The Benefits of Babywearing and Your Nanny
By Dr. Lindsay Heller, The Nanny Doctor
As a mother, you may have thought about babywearing. Some of you may be thinking
baby what? Let’s start with defining babywearing. The term “babywearing” means carrying
a baby using some sort of sling or other sort of baby carrier. Using a baby carrier
can make it easier and more comfortable for parents and other caregivers to hold
their baby while managing all of the other tasks of parenthood. It has also been
shown that when using a sling or carrier your baby cries less. Research has
shown that when a baby is in a carrier, they can be close to you, and as a result
feel safe, secure and happy.
If you or your nanny need help learning to use a new carrier or sling, first review
the instructions that came with it. Secondly, check the internet. These days you
can even check if YouTube has a helpful “how-to” video. If you still need help,
contact the store where you purchased the sling or carrier and see if they can give
you some in-person help. Sometimes local mom resource centers even have “sling clinics”
to teach you all about all of the different ways you may wear a baby carrier.
There are so many wonderful benefits to babywearing. By wearing your baby, or having
your nanny wear your baby, your baby is benefiting sensually on many levels. Your
baby will be soothed by your movements, voice, the sound of your heart beat, breathing and
constant touch, as well as being able to see what you see instead of being in a
stroller or crib staring up at the ceiling. Wearing your baby at this level can
also improve their ability to identify faces, gestures, expressions and other non-verbal
communication. Babies who are worn in a carrier or sling become attuned with you
or your nanny’s movement, which actually supports their nervous system. This attunement
helps your baby develop a secure attachment. This type of stimulation encourages
healthy attachment and regulation. The opposite is true in some ways as well. Baby
wearing can actually help you to identify your baby’s cues more easily, which actually
makes you a better parent and your nanny a better nanny! This is a practice that
affects both you and your baby on a chemical level.
It’s important to speak to your nanny about safety issues related to babywearing.
First of all, nannies and parents alike need to make sure that as they are moving
through doorways or around the house that the baby’s arms, legs and head are protected
and considered in small spaces. Additionally, one must always be aware of the baby’s
head positioning so that they can get enough air and breathe easily. When wearing
babies on your back, you must think about what they are able to reach that is behind
you, above you, or just out of your peripheral vision. Also, you always want to
make sure that your carrier is the proper carrier for the age of your infant and
is fitted properly. When a carrier is ill fitted, a child can simply wriggle
out. Despite these risks, babywearing, when done properly, can increase the level
of safety for your child by keeping a child close to you in busy public locations.