Wear that baby! For some, the thought of baby wearing is out dated or even unheard of. But it was only until 200 years ago that all babies were carried in slings and carriers by their moms and dads. It was the only way to transport this precious cargo. Then in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s the pram was born. It was a huge, cumbersome and very expensive item invention. And to be honest, the pram was quite impractical other than for use at home. All this changed in 1965, with the advent of the Maclaren’s stroller or ‘buggy’ as it was called. It was a small, convenient fold-away stroller. As that was the start of the prams/strollers/buggies/travel systems we know today.
I am fascinated by this history and the impact it had on almost every family in the western world. Without detracting from the convenience of a pushing your baby, I do think that prams took something very special away from parenting.
The benefits of baby wearing
They took away that closeness of carrying, the soothing and nurturing sensation of the lulling movement of mom’s body. In addition, the benefit of understanding social interactions and non-verbal nuances are lost on babies who are no longer in close proximity to mom or dad’s face. Research shows that the benefits of baby wearing include:
- Better sleep
- A calmer baby
- Improved muscle tone
- Better non-verbal and verbal capacities
Babies first preference
Most babies love to be carried. Those who spend a lot of time in a sling or carrier around their parents’ bodies tend to cry less than those who don’t. By keeping your baby close to you, you will provide them with physical contact, security, stimulation and movement, which are all excellent conditions for their development. The close contact with your little one will help them to recognise your unique smell and the sound of your voice. It will also benefit you, as you will be more responsive to their needs and you will be able to recognise their signals more quickly.
So while I appreciate the modern convenience of a pram, I am and always will be an advocate of baby-wearing! Whether in a sling or a pouch, I believe babies do better when carried than pushed.