Parenting can be so tough. Sometimes, or often, baby wants to be held all freaking day! It can become too much.
I want to tell you that you are doing a great job. Responding to your child's natural, biological needs is ingrained into us as parents and carers. We don't like to hear our babies cry, we don't like to see them distressed, and we generally don't want to be detached from them.
This RU OK Day, I wanted to share some information regarding the mental health benefits of babywearing for both the parent/carer and the child.
Babywearing increases oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. Oxytocin helps us to bond, it helps us to feel good and it also helps with breastfeeding (if you possess functional breasts and you want to utilise them, of course).
Oxytocin doesn't only affect (or benefit) women and babies, either. Men also experience an increase in their personal oxytocin levels in the early postpartum months, and this is increased significantly by men who actively participate in a babywearing journey, particularly with skin-to-skin contact.
When we are feeling down, anxious or stressed, we often look to our nearest and dearest for a cuddle. Physical touch, familiar smells, warmth and gazing into someone's eyes can calm our minds and heart rate very quickly.
Babywearing does not have to be restricted to parents only. It offers grandparents, siblings, extended family, friends, postnatal doulas and babysitters a tool to keep baby close and comforted whilst their primary carer attends to their own needs. Whether that means a restorative nap, a gym workout or a medical appointment, you know that your baby remains safely snuggled close to someone's heartbeat.
Speaking of heartbeats... Babywearing helps with regulation of body functions. If a parent has a fast, stressed heart rate, high temperature, fast breathing rate or increased emotional stress, wearing a calm and happy baby in a carrier can help to settle them down. Likewise, a distressed or unwell child will benefit from being worn by a physically healthy carer.
While we are talking about physical health benefiting mental health, babywearing offers so many options to get out and get moving with your little person/s. Stairs, nature hikes and the beach are no match for a pram, but with a baby carrier you can ground yourself in nature and get those exercise endorphins pumping.
And if nothing else, babywearing can give your little one a secure place to sleep whilst you achieve something in your day with TWO HANDS! Ticking little jobs off your to-do list provides a sense of achievement that can give you a mood boost.
This parenting gig is a rollercoaster, and some days are definitely a struggle. If you need help with your babywearing journey, or just a chat with another parent, please reach out. I am always here to talk or listen.
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