Find out what local support is available to help you find the best sling for you and your baby and for additional information on keeping baby safe while in a sling.
Babywearing helps to promote bonding. When you are at home you may be able to have your baby in skin to skin contact too. This and babywearing, in general, will allow you both to enjoy the release of a hormone called oxytocin. This is a hormone produced to help you bond with your baby and it increases trust and induces calmness in you.
When you practice babywearing, it’s important to follow some safety guidelines. These are often called the T.I.C.K.S. guidelines.
In many areas, you can visit a sling library or find a baby wearing consultant who can help you choose and fit the right sling for you.
Bonding is really a process, it’s not kind of a one-off event and bonding really begins during pregnancy. Babywearing helps to promote bonding as the skin to skin contact you both enjoy will release a hormone called oxytocin at various points and this is a hormone specifically kind of evolved to help you bond with your baby and it increases trust and it induces calmness in you.
Some Mums feel an instant attachment and deep protective love the first time they hold their babies whilst others take time. The good news is that prolonged skin to skin contact is now more common practice plus less rigorous washing can mean that Mum and baby can smell and familiarise themselves with each other. This promotes earlier bonding.
Bonding continues over time just enjoying your baby, smiling and spending time with her will all promote the relationship over time. Babies that have this secure base in you enjoy lots of benefits. Well bonded and securely attached babies go on to have much better mental health, they’re happier, they’re more resilient, they feel like they can explore the world because you’re there, you’re their base and they can go out into the world. It sounds counter-intuitive but the more you give them, the more you carry them and care for them as babies – the more independent and resilient they’ll end up being.
Babywearing in a sling also allows you to spend a lot of time looking into your baby’s face and lots of face-to-face contacts also release oxytocin and promote bonding.
If you are worried about your relationship with your baby and you’re worried something isn’t right, remember that feeling worried and being concerned something isn’t the way it should be is a normal part of parenthood. However, if your instincts are telling you that you need some help dealing with your feelings, your health visitor and GP are there to support you and they are very used to talking to new parents about their worries.
Human babies are very vulnerable and require complete support from their parents in the months after they are born. There is a hypothesis that human babies are born early so their large heads can be safely delivered through the birth canal. This means they are born well before their brains are fully developed. Some child development experts have referred to the early months of a baby’s life as the ‘fourth trimester’. When your baby’s very little it’s actually a lot simpler often and a lot easier to carry them around, there are lots of very nice soft slings.
Your baby will really enjoy this because she:
This stage is considered almost an extension of the pregnancy but with the baby being carried, fed and looked after by the parents outside of the womb. Babywearing is not a new fashion but rather the timeless method of looking after babies whereby the parent or carer carries the baby around on their body all day and then co-sleeps at night.
Babywearing allows you to kind of get on with your business without having to push a huge pram or carry an uncomfortable car seat all over the place. What’s also nice with a lot of these slings is you’re also very close to your baby and very tuned into each other – you know your baby is hungry or needs a nappy or diaper change straightaway.
When your baby gets more alert, they love to look around when you’re going out and about in the world or even doing things around the house. You can talk to her and interact with her. And what’s really nice is because your baby’s eye-line is quite high, when you go out shopping you’ll find that shop assistants and everyone will talk to her because they can see your baby. In contrast, babies down in a pushchair often get really ignored by members of the public, which is a real shame because it means they spend a lot of the time hearing conversations above them but not really taking part in society. So anything that makes them part of the community helps. This includes carrying them around a lot and facing them towards you, is really helpful in those early years.
Moore ER, Anderson GC, Bergman N. 2007. Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD003519.