Parenthood brings with it a whole raft of challenges, not least in terms of protecting your own wellbeing when you have a tiny creature so completely dependent on you to meet their every need. There are some things you may feel you have to sacrifice in order to achieve this, but your mental health should not be one of them – in fact it is more important than ever that you look after yourself so that you can be the parent you want to be. That can be easier said than done, but by wearing your baby not only are you giving them the closeness they yearn for, you are also boosting your own wellbeing along the way.
Here are just some of the ways in which wearing your baby can have a positive impact on your mental health:
1) It helps deepen the bond between you and your baby
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.
2) It encourages a release of ‘happy hormones’
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!
3) It makes it easier to get out and about
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 autumn sunshine whilst you’re there.
4) It makes it easier to get some exercise
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!
5) It can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
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.
6) It helps you to communicate with your baby more easily
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 your baby develop communication skills right from the early stages.
7) It can be a great way of meeting people
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.
Whether you are a parent of a newborn or a preschooler, Integra Baby has a carrier for you. Here’s to many happy days spent wearing our babies!