Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why Wear Your Baby? a FAQ

Here is some information on the benefits of carrying your baby
in a sling, pouch, or wrap, as well as some safety tips. Much of this information was gleaned from a longer
article at

Why Wear Your Baby in a Sling?

Babies whose mothers wear them in slings are calmer and cry less. In most
cultures, where babies are held almost constantly, they are typically in a quiet
alert state and rarely cry for more than brief periods.
  • Slings provide a gentle way of transitioning babies from the calm environment
    of the womb to that of the outside world. Babies in slings continue to be rocked
    by their mothers' movements and to hear their mothers' heartbeats. This helps them
    to regulate their own systems.
  • Babies in slings are more receptive to learning and display enhanced visual
    and auditory alertness.
  • It facilitates bonding. When babies are held closely, the adult and the baby can
    see each other's faces, leading to frequent verbal and non-verbal interaction,
    enhancing speech development.
  • Babies who are carried in a sling facing away from the adult get a bird's eye view
    of the world and its wonders. This kind of gentle stimulation enables babies to learn
    about their environment at their own pace.
  • Experiencing a wide variety of stimuli helps babies' brains to develop to their full
  • Mothers are more easily able to calm their babies if they are frightened, providing a
    safe haven.
  • It is easy to nurse discreetly when the baby is in a sling as the fabric shields both
    the baby and the mother from the public view.
  • Mothers find it easier to carry on their normal daily activities when they wear their
    babies. Both their hands are free and their babies are quickly soothed. Housework, shopping,
    walking for exercise and even using computers become more manageable tasks. Some mothers
    even take their babies to work in their slings.
  • Older children appreciate that their mothers' free hands can attend to their own needs,
    like tying shoelaces or making snacks.
  • Traveling is easier when babies are tucked securely into slings.
  • Twins can be worn in slings too ­ one on each side.

    Safety Tips

  • At first, help to support your baby in your sling with your hands. When you get used to
    the extra weight and learn to balance properly, you will feel confident enough to go "hands
  • Do not wear your baby in a sling in potentially unsafe situations, like by a cooking stove,
    when drinking (or carrying) hot beverages, or when using sharp knives.
  • Bend at the knees if you have to pick up an object, keeping one hand on the baby.
  • Remember that toddlers have long reaches, so keep well away from dangerous objects when
    carrying them in slings.
  • Walk carefully around corners and through doors.
  • When traveling, babies should only ride in approved infant seats made for cars or bicycles,
    never in slings.
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