International Babywearing Week (IBW) is an annual event sponsored by Babywearing International. It is a week-long opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate for, and focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing.
So, what is babywearing?
“Babywearing” simply means holding or carrying a baby or child using a baby carrier. Holding your baby is natural and universal; baby carriers can make it easier and more comfortable. For more information on different carrier styles and types, visit your local babywearing group or read BWI’s “Choosing a Baby Carrier.”
There are many benefits to babywearing for both a caregiver and child. Here are the top ten!
With a baby carrier, a caregiver can feed on the go with ease. This applies to nursing, bottle feeding, tube feeding, and many other feeding relationships. Pictured below: Amber and Marilyn-Mae babywearing for naptime,Tiffany and Roslyn wearing and tube feeding while in the ICU, and Alexa wearing Alaina (22m), who's snacking at Sam's Club. Babywearing helps her shop with ease, especially with a preschooler in tow!
Use a free hand to get things done! Take care of another child or, very overlooked and extremely important, take care of yourself.
Carrying a heavy car seat can lead to back pain. Carrying baby securely attached to your body in a carrier keeps your center of gravity intact and your spine straight. Carrying your baby in an upright position can also improve the core muscles and posture for both baby and caregiver. (1)
Babies worn in a carrier attached to mother are able to listen to her heartbeat, breathing pattern, and feel her movements. This activity helps him to regulate his own physical response. Worn babies have an easier time regulating their body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. (2)
Research has shown that premature infants who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. (3) Learn more about "Kangaroo Care" here.
Emotional needs are also met: caregivers who babywear have an easier time bonding with baby, reading baby’s cues, and responding to baby’s needs. In a study, babies who were worn for up to three hours per day saw a 43% reduction in crying with a 54% reduction during the evening hours. (4)
Caregivers who wear are less likely to develop postpartum depression as their confidence grows and they are more easily able to notice their babies’ cues and meet their babies’ needs. (4)
Go where no stroller has gone before. Do not be afraid of stairs, hills, beaches, hiking, and even ArtPrize. Cruise through the crowds with your baby easily in view.
30-40 minutes upright in a carrier after a feeding can help reduce the discomfort and symptoms of reflux. (1)
Baby will see what you see, hear what you hear, and experience what you do. They learn about speech, conversation, and the world around them.
Want to learn more?
Babywearing International of Grand Rapids is a non-profit, volunteer driven organization that hosts three monthly meetings. Meeting are always free and open to anyone wishing to wear. Educators can help you troubleshoot any carriers you already own or help you to try any of the many carriers available in our library.
Already a pro? Our group is not just for new, but also experienced wearers. We are an inclusive community and foster friendships between like-minded caregivers. Whatever your parenting style, we are happy to support you.
Join our Facebook page and head to our website to learn more about Sustaining Members.
If you would like to support our dedication to spread the ancient practice of babywearing, please visit our website and consider making a tax-deductible donation.
(1) "Benefits of Baby Wearing in a Sling Baby Carrier." Close Parent. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
(2) “Current knowledge about skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care for pre-term infants”. J Perinatol. 1991 Sep;11(3):216-26.
(3) Tessier R, M Cristo, S Velez, M Giron, JG Ruiz-Palaez, Y Charpak and N Charpak. (1998) Kangaroo mother care and the bonding hypothesis. Pediatrics 102:e17.
(4) Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648