Visit any park or mall and you will see them: parents with their babies strapped securely to their chests in a baby sling. Baby slings are chic and vogue today, so they almost seem like a new invention in the world of baby gear. However, baby slings are not a new invention. They have been used for centuries by women across the globe who needed to have their hands free while caring for their infants. Today’s baby slings simply offer a comfortable evolution of these older versions.
Benefits of Using a Sling for the Parent
Parents who use baby slings benefit from having their hands free while they care for their babies. This allows them to interact with their other children, shop, do certain types of housework, or even sit at the computer while holding their babies. They also benefit from developing a close, trusting relationship with their new babies.
Another benefit of baby slings for parents is the fact that today’s baby slings are easy on the back. Carrying your baby constantly on your hip or shoulder is very trying on the muscles of the back. When used properly, a baby sling distributes the baby’s weight more evenly, and even takes some of the weight in the fabric of the sling. This means you could carry your baby all day long without feeling muscle strain in your back. As a side benefit, new mothers’ backs get a break when using a baby sling because they are not constantly bending over to pick up their babies.
Breastfeeding mothers benefit from using a baby sling because they provide a way to nurse in public while remaining discrete. Also, holding a baby close to the skin helps the mother produce the hormones that lead to proper milk production.
Benefits of Using a Sling for Babies
Baby slings benefit the infant as much, if not more, than they benefit the mother. Today’s baby slings provide the proper support for a new baby’s neck and back. Unlike front and back carriers, a sling does not force the baby’s legs into an unnatural position, which is very important in the first few months.
Babies benefit from being held in a secure, cozy position that imitates the womb. This can help them transition much more peacefully from the world inside their mothers to the world outside. They also develop a positive bond with their parents or main caregivers, which help them develop emotionally. Babies who are worn in a sling cry much less often than other babies. They can sleep while close to mom, and once they are soundly sleeping mom can transition them easily into their crib for a good nap.
Parents of fussy babies find that a baby sling helps them calm their crying child. When a child is carried in a baby sling, he is constantly moving, much as he was in the womb. This, accompanied by the secure, close hold that is created with a baby sling, allows the baby to calm himself and often fall asleep. Babies who need to be held frequently due to gas or colic can be held without completely limiting the mother’s ability to function as a member of the family.
Some parents may wonder if carrying their baby in a sling will make them too attached. This does not happen. Surprisingly, toddlers who were worn in baby slings as babies are usually much more comfortable separating from their parents when they need to do so. Experts believe this is because of the many emotional benefits of using baby slings.
If you’re a new parent, a baby sling should be on your list of necessary baby gear. Most slings are relatively inexpensive, the benefits are many, and the bonding it provides is a great way to show your affection to your baby.