BabyWearing Institute

Babywearing Basics

 

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Most parents interested in babywearing are familiar with the positive aspects of babywearing. Because we are a school providing the best information on babywearing we can find world wide, we are going to add a few aspects that might not be so well known. We do have a list of aspects for baby and the babywearer as part of our curriculum. We hope you'll take the opportunity to join us in class and learn all the research, tying ways, and aspects of babywearing along with lots of other relevant information. Our babywearing education is currently the best,  most detailed babywearing education offered around the globe.

2/3 of the world's population wear their babies. This is the norm around the globe. The Western world is an exception, but luckily for children and parents alike and for a better future, babywearing is being re-discovered. 

Until 1970 there were only two categories of progeny, the altricial animal (staying in the nest) and the precocial animal (leaving the place of birth immediately).  Bernhard Hassenstein, a biologist and behaviorist, seeing a need to introduce a term describing a set of young not able to immediately leave the nest but also not able to be left in the nest, coined the new word, parent clinger (Tragling). This describes all offspring not able to function without a caretaker and in need of being in close body contact with their caretaker, usually the mother. The newborn human fits into the category of "parent clinger." The newborn is not able to function immediately after birth nor does the baby feel safe to stay alone in a "nest." Because humans have been migratory for thousands of years, being left alone without body contact, signals to a baby she is being left behind the tribe and in danger of being attacked by predators. The baby will signal, the only way a baby can, by crying to be restored to her feeling of right, being part of the community by being held close to another body. You can feel the reflexes of a baby's hands and legs being straddled around you whenever you turn suddenly. Baby will hold on with her hands and tighten her legs. Baby is active when being worn - hence the need to have baby's legs outside the carrier. 

For a baby being close to the persons they know best, mother and father usually, this means

Psychologically

  • Feeling of being loved and good (no anxiety of being deserted)
  • Feeling of being secure because all needs are met immediately
  • The child does not feel anxiety or stress when approached by strangers
  • A worn child is usually more respected
  • Being able to trust
  • Experiencing a gentle way that will later turn into a gentle adult
  • Baby learns to be active in life
  • Baby is part of a family system, not center of attention
  • Human energy exchange
  • Enjoys exploring in safe environment (quiet alertness state)

 Physically

  • The neural system is stimulated
  • The equilibrium sense is stimulated
  • All senses are trained
  • The metabolism is stimulated
  • The digestive system is stimulated
  • The brain is stimulated
  • Breathing is more regular (no stress)
  • The Spine is supported in every developing stage
  • The hip joint is supported in its correct position
  • Due to shifting the muscles are wonderfully stimulated

 

 For a mother or father babywearing means:

Psychologically

  • Calmer parents
  • More confident as parent
  • Happier due to the release of the hormone oxytosin
  • Therapeutic for those not having had this closeness as baby's themselves
  • getting to know every curve, facial expression, and smell of your baby helps us feel the oneness

 

Physically 

  • More time to get things done
  • Both hands free
  • No need to slow down an active life but lots of room to enjoy the outdoors with the family
  • Shopping made easy
  • Hands for siblings

 

 

 Come and explore all aspects of babywearing as part of our babywearing education in becoming a certified babywearing educator.

Find more reasons to wear your baby.

 

Babywearing – makes 5 sense


Babywearing is often advertised as a convenient, hands free help in raising children. As true as it is, there is much more to be said about the symbiotic relationship that forms when holding baby close throughout the day and night.


When I became pregnant for the first time about 14 years ago there was no question about wearing our daughter, it was a given. I had worn babies for twenty years before, babysitting for family and friends in Germany and I had seen how calm worn babies are. I did not know all the details of babywearing, it just seemed natural to want to be close to my baby. My husband became the first US dealer and distributor of German woven wraps after seeing how our baby and I enjoyed being close. Meanwhile I realized through experience in wearing our seven children and research just how wonderful babywearing is on so many levels.


Stephan Mayer, Ph.D. in Passau, Germany said: “A small child cannot think clearly, however he can, from birth and most likely even long before, feel clearly and correctly. ….If parents are not directly present it signals to a small child a complete abandonment without end. Abandonment without end is life threatening, he cannot feed himself or defend against threats. The deathly fear is a valid emotion, a real and correct emotion.”


Babies have ways to communicate their fears and distress if we are in tune. Their emotions are real and correct and being present for our babies is the baby's way of knowing everything is in balance.


All sensory systems of a baby are functioning at 18 weeks gestation. A baby can see, feel, smell, hear and taste before birth. After birth baby is learning to filter out unimportant noises, which baby can learn best when all senses are involved in feeling safe and secure. All five senses help babywearer and baby to bond.


The human eye is an amazing organ. Pages can be written about the precise way an eye works and how the brain interprets the pictures sent by the eye. One of the most significant findings of Howard A. Moss and Kenneth S. Robson MD is that the frequency of eye contact between mother and baby can determine the social aptness of a baby down the road. Studies have also shown that a baby will make eye contact when needing help or needing reassurance. Looking into each others eyes also helps baby calm down and bond and mother to experience a change in mood. It can take a baby from being upset to smiling and a mother from being frustrated to smiling and the bond is established again. A child being worn becomes very attune at communicating through non-verbal communication 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 experience it again and again. There is something about the feel, smell and grunts of a newborn that speak to your emotions and cannot completely be rationally explained.


A baby really tastes yummy. My family of origin is a baby kissing tribe. Cuddling and kissing a baby is the norm and has never been questioned. A worn baby invites being kissed frequently. In studying philematology (science of kissing), it was discovered that by kissing, your own and baby's pheromones get swapped. Pheromones are essentially airborne messages that are excreted externally and generate a social response from the other in the same species. Pheromones are widely recognized as a mediator promoting survival of each species. In the mother-baby bond it is instrumental in signaling they belong to each other. By kissing our babies we attract baby to us and baby attracts us to them. Our attachment to our babies goes more than skin deep.


Have you experienced the grunts and squeals of a newborn? Then you know how it lifts our mood to hear our little ones verbally communicate with us. Hearing them is not only hearing them cry, a worn baby cries very little if at all, hearing is responding to baby and bonding while we communicate. Baby's sounds are different depending on the mood and energy level. Mother's tone of voice and speed will change according to baby's needs. Observation of mother-baby pairs found if baby is tired, mother's language will be slower and more drawn out along with using a lower pitch. The child learns that expression in the tone variations express emotions. Communicating with baby helps baby feel understood. Seeing baby's response helps mother feel good about her ability to understand baby and the bond between them is strengthened through verbal communication. The Swiss midwife Silvia von Bueren, who studied parent-child communication for two decades, urges parents to slow down. She said; “not until parents slow down and find a way to read their children do parents dip into their intuitive intrinsic knowledge of bonding with their child.” Hearing our babies when baby is worn helps us slow down and really “hear” baby, especially when hearing is combined with eye contact. Hearing my baby talk also encourages me to talk more, which in turn stimulates baby's neural dendrites and circuits in the brain and causes the left hemisphere's language centers to grow. Baby is stimulated intellectually and emotionally. Listening to my baby I know by the tone of his voice, the intensity of his voice, the fluctuation of his voice and the sounds what his exact needs are even before he can say a word. Babywearing encourages the verbal interaction between baby and babywearer and supports a strong bonding experience because we are more in tune when meeting baby's needs.



Consciously knowing about different smells or not, olfactory plays a roll in infant-parent bonding. The nose has about 10 million smell receptors. No two people smell the same. Odor is determined by our genes, skin type, our diet, mood, health, and even the weather. A baby recognizes mother's smell immediately after birth. A baby knows mother and father by their smells. Sandra Deissman, RN, Germany, who studied mother-baby bonding through smell explains how the nipples and chest area smell about the same as the amniotic fluid in mother's womb. “Through smelling each other a strong mother-baby bond starts to develop.” Interestingly we can smell our baby's moods. Wearing baby upright chest to chest is proven to be best. Having baby close to your senses helps you determine quickly what baby's needs are. If baby is in distress, you can smell it. I can smell when baby is getting a cold. With our first daughter I already noticed how I disliked her smell whenever someone else held her and how it took me a while to establish “our” smell again where we felt balanced and well. I can certainly relate to other mammals that way. Babywearing allows me to smell my sweet baby and keeps baby securely close to eliminate other people's odor on my baby, keeping us in a balanced state. It also helps me smell any kind of distress and allows me to act quickly. Smelling baby is a way for our emotions to know all is well. Babywearing supports baby and mothers to be in a balanced state by being cuddled up close and embraced by each others smells.



Books have been written on the importance of touch, feeling each other close and how it affects bonding with each other. Touch is the earliest sense to develop in the fetus and skin is the largest area to be stimulated through the senses. About 16% of our body is skin with appropriately 5 Million nerve endings, the largest organ in our body. Humans usually enjoy touch. Babies thrive when being touched, using their energy to grow and learn instead of being in a stressed lonely emotional state. Being touched sends a message to the brain which in turn produces more dopamine and endorphins, which are feel good hormones. Baby is balanced and feels good. Babywearing assists in the stimulation of the skin, constantly sending loving messages to the brain. Being physically close has been shown to help babies digest their food better and cry less. Touch is essential for baby to feel secure and safe. By two years of age, the child's brain is about 80% of the adult size. Babywearing, especially if done for several years will help baby be in an emotionally balanced place.

Studies have shown that attached children are more self confident as preschoolers already and as university students show a higher self worth than their peers.


Babywearing is a natural way to bond as it uses all our senses to “read” our baby and respond in a way that baby understands and can communicate with from the moment they are born.


Bonding with our seven children through babywearing has been a sacred experience for us. Just the thought of our children close brings back feelings of love and tenderness. I know I can look back over the years of raising and babywearing children and know I maximized my time with our children and I will bask in the endorphins and dopamine that flood my brain and body while walking smiling down memory lane.



Using all our senses to the fullest in bonding with our babies makes sense.


Sources


Babys Sprache verstehen. Www.Familie.de


Deissman, Sandra R.N. “ Durch die Nase lieben Lernen - Facharbeit”

Diamond, Marian Ph.D. And Janet Hopson. “Magic Trees of the Mind”


Renz-Polster, Herbert, M.D., “Kinder verstehen. Born to be wild-wie die Evolution unsere Kinder praegt (Koesel Verlag 2009); “


Textor R. Martin “Kindergartenpaedagogik”