Five Benefits Of The Ancient, Now Trending Practice Of Babywearing

Terri LaPoint

Babywearing, a time-honored tradition in many cultures that almost disappeared in the Western world, has made a dramatic comeback in recent years. Moms with slings or wraps or carriers may be seen anywhere there are gatherings of mamas and babies. It's also a hot trend among Hollywood parents, including such celebrities as Jennifer Garner, Gwen Stefani, and Julia Roberts. The Inquisitr has reported in the past that Mayim Bialik is a huge advocate of babywearing, as well as other attachment parenting practices.

In honor of International Babywearing Week, here are some of the incredible benefits of wearing baby.

1.) Babywearing is convenient. Moms who have discovered the benefits of a Maya wrap or Ergo carrier (or any other carrier that they love) at any time after their first baby have expressed amazement at how much easier life can be wearing baby than it was before. Alternative Mama argues that "babywearing is vital when you have more than one kid." It makes it easier to chase after the other ones and tend to their needs.

Beauty Of Babywearing

Little people love to be carried and held close, but they can get heavy. A carrier helps to spread the weight of the baby and make carrying the child easier. Also, Everyday Family raves about the convenience of babywearing for outings.

"It's so much easier to put your baby into a sling to run an errand than getting the stroller out of the car."

Babywearing And Chores

2.) Babies who are worn cry less. People in Western cultures have come to believe that crying in babies is normal, but anthropologists who have observed infants in indigenous cultures where the norm is to carry their babies on their bodies have found that those babies seldom cry! When baby has a need, the mother is immediately on hand to address it, whether it be hunger or discomfort. Dr. William Sears has long been an advocate of attachment parenting, of which babywearing is an important facet.

"In Western culture we measure a baby's crying in hours, but in other cultures, crying is measured in minutes. We have been led to believe that it is 'normal' for babies to cry a lot, but in other cultures this is not accepted as the norm."

Babywearing On The Go

3.) Babywearing results in babies who are more secure, with less fear of heights later on in life. A baby who is worn feels a wide variety of motions as mother bends and stretches and moves about with the little one attached, and thus develops less of a fear of heights, according to ICPA. A baby in a stroller, on the other hand, is limited in the range of motions he experiences. The carried child learns to adjust. People who grew up in tribal cultures where babywearing is the norm are actually sought after for high rise construction work because of their lack of a fear of heights.

"Interestingly enough, the fear of flying and the fear of heights which plagues many of today's adults can often be traced back to not being carried as an infant. Carried babies feel secure, and are less apt to develop space-related phobias."

These babies also tend to be more secure emotionally, according to Everyday Family. Clinginess often indicates a need for more attachment that has been missing. When children's needs for security are met early on, within the first year, they tend to be better able to be independent when it is time for them to do so developmentally. They grow up "with more confidence because they feel assured that they always have a place of comfort to come back to."

4.) Babywearing has numerous health benefits. Boba lists a number of such benefits, which are all backed by scientific research.

"Tense babies (those with a suck problem called tonic bites) and back-archers often breastfeed much better in the sling because of the organizing effect babywearing has on their entire physiology. As the baby's whole body relaxes, so do the suck muscles."

These are just a few of the numerous benefits of babywearing, not even including the incredible sweetness of having baby so close by and breathing in the intoxicating fragrance of her presence, and the ability to feel the precious bundle next to your heart. It is little surprise that the ancient practice of babywearing is becoming popular again.

[images via UNFPA/Kenya, and courtesy of Moments by Frances, Tara Allcock, Amanda Decker, Michelle Viquez, and Christi Colvin]