To celebrate International Babywearing Week we’re running a series of blog posts to take you though your changing babywearing journey. Keep checking back for the next stage, taking your carrying journey from birth to toddler!
Your Babywearing Journey – Babywearing with a newborn
Being born isn’t an easy process (it’s called ‘labour’ for a reason!), but our bodies have some really clever tricks up their sleeves to help make it all easier. It’s all about the hormones! More accurately, one of the most important players is the hormone Oxytocin. The Oxytocin system is triggered during normal childbirth and breastfeeding, and through skin-to-skin and close physical contact. Oxytocin has a wonderful calming effect on the brain; both parent and child will feel safer and more relaxed, blood pressure and other physiological stress-responses fall. The body and mind of both you and your baby learn to associate these positive feelings with being close to each other; the biological basis of this most fundamental and important relationship.
The positive effects of Oxytocin in your body are both wide-reaching (from regulating your baby’s temperature to promoting a successful breastfeeding relationship and reducing any symptoms of post-natal depression) and long-term (from helping with the formation of healthy relationships to life-long protective health benefits for breastfeeding mothers).
The way to tap into this biological miracle cure is simply to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby for a few hours a day. Babywearing is an obvious way to help facilitate prolonged skin-to-skin contact during the first months; using a soft wrap or sling is a very popular way to keep your baby close whilst allowing you to be mobile and hands-free to do other things, if you want to!
Check our blog on Choosing a Carrier to get some ideas about what might work for you and your new family.
Many people set out wanting to find ‘the best’ carrier or sling for their family. They may even have found one that suits their immediate needs perfectly, but then things change. A baby’s normal growth trajectory has it doubling in size in the first 6 months, tripling in size in a year, all whilst acquiring an enormous list of new physical and cognitive abilities too! So what works ‘best’ now will almost certainly not be ‘best’ at all stages and in all situations.
Start your baby wearing journey: Just hold your baby
From that first rush of Oxytocin as your baby is born, help ease yourselves through the transition into your new life together by getting as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. You can do this simply by holding your baby in your arms or relaxing with them on your chest (you’ll be grateful for the rest!), but you may want to have a sling or carrier ready to use from day 1 to help you to get your hands free.
The next four blog posts in this series will take you through the main stages of baby development and how this may affect your child’s carrying needs and preferences.
Transitioning to Being a Family
Stage 1: Arrival – The Fourth Trimester
Stage 2: Moving Forwards (and Sideways)
Stage 3: Getting Involved
Stage 4: Onwards and Upwards