One of the services that I provide my mamas is hands on, one on one babywearing instruction and help. Actually, I will help anyone and everyone, not just my mamas. I currently co-lead the local babywearing group and help moms all the time. I will also teach doulas or professionals working with mothers, so that they can help their mamas/clients safely and comfortably wear their baby.
There is information all over the web about babywearing and there are also a few books on the topic. One in particular is “Babywearing” by Dr. Maria Blois. Taken from Dr. Maria Blois’ website:
“Biologically, babies need to be carried in order to thrive. Studies have shown that otherwise well nourished and cared for infants who are deprived of human touch fail to thrive and can even die. Good things happen when baby is carried. Research shows that babies who are held often:
- cry less: Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry. The long-term consequences of letting infants cry without responding are just beginning to be understood. One study found that letting babies cry permanently alters the nervous system by flooding the developing brain with stress hormones. This makes these babies overly sensitive to future trauma and may lead to incidents of post-traumatic stress and panic disorders in adulthood. Babies who cry less in the first few months cry less in the following year. Responding quickly to your crying baby is an investment – the less she cries now the more peaceful the upcoming year. Well worth it.
- are more calm and content: Carried babies have a more even respiratory rate, heart rate and steady internal body temperature. Even very tiny premature babies can be carried safely in a sling without danger of compromised breathing or heart rate. Regularly carrying a baby encourages baby to feel secure and content.
- sleep more peacefully: Keeping baby close helps baby organize his sleep/wake cycles. Naptimes are spent in constant motion, close to mother’s heart and night time is dark and still with a loved parent near by. This helps baby make a difference between daytime and nighttime, an important step in sleeping longer stretches at night. One study of premature infants found that babies had longer intervals of quiet sleep when they had skin-to-skin contact with mother.
- nurse better, gain weight better: Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. Full-term babies nurse more frequently when they are carried close to mother.
- enjoy better digestion: The constant motion and frequent small feedings associated with carrying baby can promote good digestion. Babies who are carried often spit up less. Babies with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can benefit from being carried in the upright position after a feeding. When baby is upright, the force of gravity helps the acid stay down in the stomach where it belongs. Most babies outgrow this condition.
- develop better: Babies who are held experience human touch and movement. This stimulation has been shown to have a positive effect on the baby’s development. Carrying baby enhances motor skills by stimulating the vestibular system (used for balance). Baby constantly readjusts as mother moves around, using his developing muscles to hold his head up, kick his feet and use his arms to cling to mother. Because soft carriers keep pressure off the back of the head, carried babies are at a much lower risk for plagiocephaly (asymmetrical head shape). Carrying baby naturally limits the time baby spends in hard plastic carriers, such as carseats, automatic swings, and such. Holding baby while moving counts as “tummy time.”
There are other physical advantages of being carried for baby. Babywearing can be kind to baby’s developing hip joints. Baby hips are unique in that formation is not complete at birth. The acetabulum, or the ball and socket joint of the hip, continues to develop for the first few months of life. When baby straddles our front or our back, his legs are said to be in the abducted position, or turned out from the hips. This position aids in healthy hip development. In fact, children with congenital hip dysplasia are often placed in this position to help correct the problem.”
If you are in the Lethbridge area and would like more information on babywearing and all the different carriers available, please let me know, I’d love to help!