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It shouldn’t be a secret anymore: We humans, like monkeys, are parent clingers. Unfortunately, for a long time it had been established in people’s minds that we were nest-stools. Reason for it are the similarities between nest-stools and parent clingers and the long time completely missing category “parent clingers” as cub type.
The common feature of both types of cubs lies in their helplessness and immaturity after birth. They both need the help of their parents to survive.
That our babies are not nest-stools, however, becomes clear at the latest when you consider the probably biggest difference between these two types. Nest stools, such as many species of birds or kittens, are used to being alone for hours and waiting for their parents to bring in food during this time.
This can be seen, for example, in the fact that kittens do not start meowing until you take them up from their nest. If you leave them lying around, they stay quiet so as not to attract enemies.
With humans the opposite is the case. A baby cries exactly then when you leave it alone, put it down or when it has been lying alone in the stroller for too long.
If he is picked up, carried, cradled and rocked, a baby usually calms down quickly and feels comfortable.
It was not until 1970 that the type “parent clinger” (German “Tragling”) was introduced by the biologist B. Hassenstein. Since then, the awareness that babies should mainly be carried has slowly been gaining ground in our western world.
To speed up this process a little, I would like to list ten advantages of carrying for you and your baby.
These ten benefits are just a small, clear selection of the vast number of positive effects that wearing has on you and your child. Carrying your baby is so natural and self-evident for a baby that, strictly speaking, not carrying makes you healthy, but not-carrying can be harmful.
So let’s stay on the positive side and look at the ten benefits I have picked out for you.
Another note: I very often use the term “mother and child”, the mother represents the first caregiver or the person who often carries the child. In order not to disturb the flow of reading, I refrain from mentioning all possible variants (father, grandpa, aunt, …), but of course I also include all other possible constellations.
Enjoy the reading.
1 Baby wearing makes everyday life easier
For many mothers it is a main reason to carry the baby and also for me it was always a great relief to have my hands free. Whether carried on the stomach or on the back, my baby always slept blissfully in the baby carrier and I could do my housework or cooking in peace.
Also while shopping I was always very grateful for my Manduca. In front the child and in the back the rucksack. So I walked many times to the supermarket, to the postnatal exercise course or across the city.
As soon as the second child is born, it is worth twice as much. With the little one in the baby carrier it is easy to take the toddler to the playground. There you have your hands free and can devote yourself to your oldest child while the little one either sleeps or relaxes and observes its environment.
The fact that babies often fall asleep very quickly in the carrier also makes everyday life much easier and leaves more time and freedom for other things.
2 Baby wearing saves the stroller
Not only the fact that you have your hands free is a big advantage, also that you do not always need the stroller, has always convinced me to carry my baby.
No more loading and unloading the stroller into and out of the car, no more climbing stairs with it, no more annoying maneuvering through narrow shops or searching for a lowered curb. You will be spared this and much more if you carry your child.
In addition, there are studies that have found that carried children are more intelligent than children who lie a lot in a stroller. The reasons are the better all-round vision and the associated better stimulation of the brain. In the stroller the children hardly see anything of their environment and cannot actively participate in it. If you are interested, you can read about it in my article “10 tips for smarter kids”.
You can find more information and the corresponding studies in the recommended book Brain Rules for Your Baby by John Medina.
The stroller is also a real relief when travelling. Travelling by train, streetcar, cab or bus is much easier to manage with a stroller than with a baby wrap. When hiking in the mountains or through the forest, every baby stroller reaches its limits With a baby wrap you have all the freedom of a pedestrian.
3 Baby wearing provides safety
Carrying your child with you gives you security and confidence. As a mother or father, by wearing you baby you experience that you have the ability to calm your child, to give him security and to carry him to sleep. This strengthens your self-confidence and confidence in your parental skills.
In addition, a carried baby is actually “safe”. Very close to the mother or father, the child can be optimally monitored and cared for.
Mothers who carry their child a lot are also more sensitive in dealing with their child. Wearing close to the body leads to a better coordination between mother and child and increases the mother’s sensitivity to the needs of the child.
4 Baby wearing relieves stomach aches
Especially in the first few months, babies often struggle with flatulence and stomach aches. The digestive tract must first get used to the new food after birth and the baby must first learn to drink at the breast or from the bottle. Often a lot of air gets into the stomach, which can lead to unpleasant flatulence.
Moreover, the intestinal flora is only gradually built up and not everything can be optimally digested immediately.
If a baby does not get breast milk, the substitute milk can also be the cause of various abdominal complaints, as not all babies tolerate every substitute milk well. The type of bottle can also contribute to collics (anti-colic bottle).
Wearing them can provide help and relief. The proximity to the other body warms the little belly and the movement also massages your baby’s stomach and intestines. Both promote blood circulation and have a positive effect on digestion.
In addition, the upright posture facilitates and encourages burping, which can be a relief for the little dwarf.
Another positive point is the squatting position. This has been proven to aid digestion, as it corresponds to the natural position of excretion.
An all around beautiful possibility to build up closeness and at the same time alleviate baby’s abdominal discomfort.
To make wearing a success for both of you, have a look at my article about the 9 most common wearing mistakes. In any case, I recommend that you seek advice from a trained baby wearing consultant. You can find out whether there is a carrying consultant near you, for example, in Germany we have a lot of web sites that provides lists of consultants like “Die Trageschule” does.
5 Baby wearing promotes breastfeeding
If you are one of those mothers who can and want to breastfeed, then I can recommend carrying your baby to support and promote breastfeeding.
The production of breast milk requires the release of the cuddling hormone oxytocin (see also point 8). This hormone is released when the mother spends a lot of time together with the baby, preferably naked, close to the body. The hormone has a stress-relieving, relaxing and milk-forming effect.
These findings have already gained acceptance in many hospitals, which has led to babies being allowed to rest on their mother for one to two hours after birth, ideally.
We spent the first hour after delivery together in the delivery room, body to body, and every minute after that together. Of course I can’t say for sure if this was really the cause, but my milk swelling came the same evening.
Newborns may be carried from the first day on, as long as the mother is well, e.g. in a baby wrap or ring sling (in an upright position), which can be especially helpful at the start of breastfeeding.
Which advantages breast milk has for your baby and which partial living components it is composed of, you can find out in my blog post: “15 amazing facts about breast milk”.
6 Baby wearing promotes intellectual development
This is the point that impressed me very much even during pregnancy. I was reading the highly recommended book “Brain Rules for Baby” at the time (see also my short review in the blog article“The Only 3 Books You Must Have Read as a Pregnant Woman”). There it is highlighted and proven with studies that carried babies have a higher IQ than stroller babies.
The reason for this is the better all-round view in the baby carrier. There, snuggled close to mom or dad, they can explore the whole world in safety. They meet other people at eye level and can participate in what is happening.
In the stroller, on the other hand, babies are largely isolated from the outside world. They only experience distraction and attention when your caregivers look into the stroller and interact with the children. However, they themselves are unable to explore the outside world in this position.
The better stimulation of the brain when worn leads to it being able to develop better.
A variety of impressions help the child to get along in the world at an early age, communication with other people and also the caregiver provide feedback and increase social competence. And if the child is tired, he can simply snuggle back into the baby wrap and forget everything around him.
Carried children also benefit from being close to the body in this respect. Because security and closeness are prerequisites for the positive mental and emotional development of a baby.
If you’re interested in how to further enhance your baby’s mental development, check out my post “10 Tips for Smarter Kids”.
You can also find a very nice video on the benefits of wearing it at Weleda:
7 Baby wearing strengthens the body and sense of balance
There is another point that baby wearing has ahead of lying in a stroller or bassinet.
“Stimulated, probably by the stimulation of the sense of balance, babies a few days old then also readily follow visual offers and also process them better than would be expected for this age.”Dr. Kirkilionis in “Ein Baby will getragen sein”
The upright but well-supported posture while carrying promotes muscle growth and strengthens the neck and trunk. Carried babies can therefore often hold their heads independently earlier than babies who are not carried.
When being carried, the baby must also repeatedly balance the smallest (and also large) movements of the mother or father, which trains the sense of balance and has also been proven to improve it.
Incidentally, as a side effect, the wearer’s body is also strengthened and brought into a healthy upright position by a well-tied baby wrap or sling, which is also good to the back.
Another advantage is that frequent baby wearing greatly reduces the likelihood of the development of a position-related crooked head (plagiocephaly), since the baby’s horizontal position, which is responsible for this, is abandoned during carrying.
Whew, quite a few advantages up to here and we’re only at point 7! 😉
8 Baby wearing releases happiness hormones
If you’ve ever tried to wear your baby by yourself, you know that it is usually an all-around great experience for both mother and child. The fact that you enjoy carrying so much and that your baby often falls asleep very quickly is due to the release of the hormone oxytocin.
Oxytocin is primarily released during intense loving physical contact between parent and child, both in the parents and in the child.
This hormone has an extremely important role throughout the bonding phase and beyond. It has, as already described in point 5, stress-reducing and relaxing effect on mother and child, strengthens the bond between the two and also promotes milk production.
These properties lead to the fact that the child can relax well in the (suitable for him) baby carrier and usually falls asleep quickly.
It has even been shown that the faster the person carrying the baby moved, the slower the heartbeat of carried babies.
The mother can also shut down and switch off due to the release of the hormone, which is important and necessary in everyday life with children.
9 Baby wearing gives security
After everything you have read up to here, this point is now no longer a surprise. Baby wearing gives a feeling of security. Snuggled up close to mom or dad, nothing can happen at all.
The worn baby is reminded of the fuzzy warm situation before birth.
Mom’s heartbeat is very close, the baby is gently rocked,the gentle tightness and the crouched position strongly resemble the feeling and the nice safe time in mom’s belly..
But it’s not only with mom that your toddler can feel like he’s back in the belly. This also works with dad…
10 Baby wearing strengthens the bond, also with dad
Fathers have a big disadvantage compared to mothers. Babies spend the first nine months in their mother’s womb, where they have the opportunity to bond with their mother from the very beginning.
They also get to know dad’s voice, but they are with mom all the time. Even after birth, this condition does not really change in most cases. The postpartum period is usually reserved for mother and child alone; unfortunately, fathers often go back to work during this time.
If a mother breastfeeds, the father cannot contribute much here either.
Some fathers are therefore troubled by not having such opportunities for intensive attachment building as the mother.
A good option is therefore for fathers to also wear their children from the beginning. On the one hand, this naturally strengthens the bond between father and child, and on the other, fathers also learn that they are able to carry the child to sleep and soothe it.
This can be a relief and a valuable experience for some parents.
It strengthens the role of dad and incidentally relieves the mother.
My husband also walked around a lot with our son in the baby carrier. At first only short distances, because I was fully breastfeeding and my son was very hungry. But over time, these routes became longer and longer.
They both really enjoyed the walks and it brought them even closer together from my perspective.
Dads also often have very different ways of dealing with their offspring. Not only the speed and rhythm of carrying is different 😉
But the paths my husband has taken also differed from mine. My favorite routes were very different from my husband’s.
I can therefore highly recommend wearing the baby of both parents and also of the rest of the family and hope that many will be allowed to have this beautiful intense experience.
We are “parent clingers” from birth and made to be taken everywhere. This fact can be very nicely understood from the many points mentioned, although my list is by no means complete.
Unfortunately, baby wearing has not been part of our history in Central Europe for many centuries. If historical records are to be believed, we were mostly cradle children.
That’s why I’m even more pleased that baby wearing is becoming more and more a part of our western world and that parents and children are doing so well with it!
My final tip: Find a trained baby wearing counselor
If you want to carry your baby and perhaps have never carried before, or if you are not comfortable with a baby carrier or your baby is not comfortable in the carrier, contact a trained baby wearing consultant in your area.
A bab ywearing consultant can give you many tips and tricks on how to make baby wearing work well and easily. You can try different models and ways of wearing and sometimes even borrow them.
It is definitely worth it! You can easily find addresses on the Internet or for Germany on these pages: