It is fascinating to see a child transformed when their parent starts carrying them. They are content, happy, with a little air of their face of "This is where I’m supposed to be". Seeing this little contented smile is the only reason we need to continue carrying our daughter but there are so many other reasons:
Research has shown that babies carried 1 or 2 hours a day cry 43% less overall and 54% less in the evening hours. Carrying the child upright and massaging their tummy against yours can make all the difference for a windy or colicky baby. Even if carrying does not reduce the crying (e.g. if they are in pain), it does provide the emotional comfort of your closeness.
The fabric supports the baby’s spine and neck. This is so important for younger babies who need to be held in a curled position. Their legs are held in a frog-like position which tends to help them sit up and stand up earlier. The breathable fabric stops the baby and the parent getting too hot.
The outside world is a lot less frightening when you’re nested in your parent’s arms, and at their height than left on your own, at the exhaust pipe level. When you can hear your parent’s voice, their heartbeat, their scent, when the walking movement reminds you of the womb … you know you’re safe and you can be curious and check out all the loud noises that surround you – the car honking, the bus driving by, the police car’s siren, the dog barking, the older children playing…
Research has shown that babies carried spend more time in that “quiet, alert” state, the quiet moment when they have their eyes wide open and observe the world around them. This is the optimum state for learning.
Babies also develop a very strong bond with the person carrying them. So it’s a fantastic way for parents who can’t spend as much time as they would want to catch up on quality time with their baby. It’s ideal if you normally walk to nursery to give the baby a few more minutes of cuddling (or even breastfeeding).
Research has recently shown that babies whose parents understand and respond to their needs quickly develop better. Keeping your baby close in a sling makes this a lot easier.
Babies carried a lot tend to be more independent and self-confident. Probably because they’ve build all these memories of closeness to you, they can “draw” on these memories when you’re not around.
The weight of the child is evenly distributed between both shoulders and hips. The baby is safely secured so you have both hands free.
Carrying your baby while doing the dishes is not just “doing the dishes”: it’s showing your baby HOW we do the dishes. Same for going to the supermarket, playing with older siblings… Instead of making the baby the centre of attention, carrying them places them at the centre of the activity, the ideal place for learning.
You can breastfeed discreetly anywhere, anytime. Your hands are free to take care of other children or do other activities. Getting on and off public transport is easy, you will probably even be offered a seat! The wrap is easy to roll or fold away when you don’t need it; it is easy to wash and dries quickly.
Especially if they are taking care of young babies or high-need children. The child can be given the attention it needs without affecting the other children.