have a life out of the home.”
Emilie Lisle Wilson, doula, Oklahoma City, OK.