Skin-to-skin contact increases oxytocin, sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the hormone responsible for bonding. Babies who are carried have higher levels of oxytocin and are found to be more content, less fussy, settle quicker and sleep more deeply. Their digestion is generally better and this is believed to greatly ease the symptoms of colic and reflux.
Babies cry less
Did you know that In cultures where mothers traditionally carry their babies on their bodies, babies cry up to 51% less of the time and post-natal depression is an unknown concept. Having your baby so close allows you to become quickly attuned to her signals. A sling creates a cozy, snug environment where the baby can hear your heartbeat and it is reassuring and calming for them as it mimics being in the womb.
Better and faster development
When babies are relaxed, their biological systems are not stressed. This means that their heart and breathing rates are optimal, their digestive system works at its best, and their temperature is suitably regulated. Research has shown that babies develop best, both emotionally and mentally when they feel secure and relaxed at this early time in their lives.
The physical and psychological benefits associated with baby-wearing encourage children to feel secure and content and build a solid sense of self-esteem. Babies, who are in a sling are in a state of “quiet alertness”, which is optimal for learning. They are at the right height to see and hear everything that you are doing, and they can interact easily. It is an ideal, comfy and safe spot from which to learn, view the world, hear you talking, and see all the things that you do.
Less separation anxiety
Babies who are carried are less clingy and tend to initiate separation much earlier than babies less frequently held. It allows your child to be AT the centre of activity, not be THE center of attention, which is a wonderful environment proven to stimulate brain development and cognitive learning.
Baby wearing increases the mother’s ability to breastfeed, just like co-sleeping increases it, simply because of proximity. When you’ve got a hungry little fellow within striking distance of the “bottle” at all times, it’s hard not to do it more often. You all know how important breastmilk is to a baby. Babywearing streamlines the logistics of breastfeeding, oftentimes allowing the mother to nurse hands-free.
Babywearing promotes exclusive breastfeeding. One randomized controlled trial found that early skin-to-skin contact “significantly enhanced the success of first breastfeed and continuation of exclusive breastfeeding.”
Not breastfeeding? Having your baby attached to you, rather than laid out on a mat somewhere, allows you to bottle feed and still reap the benefits of being physically close to your child. The composition of the breastmilk is a huge benefit to breastfeeding, but the mutual touch is equally important.