Science tells us children who have strong attachment relationships with their parents grow up to regulate their emotions better, fight illnesses with stronger immune systems, and enjoy greater academic success. With the groundwork of attachment laid in the first 24 months, the loving and soothing way we respond to our babies’ earliest needs has lasting significance.
As a breastfeeding mother, you already enjoy an abundance of precious bonding time, but that’s not the only way to remain closely connected. Baby carriers are an excellent tool to carve out even more snuggle time.
I will always remember how it felt to wear my first baby. Strapping him to my chest – where he could feel and smell my skin, listen to my heartbeat, breathing and voice, and see that I was physically there for him – just felt right.
As you consider whether babywearing is something you want to incorporate into your daily routine (and then decide which wraps and carriers interest you most), check out these benefits:
1. Free up Your Hands and Multitask
The world can shrink after a baby is born – if we allow it to. I remember thinking in that first week, “How will I go anywhere or do anything besides feeding, changing, and putting the baby to sleep?” With the baby carrier, I was able to maintain a sense of independence and self – walking to get my exercise, ducking into a coffee shop, buying groceries, and socializing with other moms. I never had to worry about my baby’s eating or nursing schedule. After he began nursing in the carrier, he simply dozed off comfortably when he was done eating. It was totally empowering. When I had my second, babywearing allowed me to spend quality time with my older child, while also building that close connection with my new baby.
2. Keep Baby Safe and Comfortable
Babywearing was a lifesaver in airports. The changing landscape and schedule can be stressful for babies, but my children felt comforted no matter where they were because they were close to me. Plus, when you’re lugging suitcases and diaper bags, you really need all the hands you can get!
3. Remain Closely Bonded with Baby
After You Go Back to Work
Returning to work after having a baby can be painful. This pain is compounded if you still have to make dinner, fold laundry, wash dishes, and pay bills once you get home. Rather than rushing home, breastfeeding, and putting your baby in a crib, you can breastfeed and wear your baby while you go about your post-work business. The baby feels snug and secure against you, and you can look down at that precious little face whenever you need a pick-me-up. Sometimes you need that adorable reminder: Yes, this is why I work so hard.
4. Build Your Milk Supply
The body works in mysterious ways. If you’re worried about a drop in milk supply, it often helps to get more skin-to-skin contact, which triggers the release of oxytocin needed to boost your supply. Babywearing – especially when paired with an easy-access nursing tank – is a great way to do just that!
5. Soothe the Fussy Feeder
As my baby got older, he got considerably wigglier too. Once babies get rolling, crawling, and interested in walking, those long breastfeeding sessions that were once so natural can become a bit more challenging. I gave my baby plenty of time for exploring the floor, but babywearing helped him focus on feedings.
6. Encourage Longer Naps
Some parents are blessed with babies who love a good stretch of three-hour sleep right out of the starting gate. For others, sleep is a mysterious spell that seems to come and go at random. The soothing feeling of being worn can encourage some babies to nap longer.
7. Promote Better Digestion
Keeping babies upright after nursing can help keep the milk down, so they may not spit up as much or awaken a few minutes later with gas pains.
I want my kids to view me as a pillar of love and support – as their superhero – and babywearing encouraged me to be that warm, comforting, strong presence, who was also able to take care of business.
For additional babywearing resources, check out this post from Mom Loves Best!