I've talked a bit about this in the past, but I want to get deeper into it today. While I did occasionally wear my first son, as I've said before, he wasn't really into it and neither was I at that point so it didn't really happen a whole lot. I really got into wearing my baby when my second son was born. He was so sick and so grumpy all the time that the only thing I found to calm him pretty well was to wear him. I used a ring sling with him all the time. He would nap up to 4 hours in that sling. It was fantastic.
When my daughter came along three years later, I knew I wanted to wear her too. I wasn't thrilled with our ring sling since my experience with my son 3 years earlier left me going to therapy for my shoulder for a couple of months, but I didn't know that there were any other options, so we kept on with the ring sling. I wore her on outings and even nursed her in it while grocery shopping. Lol. This time though, I switched between shoulders to avoid the previous issues.
It wasn't until my youngest came along that I got a Moby wrap. I saw it for the first time when my best friend wore hers in to church a year or two earlier. I knew right then, not even pregnant yet, that I wanted one for the next baby. It was everything I hoped it would be too. It distributes the weight very well so I don't get sore shoulders from it, it isn't too hot to wear in the summer, it's light, easy to figure out, and best of all, my son loves it still. He's nearly 20 months old and will still fall asleep in it. In fact, he just slept in it again yesterday while we were out for the day as a family.
So I'm sure at this point you've caught several of the benefits that I babywear for. The first was the calming effect of babywearing on my second son. Outside of the sling and on his own in a swing or on the floor, even in his crib, Lukas struggled to get control. He fussed a lot and was generally unhappy. Inside the sling, he'd relax and calm down, even sleep for hours at a time. Part of this, I believe, is because he was warm and close to mama. He also felt some relief for his reflux and colic since the warmth of my belly against his was like his own natural heating pad. Dr. Sears, an expert in all things baby-related, actually says that you should consider yourself pregnant for 18 months, not nine. You'll carry your baby for nine months inside the womb and for nine months outside of it. I loved this idea and really wish that I would have heard it many years earlier.
The second reason I did this for Lukas was for the bonding benefit. Because Lukas was so much tougher than his older brother, he was also harder to attach to as much as I don't want to admit that. :( Babywearing with him really improved our bond though. He was against me, which comforted him and helped forge a positive experience and relationship for both of us. Today, Lukas is approaching 8 years old and he's well developed and very sweet.
The wonderful bond with Lukas was the biggest reason I went on to wear Lily and then also to wear Ian. I wanted that special relationship with them as well. But it wasn't only that. I also realized that there was another benefit to wearing my babies. While they are all dramatic in their own way, they cry much less when worn. And I'm not the only mama with this experience. I read a study from Dr. Sears' website where half the parents were told to carry their babies at least 3 hours more a day. In the end, the parents who carried their babies more had babies that cried 43% less than the babies whose parents were told nothing about carrying their babies.
According to the La Leche League site, babies who cry less spend more time learning about the world around them. This means that the majority of babies who are worn are smarter than those who aren't. They also develop emotionally and socially a little better than their un-worn peers.
There are tons more reasons to babywear, these are just my top reasons. If you want to learn more about it or are just curious, check out the sites below. They're all great and very informative! Have a wonderful Tuesday and, as always, feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences in a comment on this post.
1. Ask Dr. Sears: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051100.asp
2. The Babywearer: http://www.thebabywearer.com/lists/BWInfo.htm
3. La Leche League: http://www.llli.org/NB/NBNovDec04p204.html
4. The Natural Child Project: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/laura_simeon.html
5. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babywearing