The need to be touched is one of the most basic human needs. It is the first sense we develop in the womb and it is the last sense to leave us when we die. When we are first born, we are hardwired to respond to touch, warmth, and affection since they are necessary for our survival.
Although parenting philosophies have changed over the years, children still have a basic need to be held and loved. Recent studies have shown that consistent touch and emotional engagement between infant and caregiver is essential for infant neural development and growth. Babywearing can help facilitate this growth and is especially helpful during the “fourth trimester” when babies are still adjusting to their new surroundings and require the closeness and warmth of their caregiver’s arms to feel safe and reassured. Studies have shown that babies who are worn cry less and that mothers who wear their babies tend to be more relaxed and feel more competent in their caregiving. It simply feels good for both baby and parent when a baby is snuggled up close in a wrap.
As your baby grows, she will be able to observe and take in her environment all while being close to you. If she becomes over stimulated or tired, she can simply snuggle down into your back or chest and retreat from the stimulus of a busy and loud world, or check up to see your face for essential cues on how to respond to an unfamiliar situation. Babywearing allows for more mobility and flexibility as a parent. It frees up your hands so that you can take care of your other children, run errands, or simply go on an afternoon amble on a gentle mountain trail, something which cannot be done with a stroller in tow.
Babywearing is a centuries-old practice. Our contemporary, fast-paced world is not overly friendly to the practicing of old arts and traditions, but there is nothing more pleasing than savoring the feel of a deep, lush fabric in your hands as you glide the passes under and around your little one’s body; there is nothing more heady than feeling the hot breath of your little one against the nape of your neck; nothing as sweet as feeling him rest his cheek against your shoulder as he drifts off to sleep. Babywearing is what allows us to relish these all too fleeting moments before they disappear into our memories.