Using a sling has many benefits to your baby, but it can also be good you you too!
Babywearing encourages bonding and deepening of a loving relationship via the release of the hormone oxytocin; having baby close heightens the parent’s awareness and can increase their responsiveness to their baby’s needs. This can greatly increase parental confidence. The parent may be more “in tune” with their baby, as the carried child is part of the parent’s personal space, and the parent will be more aware of changes in a child’s mood, and thus be more able to respond to the child’s facial expressions, gestures and vocalised needs sooner. This will build mutual trust and contentment and there is evidence to suggest that babywearing reduces post-partum depression, in part due to oxytocin release and in part due to increased bonding.
Fathers and other care-givers will be able to use a sling as well, increasing family connections and helping baby recognise more people by their voices and scent.
If you have been discharged from hospital, then it is safe to take your baby outside. You may want to have a few days at home before you venture outdoors. Babywearing will make this whole experience much easier and stress free for both you and your baby and allows for aless cumbersome stroll. If you’re already a parent, you will know how annoying prams and buggies can be – they don’t go on grass, you have to use the lift in shops, and they often don’t fit on buses. Slings can provide “hands-free” parenting, which can be very useful for everyday tasks such as such as making a quick snack, interacting with an older child, doing the housework or other chores, as well as providing greater access to the world; stairs, doorways, bumpy paths and woodland trails are not obstacles to a babywearing parent like they are to a parent with a pushchair. Babywearing makes it easier to getphysical exercise and mental stimulation, which benefit a mother’s well-being by provide opportunities to learn a new skill and to form a new social circle (such as sling meets) Many people find that carrying their children on walks helps to lose weight and tone muscles.
Slings can provide comfort and nurturing for older children as well. You can read more about bonding with your big kid here, and here is a wonderful article about carrying beyond babyhood (from Nicola at the West Yorkshire Sling Library).