At the recent Australian Babywearing Conference the Key note speaker Arie Brentnall-Compton, (Canadian Babywearing School and Vice chair on the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance) gave me plenty to think about. One thing which came through loud and clear is that ‘babies are born and expect to be carried’. Arie also said that mother and baby are like a 'Diode' which is a 2 terminal device and can not work without each other. That’s why Babies are born with the reflexes in their hands and feet to hold on.
Babywearing doesn't necessarily have benefits however it has effects. For example breastfeeding through skin-to-skin contact helps the hormones and pheromones (Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting outside the body of the secreting individual to impact the behaviour of the receiving individual) to work properly to assist with the production of breast milk and the practice of breastfeeding.
To demonstrate the effects of babywearing, Arie talked us through a typical family day with a family uses a baby carrier. Wake up and feed baby, then place baby in baby carrier and mum can make herself and family a healthy breakfast which she needs after possibly being woken a couple of times in the evening. Now mum has energy. After a quick shower and getting dressed, mum places bub in carrier while she does her hair, make up or what ever mum needs to do to feel like a woman. Mum is now ready to face the day, attending to older children, can exercise easily with a baby carrier, chores or any other tasks she wishes can get accomplished.
In the evenings a baby is more likely to want to cry. The Witching hour, whatever you call it, there’s that time of the afternoon or evening when baby just cries for no apparent reason. Research has shown that babies that are carried will cry less (Hunziker UA, Garr RG. Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics 1986, 77:641-648). Crying babies can have a serious impact on family life.
By babywearing a parent can still prepare a meal for their family and allows the family to get on with life and live a little more how you want to.
Baby wearing can also help a Dad to become more securely attached with their baby and less likely to abuse baby or mother. This can only help to decrease rates of baby's that are excessively shaken in frustration.
Arie talked about advocacy for babywearing and how we need to make it seen as a 'normal' thing to do. That’s why change in opinion in the government and public health system is vital. How great would it be to see every baby carried out of the hospital instead of in a hard plastic car seat capsule?
As Arie put it, if all babies were carried, there would not be as many flat headed babies, there may be happier families, less attachment problems which lead to decrease postnatal depression, increased breastfeeding rates, reduction in reflux problems and happier babies.
A babywearing conference is the only conference I can think of that is full of babies and you can still hear the speaker. There were at least 30 babies in the room and I barely heard a cry as they all were close and being carried by their mothers or fathers.
A baby being carried is important and we need a government campaign that informs new mothers that babywearing is safe as long as babies are 'Visible and Kissable', and airways are clear. Babies are safer in a carrier so wrap, strap or sling your babies on and make it a 'Living Practice' for your family.
Arie was wonderful to listen to and reminded me why I originally started Bubcarrier; that due to my instinctual yearning to carry my baby, I just couldn't seem to find the right information and assistance to do so successfully at the beginning of my babywearing journey. This is how Bubcarrier originated, as I wanted to provide an informative site that sold good quality carriers.
Bubcarrier continues to strive to 'Keep you and bubs close and comfy', and we will continue to advocate babywearing by helping families find a baby carrier, sling or wrap that is right for them. Having carried my own 3 children for over 6 years, completing Stage 1 –of the Babywearing Consultancy Course with the German Babywearing School and my research at the Babywearing Conference, I am now offering babywearing consultancy appointments for those mums who need a little guidance or are struggling to feel comfortable while carrying their babies. For more information please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.