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Promotes strong attachmentA study at Columbia University compared the levels of attachment of babies carried in a baby carrier vs. babies carried in a car seat. Results indicated that, at 13 months old, babies who were carried in wearable carriers were significantly more likely to demonstrate a strong and secure attachment to their mothers (Anisfeld, Casper, Nozyce, & Cunningham, 1990).
Reduces crying significantly Just three hours a day of babywearing significantly reduces crying (Babywearing, 2010).
Provides a sense of organizationThe rhythms of the parent walking, heartbeat, etc. provide a balancing and soothing effect on babies (Babywearing, 2010). According to Dr. Sears, "regular parental rhythms have a balancing effect on the infant's irregular rhythms. Babywearing 'reminds' the baby of and continues the motion and balance he enjoyed in the womb" (Sears).
Advances social developmentInfants are physically closer to people and intimately involved in their caregiver's environment. According to Dr. Sears, "baby becomes aware of, and learns from, all the subtle facial expressions, body language, voice inflections and tones, breathing patterns and emotions of the caregiver." Babies are exposed to the all the aspects of being human through their caregiver, increasing social development (Sears).
Makes sibling care easier Carrying baby enables the caregiver to have both hands free. Caregivers have the freedom to care for other children while carrying their baby close (Sears).
Adheres to our biological nature Babies are born with the natural grasping reflex to cling to their mothers. Babywearing fulfills this natural instinct (Stay At Home Mum, 2009). Decreases the risk of flat head syndromeThis syndrome is caused by the babies spending too much time in car seats or sleeping on their backs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies should spend minimal amount of time in car seats when not used in a motor vehicle. Babywearing does not require babies to lie flat, thus no pressure is placed on the baby's head. Additionally, babies can be carried while they sleep, further reducing the amount of time they spend flat on their backs
Lowers incidence of illnessStudies have shown that babywearing is linked to lowering the incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), behavioral disorders and postpartum depression in mothers (Babywearing, 2010).
Increases learningBabies in a content and safe environment are able to be more alert and aware of their surroundings, providing the perfect environment for learning. This also provides the parent with an opportunity for increased interaction and bonding time with their baby. Carried babies are able to learn language more quickly since they are positioned at voice and eye level. They become more involved in conversations and begin to learn how to listen (Sears).
Provides fathers with a soothing touch A father who participates in babywearing can actually soothe a fussy baby. Fathers can hold babies close and talk, hum or sing which is calming to babies (Asaff, 2009).
Increases hormone levelsProlactin and oxytocin levels in the mother are increased through contact with baby. Increased levels of mothering hormones leads to easier breastfeeding, more responsible mothering and a more secure maternal bond (Babywearing, 2010). Additionally these hormones inhibit the negative impact of stress on the mother
Establishes independence earlierNormal environmental sounds have the potential to be both a learning and a disturbing experience. When alone and not held, babies can be frightened by sounds. When carried, babies use these sounds as a vehicle for learning. The caregiver provides soothing words to help the baby overcome fears, providing the baby with a positive association between the caregiver's voice and the disturbing sounds. Now the baby is more comfortable with the environment and ready to explore with confidence (Sears).
Provides a sense of calmnessBaby's primal needs are being met by being carried, thus providing a calming effect on the baby (Babywearing, 2010).
has been practiced for centuries. In ancient civilizations, mom needed
to have baby close while tending to everyday chores, such as tending
crops. Babywearing was born out of necessity for baby's survival and
mom's ability to work. Fabric weaving and rough terrain delayed the
invention and use of baby carriers with wheels. "With little but herbal
remedies and ancient rituals to protect newborns from high infant
mortality rates, being next to mom was the best way for a child to
survive and thrive" (Krauss).
From the time of the Industrial Revolution
in Europe and America through to the 1950s, baby carriers became taboo.
Mothers in the lower, laboring class had to take jobs where they weren't
able to bring their babies along with them. While mothers in the upper,
leisure class avoided anything messy including their own babies. It was
the children of the laboring class mothers and the nannies of the
leisure class mothers that handled childcare (Krauss).
With the flurry of civil rights and social
justice movements, the 1960s saw a baby carrying revival. "The swaths of
fabric were still the choice, tied (and tie-dyed) in sling, back, and
front positions. Breastfeeding was also back in and completing the
pattern, babywearing was part of a more relaxed lifestyle that spread
during this and the subsequent decade" (Krauss).
Babywearing is often the safest option
Anisfeld, E., Casper, V., Nozyce, M., & Cunningham, N.
(1990). Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study
of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of
attachment. Child Development, 61. 1617-1627.
Asaff, S. (2009, December 21). Fathers and baby wearing.
Suite 101. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from
Babywearing. (2010, July 6). Wikipedia. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babywearing
Krauss, K. (n.d.). Baby carriers past and present: Herstory
is history. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from
O'Mara, P. (2010, April 30). A call to arms. Mothering.
Sears, W. (n.d.). Fussy babies. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051100.asp
Stay At Home Mum. (2009, February 3). All about the art of
babywearing. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from