|Posted on November 2, 2012 at 12:40 AM|
Babywearing– makes 5 sense
Babywearing is often advertised as aconvenient, hands free help in raising children. As true as it is,there is much more to be said about the symbiotic relationship thatforms when holding baby close throughout the day and night.
When I became pregnant for the firsttime about 14 years ago there was no question about wearing ourdaughter, it was a given. I had worn babies for twenty years before,babysitting for family and friends in Germany and I had seen how calmworn babies are. I did not know all the details of babywearing, itjust seemed natural to want to be close to my baby. My husband becamethe first US dealer and distributor of German woven wraps afterseeing how our baby and I enjoyed being close. Meanwhile I realizedthrough experience in wearing our seven children and research justhow wonderful babywearing is on so many levels.
Stephan Mayer, Ph.D. in Passau, Germanysaid: “A small child cannot think clearly, however he can, frombirth and most likely even long before, feel clearly and correctly.….If parents are not directly present it signals to a small child acomplete abandonment without end. Abandonment without end is lifethreatening, he cannot feed himself or defend against threats. Thedeathly fear is a valid emotion, a real and correct emotion.”
Babies have ways to communicate theirfears and distress if we are in tune. Their emotions are real andcorrect and being present for our babies is the baby's way of knowingeverything is in balance.
All sensory systems of a baby arefunctioning at 18 weeks gestation. A baby can see, feel, smell, hearand taste before birth. After birth baby is learning to filter outunimportant noises, which baby can learn best when all senses areinvolved in feeling safe and secure. All five senses help babywearerand baby to bond.
The human eye is an amazing organ.Pages can be written about the precise way an eye works and how thebrain interprets the pictures sent by the eye. One of the mostsignificant findings of Howard A. Moss and Kenneth S. Robson MD isthat the frequency of eye contact between mother and baby can determine the social aptness of a baby down the road. Studies havealso shown that a baby will make eye contact when needing help orneeding reassurance. Looking into each others eyes also helps babycalm down and bond and mother to experience a change in mood. It cantake a baby from being upset to smiling and a mother from beingfrustrated to smiling and the bond is established again. A childbeing worn becomes very attune at communicating through non-verbalcommunication with the mother or father.
I often half joke with expecting parents wanting to wear their babies that babywearing is addictive.Once you experience holding a newborn close, you want to experienceit again and again. There is something about the feel, smell andgrunts of a newborn that speak to your emotions and cannot completelybe rationally explained.
A baby really tastes yummy. My familyof origin is a baby kissing tribe. Cuddling and kissing a baby is thenorm and has never been questioned. A worn baby invites being kissedfrequently. In studying philematology (science of kissing), it wasdiscovered that by kissing, your own and baby's pheromones getswapped. Pheromones are essentially airborne messages that areexcreted externally and generate a social response from the other inthe same species. Pheromones are widely recognized as a mediatorpromoting survival of each species. In the mother-baby bond it isinstrumental in signaling they belong to each other. By kissing ourbabies we attract baby to us and baby attracts us to them. Ourattachment to our babies goes more than skin deep.
Have you experienced the grunts and squeals of a newborn? Then youknow how it lifts our mood to hear our little ones verballycommunicate with us. Hearing them is not only hearing them cry, aworn baby cries very little if at all, hearing is responding to babyand bonding while we communicate. Baby's sounds are differentdepending on the mood and energy level. Mother's tone of voice andspeed will change according to baby's needs. Observation ofmother-baby pairs found if baby is tired, mother's language will beslower and more drawn out along with using a lower pitch. The childlearns that expression in the tone variations express emotions.Communicating with baby helps baby feel understood. Seeing baby'sresponse helps mother feel good about her ability to understand babyand the bond between them is strengthened through verbalcommunication. The Swiss midwife Silvia von Bueren, who studiedparent-child communication for two decades, urges parents to slowdown. She said; “not until parents slow down and find a way to readtheir children do parents dip into their intuitive intrinsicknowledge of bonding with their child.” Hearing our babies whenbaby is worn helps us slow down and really “hear” baby,especially when hearing is combined with eye contact. Hearing my babytalk also encourages me to talk more, which in turn stimulates baby'sneural dendrites and circuits in the brain and causes the lefthemisphere's language centers to grow. Baby is stimulatedintellectually and emotionally. Listening to my baby I know by thetone of his voice, the intensity of his voice, the fluctuation of hisvoice and the sounds what his exact needs are even before he can saya word. Babywearing encourages the verbal interaction between babyand babywearer and supports a strong bonding experience because weare more in tune when meeting baby's needs.
Consciously knowing about different smells or not, olfactory playsa roll in infant-parent bonding. The nose has about 10 million smellreceptors. No two people smell the same. Odor is determined by ourgenes, skin type, our diet, mood, health, and even the weather. Ababy recognizes mother's smell immediately after birth. A baby knowsmother and father by their smells. Sandra Deissman, RN, Germany, whostudied mother-baby bonding through smell explains how the nipplesand chest area smell about the same as the amniotic fluid in mother'swomb. “Through smelling each other a strong mother-baby bondstarts to develop.” Interestingly we can smell our baby's moods.Wearing baby upright chest to chest is proven to be best. Havingbaby close to your senses helps you determine quickly what baby'sneeds are. If baby is in distress, you can smell it. I can smellwhen baby is getting a cold. With our first daughter I alreadynoticed how I disliked her smell whenever someone else held her andhow it took me a while to establish “our” smell again where wefelt balanced and well. I can certainly relate to other mammals thatway. Babywearing allows me to smell my sweet baby and keeps babysecurely close to eliminate other people's odor on my baby, keepingus in a balanced state. It also helps me smell any kind of distressand allows me to act quickly. Smelling baby is a way for ouremotions to know all is well. Babywearing supports baby and mothersto be in a balanced state by being cuddled up close and embraced byeach others smells.
Books have been written on the importance of touch, feeling eachother close and how it affects bonding with each other. Touch is theearliest sense to develop in the fetus and skin is the largest areato be stimulated through the senses. About 16% of our body is skinwith appropriately 5 Million nerve endings, the largest organ in ourbody. Humans usually enjoy touch. Babies thrive when being touched,using their energy to grow and learn instead of being in a stressedlonely emotional state. Being touched sends a message to the brainwhich in turn produces more dopamine and endorphins, which are feelgood hormones. Baby is balanced and feels good. Babywearing assistsin the stimulation of the skin, constantly sending loving messages tothe brain. Being physically close has been shown to help babiesdigest their food better and cry less. Touch is essential for baby tofeel secure and safe. By two years of age, the child's brain is about80% of the adult size. Babywearing, especially if done for severalyears will help baby be in an emotionally balanced place.
Studies have shown that attachedchildren are more self confident as preschoolers already and asuniversity students show a higher self worth than their peers.
Babywearing is a natural way to bond asit uses all our senses to “read” our baby and respond in a waythat baby understands and can communicate with from the moment theyare born.
Bonding with our seven children throughbabywearing has been a sacred experience for us. Just the thought ofour children close brings back feelings of love and tenderness. Iknow I can look back over the years of raising and babywearingchildren and know I maximized my time with our children and I willbask in the endorphins and dopamine that flood my brain and bodywhile walking smiling down memory lane.
Using all our senses to the fullest in bonding with our babiesmakes sense.
BabysSprache verstehen. Www.Familie.de
Deissman,Sandra R.N. “Durch die Nase lieben Lernen - Facharbeit”
Diamond,Marian Ph.D. And Janet Hopson. “MagicTrees of the Mind”
Renz-Polster, Herbert, M.D., “Kinderverstehen. Born to be wild-wie die Evolution unsere Kinder praegt(Koesel Verlag 2009); “