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Babywearing 101: Babywearing History, Benefits, & Safety
- In China, mothers have been wearing their babies for thousands of years, including in the traditional Mei Tai carrier hold.
- Native Americans on United States soil wore their babies during the busy day of cooking, cleaning, preparing animal skins, and more.
- In many nations, babywearing is still a vital practice of parenting, part of cultures dating back centuries.
In the Western world, babywearing saw a decline as parents misunderstood or were not aware of babywearing. (For instance, some parenting experts believed the mistaken notion that babywearing hindered developing independence, whereas it actually facilitates it when practiced properly.)
With the rising influence of attachment parenting, parents are beginning to realize the tremendous benefits of babywearing to their family structure and baby's well-being. (Not all babywearers consider themselves attachment parents.)
1) The gentle movement of babywearing and closeness to Mommy reminds baby of being in the womb.
2) Babywearing also provides Daddy a way to share the nurturing and enhances family bonding.
3) Babywearing increases parental sensitivity to baby's needs, as baby is right there.
4) Babywearing is known to decrease crying and fussiness, as well as increase learning.
5) As an active part of their parents' world through babywearing, babies are able to make the right connections for brain function.
6) Parents who babywear get extra exercise!
7) Breastfeeding is convenient and discreet while babywearing.
8) Babywearing makes it possible to go out with baby without worrying about other people's hand and germs.
9) Babywearing allows parents to care for and play with older children without neglecting baby.
10) Baby carriers and slings are more convenient than strollers in crowded places, airports, the beach, and other public places.
- Keep a heightened awareness of your walking environment, especially what objects are around that could cause you to trip or stumble.
- Make sure your baby does not have access to hot drinks or other dangerous items at the adult level.
- Proper positioning is essential to keep baby from falling, as well as for maintaining proper spine, pelvic, and hip growth. Baby carriers and slings that evenly distribute baby's weight are best for you and for your baby.
- Remember that you will need more space when maneuvering to avoid bashing baby into doorways, counters, etc.
- Make sure knotted carriers are tied securely and other carriers fit snugly to keep baby from wiggling out.
- Do not overdress your baby, as contact with you will be very effective in keeping him or her warm. Overheating poses more danger than underheating.
- Make sure baby's airways are unrestricted by fabric or the position of his or her head.
- Babies in slings and carriers are always with you, always in sight.
- Children cannot run off into dangerous situations or be snatched by strangers while in a baby sling or carrier.
- If parents stumble or fall while babywearing, they are less likely to drop babies or cause serious injury... as opposed to simply holding babies in their arms.
- Babywearing significantly decreases the risk of positional plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome, which can result from too much time in the car seat, stroller, or crib.