Wearing your baby in a sling helps your baby's emotional and physical development

February 20, 2014

 

Around the world, babywearing is actually far more common than we might realise in Australia. The benefits for both parents and children are substantial. Babies who spend more time in close physical contact with their mums cry less and have better emotional development. In the baby book,  Attachment Parenting, written by pediatrician Dr. William Sears, there is a whole chapter that discusses baby wearing.

 

“By Extending the womb experience, the babywearing mother (and father) provides an external regulating system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of the baby. Picture how these regulating systems work. Mother’s rhythmic walk, for example, (which baby has been feeling for nine months) reminds baby of the womb experience. This familiar rhythm imprinted on baby’s mind in the womb now reappears in the ‘outside womb’ and calms baby.” Benefits of Baby Wearing — by Dr. William Sears

 

Many parents adopt the attachment parenting philosophy, wearing the baby in a baby sling, and breastfeeding until the baby decides to stop. Dr. Meredith Small has also made the conclusion in Our Babies, Ourselves, that keeping babies close has clear benefits for development.

 

To find out more about these books, please visit these Google Books pages:

·         “Attachment Parenting” by Dr. William Sears

·         “Our Babies, Ourselves” by Dr. Meredith Small

Jean Liedloff, an American anthropologist also noted the benefits of babywearing when she observed the mental, emotional and physical vitality of the Yequana children, a South American tribal group who keep their babies in constant physical contact from birth until about 6 months of age.

 

Dr. Liedloff also observed that the babies were not the center of their mothers’ attention. The Yequana mothers would stop and lovingly attend to the baby’s signals; otherwise she continued working and participating with the rest of her community in their usual daily activities, and the infant was simply along for the ride.  http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/JFL-interview.html

 

By doing this, the Yequana mother also benefited because this allowed her to continue to act in her every day role as a part of her social group rather than isolating her at home alone which is what happens to many western mothers once they have a child.

To find out more about Dr. Liedloff’s research, you can view her book The Continuum Concept on Amazon.

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