We frequently refer to babywearing as magic! It is one of the most powerful experiences that a new parent can enjoy, and also one of the best tools they have to deal with an upset baby and manage stressful situations.
With so many choices of baby carrier design these days you will find so many opportunities to enjoy experiences with your new baby and take advantage of the many benefits of babywearing.
We have split our list into two sections – one for babies and one for parents. This will give you a comprehensive understanding of how you can accelerate your baby’s development and improve your own lifestyle through the magic of babywearing.
If you don’t have time to read the full detail of each benefit then here is a high level summary for babies and parents:
- Soothing environment
- Tummy Time Substitute
- Less Crying
- Brain development
- Social skills
- Closest thing to the womb
- Consistent weight gain
- Skin on skin time
- Better quality sleep
- Reduced colic and reflux
- Supports hip development
- Prevents flat head syndrome
- Happier baby
- Easier to get them to sleep
- Easy to breastfeed
- Hands-free parenting
- Easier to move thorugh crowds
- Built-in social distancing
- Bonding opportunities
- Helps with depression symptoms
- Higher calorie burn
- Dad can do it!
- Maintain active lifestyle
- Stress free swimming with baby
- Designs to match your personality
12 Benefits of Babywearing for a Child
1. It is soothing for your baby
Placing your baby in a carrier is the fastest way to soothe an upset or unsettled baby. It is the ultimate solution in any parent’s tool kit!
The combination of the motion of being carried close to your body, the sound of your heartbeat, and the familiarity of being close to you create a safe zone that works like magic.
You may be surprised at just how quickly they calm down in the most testing circumstances.
2. Babywearing Can Substitute Tummy Time
Tummy time is another task that is not enjoyable for all babies and parents.
Babywearing has proven to be a viable alternative as it generates the following outcomes that are comparable to tummy time:
- Prevents plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) by sitting them in an upright position and taking pressure off the baby’s head.
- Strengthens neck and shoulder muscles.
- Improves gross motor skills.
- Builds overall strength.
- Reduces gas pain.
- Exposes baby to a changing environment.
So you get extra credit for carrying your baby around that will substitute for tummy time.
3. Less Time Crying (Even When Not in the Carrier)
We have already covered how soothing the carrier environment can be. However, this improvement in well-being is extended beyond any single babywearing session.
A pediatric study back in 1986 found that carrying babies more often can reduce crying time by over 40%, and over 50% at night time.
The reduction in physical and mental stress on your baby is significant, and it also reduces the strain on tired parents.
4. Accelerates Cognitive Development
Babywearing exposes your baby to movement and changing surroundings that can be very stimulating.
Even if you only ever wear baby carriers around the house they will get the benefits of feeling your movement and weight shifting as you go about your business.
A day in the life of a busy mother around the house can provide exposure to a number of sounds, scents, and scenery without ever leaving the house.
However, it is more common for people to use a carrier outside of the home where the exposure and stimuli go up a level. This variation in environmental experiences can accelerate neural development.
5. Accelerates Social Development
Your baby will have more direct exposure to you interacting with others when in a carrier. Babies learn by observing your expressions, tone, language, and even how you listen to others.
This will accelerate how they learn both visual and audible communication skills and how they influence social interactions.
Babywearing can help set the foundation for what positive social skills look like.
6. Familiarity of Environment
When your baby is pressed up against your body they will feel your heartbeat and the warmth of your body.
After being in the womb for nine months this is the next best thing! And can be an important part of their transition into the real world through the 4th trimester.
This can act as a biological regulator and helps your baby tune into the mothers breathing patterns, and heartbeat just like they were through the gestation period.
7. Consistent Weight Gain
There are multiple elements that can help an infant put on more weight if they are in a carrier regularly.
Breastfeeding in a carrier is easy, convenient, and reasonably private when you are out in public.
An infant is also constantly aware that the access to your nipples is right in front of them and that they can feed almost instantly. So there are no delays from hunger to feeding while you figure out why they may be crying.
It is also recommended that preterm infants practice babywearing as much as possible in those early months.
The movement when in a carrier provides a gentle massage to their body which has been shown to help with weight gain and the development of bone density.
8. Extra Skin on Skin Time
Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to help improve parental bonding, increase milk production, and reduce stress levels.
It is also an excellent way to provide your child with extra warmth and security.
Skin on skin is another daily task that you can tick off without dedicating extra time towards if you are babywearing regularly.
9. Better Quality Sleep
While we are on the subject of feeding in a carrier, you will find that your baby will often suckle until they just drift off to sleep.
My son did this so much that it actually became difficult to get him to sleep without feeding him due to a long-term sleep association.
When you add in the feeling of safety and comfort when in the carrier seat, plus the ease of sleeping in that position you will find that frequency and quality of sleep can improve.
10. Reduces Physical Symptoms of Colic and Reflux
Sitting up in a baby carrier allows gravity to do the work in keeping your milk in your baby’s tummy and improving their general level of comfort after feeding.
This can help prevent instances of reflux when compared to laying flat.
Wearing your baby in a carrier has also been shown to help reduce the symptoms of a colicky baby.
This may just come back to the soothing effect rather than any direct impact on colic symptoms, but a huge positive nonetheless for a condition without a specific treatment available.
11. Nurtures Hip Development (if done correctly!)
Wearing your baby in a carrier can help to nurture the development of a baby’s hip joints. This is because it allows them to maintain a healthy position while they are being carried.
It is important to make sure that you are using a carrier that supports the baby’s hips and spine in the correct position.
If your child suffers from hip dysplasia then a carrier with a wide base should be used to help hip joint positioning and development of the socket.
12. Can Help Prevent Flat Head Syndrome
We mentioned this briefly when discussing tummy time. One of the key reasons for this activity is to provide relief to the back of the head, which is prone to developing flat spots if they spend too much time on their back.
Considering how much time they spend sleeping in those first few months this is a genuine risk.
A carrier allows them to sleep upright and usually with the baby’s chin or cheek rested on your chest. This provides important relief to the back of the head and reduces the sleeping time spent laying flat.
13 Benefits of Babywearing For Parents
1. Calmer and Happier Baby
This was a theme that repeated itself in the earlier section, but from the parent’s point of view, the magic of a baby carrier can help parents deal with almost any situation!
When babies cry your stress levels increase – the anxiety and panic can be overwhelming in some situations. Especially in public where people can be nosey and unreasonable.
Carry them close and they will feel the love and safety and can instantly calm down and relieve that parental stress. A happy baby equals a happier parent!
It is one of the great benefits of having a baby carrier close at all times.
2. Easier to Get Your Baby to Sleep
Following on from the previous point, often a meltdown or period of heightened stress can lead to them tiring themselves out and just falling asleep.
But even in periods of relative calm the gentle rocking motion often leads an infant to fall asleep without you noticing. This often happens in loud and potentially uncomfortable circumstances.
Have I mentioned that these things are magic yet?
3. Hassle-Free Breastfeeding
Some baby carriers are great for breastfeeding! The coverage you get can provide an enclosed and intimate environment when you are in public.
Stretchy wraps especially are great for this as you can customize the fit of the material and provide extra coverage just where you need it.
A structured carrier can also be useful if you want some assistance in sitting your baby upright while they feed – as mentioned earlier this can help with colic and reflux.
Ring slings are less suitable for public breastfeeding but are also useful if you want extra support while feeding in a cradle hold position to take the pressure off your arms.
4. Freedom of Movement
Most baby carriers designs can provide a completely hands-free experience (a ring sling worn over one shoulder is the main exception).
This gives you plenty of freedom to move around as you please and get on with everyday life. The only restriction to this is how well you can handle the weight of your child in the carrier.
This is great for parents who want to maintain a busy lifestyle when their newborn comes along.
5. Navigate Crowded Areas
It is much easier to strap a baby into a carrier when you are in crowded places. A stroller can really slow you down when it is busy and is also stressful to manage.
You can wear a baby carrier in an airport or shopping mall and move around with relative ease.
6. Automatic Social Distancing
Never has it been more important to keep a safe distance from anyone who you may interact with. Baby carriers can help provide that buffer zone so that no one comes into your space.
You also have more of a reason to step away from someone who may be bold enough to get too close.
If you step backward and cover your baby then any sane person will get the message that they have overstepped.
7. Improved Bonding Environment
When in the carrier you will be looking directly at your baby’s face and will find it hard to resist the temptation to play with them constantly.
Babywearing promotes attachment and this early close contact helps build that bond with mom and bub. This is one of the main reasons so many moms just love babywearing.
You will feel more in tune with your baby’s cues and will develop a deeper understanding of each other in this closed environment.
8. Reduced Postpartum Depression
One of the extreme side effects of postpartum depression is feeling disconnected to your baby, and even the feeling that they would be better off without you.
This is a complex issue is always something that should be dealt with in consultation with a medical professional.
Where babywearing can play a role is in the increased physical contact and bonding experience that you can have with your baby.
Holding your baby can release oxytocin into your system which has a calming effect and can help secure attachment between a mom and baby.
It is just one of many elements of a treatment plan to be considered but a positive experience to incorporate into your daily routine.
9. Higher Daily Calorie Burn
Regular babywearing is a great way to burn a few extra calories as you go about your day, and can be a big help in shedding a few unwanted pounds after giving birth.
When you wear a baby carrier you will burn 5%-15% more calories compared to completing the same physical exercise without the extra load.
If you really wanted to step up the challenge, you can even complete a mild workout while wearing a carrier.
A soft structured carrier would be best for this as they generally have a higher capacity and can handle the strain associated with the sudden movements with the baby weight inside.
10. Dad Can Do It!!
In the first year, most babies spend more time with their mother and dad can feel a little left out.
It is not always easy to get dad involved. A new baby will be reaching for their mom most of the time.
Babywearing is where dad can really shine! Especially on longer days out where the weight could get too much for you.
It is also a great way for dads to bond with their child and help compensate for the limited involvement in some other areas, and help them feel more involved in the parenting process.
Plus it can give you a break!!
You will find a number of carrier designs made for dads with camo patterns and other manly elements… Just in case he is hesitant to wear your hot pink baby wrap.
11. You Can Continue to Explore Nature
If you are an adventurous person then you may feel that you have to wind things back when you have a new baby to look after.
One of the other benefits of babywearing is that you can take these little bodies almost anywhere!
If you love the outdoors and want to hike a trail then strap them in and go for it. You will find a baby carrier design that will support babies all the way up to 5-6 years old. There is nothing stopping you from taking newborns and older babies on an outdoor adventure.
You can use a special carrier for hiking that gives older children an amazing view of their surroundings!
We have spoken about the importance of exposing your baby to new environments to encourage cognitive development, and the benefit of adding the great outdoors to this can be immense.
12. Stress-Free Swimming
It is always tempting to take your little one for a swim on a hot day. When in the water though you may get some anxiety from the increased risk of a slippery baby getting into a risk situation.
The good news is that there are also baby carriers made for the water. They are generally light and made from quick-dry material (similar to a swimming costume) so you can go in and out of the water with a young baby easily.
13. Show Off Your Personality
You will be amazed at the sheer amount of choice available when choosing your baby carrier.
The array of colors, patterns, and fashionable designs available really create room for you to select something that is an extension of your personality.
After considering everything above I think that it is important to remember that the best benefit of babywearing is that it is fun!
You should never feel that you have to force yourself or your baby to do it if it just isn’t your thing. There are many other ways to achieve the same babywearing benefits we have described in this article – using a carrier is just a convenient and enjoyable way to do so.
If you want to learn more about babywearing then we encourage you to check out our baby carrier info hub – where you will find an answer to every babywearing question you have.