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Babywearing Benefits That Science Can Agree On

October 2, 2018
Mom kisses baby's head while carrying her in the pikkolo buckle carrier.

[Note from Catbird Baby: Thanks to Neve Spicer of “We the Parents” for providing this content in celebration of International Babywearing Week.]

The first week of October marks the 10th annual celebration of babywearing, with advocates of this parenting technique both celebrating and championing slings, wraps, and carriers. But is babywearing really worth all this attention?

Emphatically, yes!

First off,  wearing our infants is a wonderful convenience. After all, it puts our newborns in our immediate vicinity without straining our arms or backs. We can offer instant comfort to them, nurse/feed as needed, and even free up our hands to get something done around the house.

But go beyond the anecdotal evidence and you’ll find a wealth of scientific research in various fields which point to the developmental and health benefits of babywearing (both for parent and infant).

We The Parents has combed through this literature to provide a visualization illustrating the evidence-based benefits of babywearing.

 

Babywearing: 23 Science-Backed Benefits

At present, there are only a handful of direct babywearing studies (though more are planned). This means, to get a complete picture of the science behind babywearing, you’ll need to look at the research in closely related fields such as early child development and anthropology. When you do, the evidence comes flooding in.

Carriers, wraps, and slings not only promote bonding and attachment, but also can help mitigate the occurrence of otitis media (aka middle ear infections), lessen crying bouts, reduce reflux symptoms, and can even help cope with postpartum depression.

We are thrilled to join in celebrating babywearing and its many positive effects during this year’s 10th annual International Babywearing Week!  There are so many options out there, there is a carrier style that will work for everybody; read here to see which catbird carrier is for you.

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Babywearing Research Parenting

Guest Blogger: Leslie Brinkely of “And Her Little Dog Too”

January 23, 2014

Sitting in the Catbird Seat / The Benefits of Baby Wearing

by guest blogger Leslie Brinkley of And Her Little Dog Too

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One thing I always knew I would do once I became a mom would be using a baby carrier. I always see moms {and dads!} out and about with their little ones in tow, looking so happy! I’ve done my research on carriers for sure, but nothing beats seeing them in action. I love to check out the different kinds out there, the many positions the baby can be in as well as how the baby looks in the carrier. To me, it just seems like a comfortable and convenient way to be with your little one.

Organic Carrier

I was recently selected {as a new mom-to-be} to take part in a special blogger project with the wonderful folks at Catbird Baby to review their carriers as a way to embrace all things baby wearing. Their company name comes from the expression “sitting in the catbird seat,” which means to be in an advantageous position (from the short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, by James Thurber). What a perfect description for a baby who gets to see the world while snuggled in close to Mom or Dad!

Pikkolo Carrier

Since becoming pregnant, I have been counting down the moments until I could carry my own little one. I have done a little research to better prepare myself for wearing my baby and here are a few of the benefits of babywearing that stick out most in my mind. I look forward to putting them to the test with my little guy a few months from now; check them out and let me know what you think:

The Benefits of BabyWearing

  1. Carried Babies Cry Less! Researchers have found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43% overall and 54% during evening hours. {source}
  2. Carried Babies Learn More! Carried babies spend more time in the state of quiet alertness. This is the behavioral state in which an infant is most content and best able to interact with his environment. It has been called the optimal state of learning for a baby. Researchers have also reported that carried babies show enhanced visual and auditory alertness. {source}
  3. Baby Wearing is Healthier for You! By doing this you will enjoy the dual benefits of walking and “weightlifting. ” Wearing your baby burns up to around 300 extra calories a day! A brisk ten-minute walk will shed about 100 calories. Baby provides as much (or more!) “resistance” as a pair of hand weights. A long walk in the carrier is also an excellent way to help a tired but over-stimulated child fall asleep. {source}
  4. Baby Wearing is Convenient! Three words : Two Free Hands!

Baby wearing also:

  • Increases cardiac output, improves circulation, promotes respiration and aids in digestion.
  • Provides the exact level and kind of stimulation an infant requires, energizing their nervous system and creating a quiet, calm alertness in the infant.
  • Decreases the levels of stress hormones circulating in a baby’s blood stream, resulting in a more relaxed, happy baby.
  • Develops the muscles needed for the infant to sit, stand, and walk.
  • Enhances motor skills by stimulating the baby’s vestibular system (balance organs) by exposing the baby to a variety of sights, sounds, and motion.

{source}

Thanks to the lovely folks at CatBird Baby, I can’t wait to try out their Pikkolo and Mei Tai carriers myself with our little man! Stay tuned for my reviews & feel free to share your thoughts/experiences on baby wearing with me – I’d love to hear it!

catbirdbaby

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Do you believe in baby wearing?

What are your favorite tips / tricks for doing it right?

What are the best benefits you have experienced from Baby wearing?

Please share!

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Babywearing in the News Babywearing Research Parenting

Keeping a clear head

March 30, 2012

Have you seen these pictures of singer Beyonce, ostensibly wearing her daughter, Ivy Blue, in some type of carrier? I say ostensibly, because in all the many photographs that claim to show Beyonce carrying her baby around town, I can’t spot the baby. I understand her conundrum, of course: she is one of the most famous people in the world and paparazzi follow her everywhere trying to snap pictures of everything she does. Photos of her daughter would probably fetch a pretty penny from the celebrity magazines. I’m sure it’s bad enough when they’re in your face trying to catch you without any makeup on the way to bikram yoga or whatever. When it’s your infant daughter they are chasing down, I understand that your instinct would be to shield your baby from this intrusion. But as a parent who uses baby carriers and a manufacturer of baby carriers, I cringe every time I see these photos. One thing we know very well about safety for infants—not just in baby carriers, but always—is that we should never be covering baby’s face with cloth close around the mouth or nose. A baby’s face should always be uncovered with no fabric covering it, so that the fabric is not pressed against the mouth or nose in a way that could obstruct breathing and so that we can observe the baby at all times, particularly in the first 4 months. We must be able to see baby’s face so we can know that everything is ok in terms of breathing.

So, take all the fashion cues you want from Beyonce, but don’t follow her cue when it comes to babywearing: when you use a baby carrier, never cover up your baby’s face with a blanket, coat, or other fabric. Keep baby’s mouth and nose completely free and clear, both to ensure s/he can breathe easily and so that you can observe your baby and know instantly if anything is amiss.

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