Depending on his size and appetite, your baby will probably get hungry around every three hours. Babywearing offers your baby easy access to his food source – his mothers’ breast milk, without you having to stop or sit down. Babywearing not only promotes an intimate connection between you and your baby, it is hailed as one of the most important factors in the healthy physical, intellectual and social development of infants. It promotes good digestion, which is believed to greatly eases the distressing symptoms of colic and reflux.
Breastfeeding mothers who practice baby wearing find it easy to nurse their babies more often. This may help babies gain more weight due to the shorter the time between feedings and the higher the fat content in mother’s milk. By wearing your baby, you can easily respond to his early feeding cues:
When a baby is near his source of milk and comfort, he does not have to use much energy to get his mother’s attention; he can use this energy to grow instead. (Sears and Sears 2001)
The biggest benefit is that mom’s level of oxytocin and prolactin is increased when baby is close to her most of the time. Not only does this help to establish her supply but it also leads to deeper bonding, better care for baby, lower chance of postnatal depression and overall easier breastfeeding.
If you think that you may feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, baby wearing can help you overcome this worry. Breastfeeding in public is likely to attract more attention if your baby has reached the point that he is crying frantically when you try to offer the breast. If baby is already close to you in a sling, you can respond as soon as he shows early feeding cues, such as rooting for the breast or sucking on his hands. You can adjust his position and your clothing and have him peacefully nursing before anyone even notices. The extra fabric from the sling can easily be pulled over your baby’s head, and you can continue shopping or eating dinner without any fuss. With the fabric of the sling blocking out distractions, your baby will settle down to the business of eating and may nurse quietly off to sleep.
And even when you are not able to breastfeed, baby wearing can be a way for you to feel just as close with your baby. Many mothers struggle with guilt and admit they don’t feel as close a bond when they can’t breastfeed. Wearing your baby can be a good way to help overcome this.