It is, of course, natural for a baby to spend his or her first few weeks on Earth close to their mother, and over the last few years, this has been encouraged more by baby slings hitting the mainstream in Western parenting. These slings are normally a back-to-front rucksack-type carrier, a woven wrap or a ring sling and pouch within which the baby nestles. All are aimed at promoting ‘baby wearing’ rather than ‘baby carrying’, and there’s numerous benefits to doing so if you can. It’s not just for hippy earth mothers and zen yoga mums!
In your first busy few months as a mother, it’ll feel as though you always have something to do… and you normally will! Wearing your little one is convenient – allowing freedom of movement, no heavy carriers and no space required constantly to put baby down. It also allows for discreet nursing in public, and with a third of new mums to embarrassed to breast feed in public, is a great opportunity to give it a go without feeling exposed. Holding your baby close to you also gives you a nice workout as you walk around… working off that excess pregnancy weight without even realising it!
Babies nestled in close to their mum are able to form stronger bonds with them, syncing in with their breathing patterns, detecting the sound of their heartbeat, understanding better their moods and emotions, and feeling their movements as they walk, reach and bend around. Even better, there’s also studies to show that babies who are carried often are happier, crying and fussing less – and what new mother doesn’t want that?
When wearing your baby and being closer to them, you’re more likely to pick up on their (often not entirely clear) cues and moods. This helps lower the risk of unexpected toilet or sick activity and aids your ongoing understanding of their communication for an easier relationship.
Yet baby wearing need not just apply to mothers. Fathers, grandparents and other care-givers can also wear the little one in a sling to help encourage bonding. In the case of male relatives and care givers, there’s never the ease of bonding that comes with motherhood, but this is a great way to build it and make them more included in baby’s early development. It’s important to note that if you’re transitioning from wearing baby to someone else doing so, there may be a little resistance at first; but work through it! Keep sling usage regular and soon both the wearer and the little darling will be happier and healthier.
The different types of sling appeal to different people and your body shape, your baby’s shape and size and your movement are all likely to play a part in which you choose. Indeed, whatever you prefer may not be your partner’s preference, but go for both: keep it cosy and all parties will be well on their way to a closer relationship.
If you have a sling preference, great style of knot or a preferred brand, get in touch and share your experiences. Independent baby sling reviews are difficult to get hold of and are worth their weight in gold!
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Keep an eye on our blog for 'The best Slings / Baby Carriers' and where to buy them.