Babywearing benefits both Mom or Dad and baby. Babywearing is practiced across the globe. While Babywearing styles vary from country to country, the benefits to babywearing are universal. Moms all over the world appreciate holding baby close, breastfeeding in a carrier, having both arms free to get things done. You may have seen photos of women in Africa doing their daily work with baby on their back, a USA Mom at Target shopping for home items or Syrian refugees using donated carriers to hold their little ones in treacherous times. Babies, and babywearing are universal.
However babies are worn, using a carrier benefits children across the board; From all walks of life, abilities and disabilities (I hate the word disabled). Not only does wearing a developing child provide valuable experiences, but it also allows a disabled child to get input from their caregivers movements. It provides him/her with valuable sensory input and allows them to explore the world and participate in activities from your perspective. How? The babywearers activities give information to a child’s body that they may not otherwise be able to duplicate. Practiced correctly, It facilitates the development of head and trunk control. A proper seat moves the baby’s or child’s pelvis and trunk when you walk and provides sights and sounds as limited as your imagination.
I’ve loved wearing all 4 of my children as babies. However, after some medical events including being unable to stand on his leg for 6 weeks, I knew that wearing my toddler needed to be worn. Toddlerwearing provides input from my movements to him, even if he can’t move around himself. He feels my movements as I walk, bend to get something from the cupboard and sees and hears everything going around as I do my activities.
There are many benefits to babywearing that are available to babies too. In addition to benefits like skin to skin contact, increased breast milk production, regulation of body temperature and all the wonderfulness that comes along with being held close; Those highlighted here follow the doctrine of thinking embed in all OT’s from the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Practice Framework, and one of my favorite perspectives on life.
1. Functional Mobility; For Occpational Therapists, this means moving from one place to another during activites. This includes shifting weight, turning, safe bending and moving from location to location during activity. Wearing a baby or toddler during this gives him/her all the sensations and experiences from your walking that they may not be able to do on their own. Going from the kitchen to the toilet, turning into the doorway and sitting down gives a myriad of information to a baby, or toddler, in tow.
In addition to these wonderful benefits, positioning in a baby carrier can be extremely beneficial as well. As a Mom to two babies with reflux, holding them upright helped greatly with their reflux symptoms, especially right after eating. Experiencing the benefits that I’ve experienced and described above can be done through varying types of carriers, and the type of carrier(s) needed are dependent on a child’s needs and abilities. Unsure of the type of carrier you need? A great resource for trying carriers is your local babywearing library, babywearing store or baby retailer. If you need specific recommendations, consult a knowledgeable OT to find the best carrier to suit your needs. Unable to afford a carrier for your disabled child? A PT run organization Lift Me Up Babywearing provides carriers to families of disabled children who don’t already have one and meet certain criteria.
Disclosure; This is not a sponsored post. This post is not designed to replace medical advice or provide individual recommendations for your needs. Please consult your local babywearing OT for individual recommendations.