Baby wearing may seem fairly new and trendy, but the reason it is so crucial is because baby wearing dates back to our earliest human roots.
Once, baby wearing was a matter of basic safety. Life was dangerous and a child could be protected more easily when carried. Babies weren’t the least bit safe if they weren’t attached to an adult. See, for thousands of years in every different culture, people have been wearing their babies. Given that this is how babies developed since prehistoric times, it should make sense that the sliver of time that brought us modern conveniences like cribs and carseats has not changed the physiological make-up of our babies much.
A Physiological Need
It’s safe to argue that the reason so many mothers feel a strong urge to carry our babies is because it was once a biological necessity. Since it was such a part of how we developed as a species, we see that even though our modern conveniences abound, a baby still has a physiological need to be held… a lot. See, there is a natural rhythm of adult human movement that is inherently human that no baby swing, bouncer or stroller can replicate. This movement is something infant humans have evolved in accordance with. This motion provides the perfect stimulation for an infant’s vestibular system. The vestibular system is an area of the brain that impacts an infant in many ways:
- Maintaining balance in relation to the workings of the inner ear.
- Helping babies locate where they are in relation to other people and objects.
- Housing neurological connections that play important roles in posture, coordination, and vision.
- An under-stimulated vestibular system can result in panic attacks and anxiety, problems with balance, abnormalities in muscle tone, constipation, and teeth grinding.
Mirroring the Adult System
Baby wearing allows an infant to mirror the mother’s mature nervous system. Baby wearing works to regulate the baby’s immature nervous system. Baby wearing lowers the levels of stress hormones and adrenalin circulating in the infant’s blood stream. A baby’s heartbeat, breathing and body temperature also regulate themselves to mirror the more mature functioning of a healthy adult. This establishes healthy patterns at a crucial developmental stage when the child is most vulnerable. The baby doesn’t just feel better emotionally when held, the baby feels better physiologically as well.
Spoiling the Child
People often suggest that wearing a baby will “spoil” the child somehow. History and studies have consistently shown that baby wearing allows the child to be at the center of activity rather than being the center of attention. In a way, it prevents “spoiling.” When parents wear a baby, the baby tags along into the adult’s world and learns that the world doesn’t stop for or revolve around him. Baby wearing also fosters a healthy atmosphere for the development of empathy, understanding, learning, affection and a healthy sense of self.
I’m very pleased that Everything Birth proudly offers the Moby Wrap as a carrier of choice. It has been my favorite carrier since the first day I used one. I made this video to help you feel less intimidated by this wonderful wrap-style baby carrier:
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