Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sling for a day

After I wrote about babywearing (which is carrying a child in a sling or other carrier) a few months ago, a reader asked if I would do a more detailed follow-up and I’m happy to oblige.

Here are more reasons why babywearing is beneficial:

• The baby’s primal survival needs are met by being held close to a parent or caregiver. This is essential for good neural development, muscle tone, and overall health. Babies are calmer because of these needs being met.

• Infants develop better socially, because they are able to see social cues and facial expressions more easily than being in a stroller or carried almost at floor level in an infant seat. They’re also able to turn away from stimuli, since they are facing in toward the parent, not out into the world.

• Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) is reduced, because infants who spend less time in a car seat or flat on their backs are less likely to develop cranial distortion.

• Close contact means your baby will likely cry less, and, as a parent, it is much easier to be mobile and carry on with everyday activities in and outside the home.

• Babywearing reduces back, neck, and arm strain. Imagine trying to carry a bowling ball at arm’s reach from your body and then cradling it next to your body, and you know which is more comfortable. Toddlers can be ‘worn’, too. I still wear Calvin, my two year old, easily. He likes to wear a bike helmet while riding on my back.

There are many excellent baby carriers out there, which can be overwhelming. The latest issue of Mothering magazine, available at Barnes & Noble, has a great babywearing article and resource list.

Maybe you’ll see us around town, bike helmet and all.

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