There are lots of reasons to feel cheerful about the coming of Spring – lighter evenings, the feel of the warm sun on your face, being able to make the most of the great outdoors without having to put on quite so many layers. So it seems very apt that the International Day of Happiness is celebrated on the first day of Spring – which just so happens to be today!
This year’s International Day of Happiness theme is Share Happiness. And as a parent of a small child babywearing is one of the very best tools to help you find that happy place in the midst of the chaos.
There are many ways in which wearing your baby promotes happiness and wellbeing, but here are just a few:
According to a report commissioned by the Royal College of Midwives, nearly 60% of women reported feeling down or depressed after giving birth. The closeness and attachment afforded by babywearing can go a long way to easing this as you build a bond with your baby, and is one of the reasons why the RCM recommends soft baby carriers as one way of improving maternal mental health.
One of the reasons why babywearing promotes bonding is that the physical closeness increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, with positive effects for both wearer and baby. As well as causing feelings of joy and happiness, oxytocin has a positive impact on digestion, breathing and the nervous system – so it actually helps your baby grow and develop!
It is not always easy to get out of the house with a baby in tow – and can be harder still to navigate narrow pavements or off road walks if you’re having to negotiate them with a buggy. Babywearing can be invaluable for giving you the freedom to go where you want to go, and to reap all the benefits of fresh air and Spring sunshine whilst you’re there.
As well as the benefits of getting out into the fresh air, don’t forget about the boost to your fitness that walking brings, especially when you’re wearing your baby. You could also check out if you have a Sling Swing class nearby – a dance class designed for babywearing!
All of the reasons above might have an impact on this, but there are very practical reasons why babywearing might help reduce anxiety. It can be difficult, especially in the early days of caring for a baby, to find the time to do any of the household tasks that need doing – let alone to find time for yourself! With your baby held safe and close in the Integra, though, you may find that you are free to do all sorts of things that otherwise you might struggle with.
With your baby held close and up at your level it can be much easier to be responsive to their needs, and as time progresses you will come to recognise their signals much more quickly than you otherwise might have done. Recognising those signals and being able to act on them quickly reduces stress for both of you – and there is lots of evidence that babywearing helps literacy development right from the early stages.
One of the added bonuses of babywearing is that it comes with its own ready made community of likeminded parents! Whether online or locally through sling libraries or sling meets you may find that wearing your baby opens up connections with a whole network of people to support you in your parenting journey – something else that has been found time and time again to have a positive impact on wellbeing.