My biggest regret about babywearing was that I didn’t learn about it sooner.
As an often single parent, I would regularly bemoan the inability to do countless things at once, when I had a young baby to tend to. Why? Because I didn’t have enough pairs of hands! I couldn’t juggle a baby who refused to be put down, as well as shopping/washing/cooking/cleaning/wiping snotty noses/packing school lunches… I could go on, as parents and caregivers of young children will no doubt be aware.
Babywearing has multiple benefits for the parent or caregiver, the child being worn, older children who aren’t being worn, and partners, relatives, and friends.
For the parent or caregiver, a baby carrier allows you to be hands free, enabling you to achieve other activities whilst still tending to your child. This includes, but isn’t limited to: the ability to continue your routine daily chores, and go on outings with your child without being hampered by crowds or needing to manoeuvre a pram. Using a carrier whilst travelling is also an additional benefit; babywearing in airports or away from home makes travelling with young ones a little bit easier.
Using a baby carrier also has emotional benefits for both the wearer and wearee. Babywearing has been shown to provide additional comfort and connection. Recent research demonstrates that using a baby carrier can enable feelings of security and overall contentment for the child. These benefits are also important for older children! Toddlers and preschool age children often experience more insecurity as they realise how big their world is, and often require a reconnection with their parent or caregiver to reestablish their security in themselves and the world around them.
For parents or caregivers with multiple children, the benefits of babywearing continue to expand. Older children can often feel left out when a new child enters their lives; utilising a baby carrier to tend to the younger child allows parents and caregivers to continue to provide their older children with attention to their needs. Additionally, using a baby carrier or carriers to tandem carry two children is a common practice, and means that the parent or caregiver can receive double the benefits of babywearing!
As well as the emotional support, babywearing also provides excellent physical support for both the wearer and wearee. For the wearer, core muscles and overall fitness are improved through using a baby carrier; for the child, muscles and motor skills are also developed through babywearing.
Using a baby carrier is also exceptionally helpful for caregivers other than a child’s main parenting unit. Family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings; and friends, can also experience the multiple benefits of babywearing, along with developing their own closeness with the children.
If you’re needing further resources on the benefits of babywearing in addition to this article, here’s some to share with your family or friends:
How has babywearing impacted your life? Come join the discussion in our chatter group Up with Ankalia!
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Ankalia’s online journal is written and edited by white Australian women. As such, our articles are written from our cultural standpoint.
To understand and improve our knowledge of the practice of babywearing across a varied dynamic, we may seek input from our friends and peers who identify as belonging to culturally and linguistically diverse groups, and groups who are marginalised within our society.
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