Close your eyes and imagine an unborn baby in their mother’s womb. What kind of conditions are they? What do they see, hear, or feel? The baby experiences their mother almost entirely by touch. Their skin evolves first, as the oldest and the most primary sensory organ. As the mother moves around, the baby moves gently with her: when she stands on her tiptoes, runs to the tram, walks, dances and even when she sleeps, the baby gently bounces to the rhythm of their mother’s breath. The space in the womb is limited, it’s warm, the sounds are muddy, and a regular heartbeat and hum of the working organism can be heard. All of the baby’s needs are immediately satisfied thanks to the incredible connection with the placenta. We also know that mother’s emotions can impact her growing baby’s development which makes this complicated yet exquisite symbiosis even more fascinating.
And then comes the labour...the terminal, incredible, crucial event! Suddenly the huge space opens up, it gets bright and cold. The baby is hit by a blaze of sensations: all different sounds, textures, colours and smells. Let’s think about the sense of smell for instance. Apart from the parents, there would be some medical staff on the labour ward and every single one of them would have a different natural smell, use different cosmetics. There is also the smell of disinfectants, washing powder, medications. The newborn needs time to adjust, internalise and organise this remarkable diversity of sensations and learn how to live around them. Moreover, the fragile little person needs a lot of support, tenderness and respect while handling (i.e. being lifted, carried, dressed, etc.). In the first weeks of their life, babies respond best when in direct contact with the parent, when they’re held tight, close to the source of food. They want to be able to smell their carer, feel their gentle movements. Now that they’re snug and comfortable, they can cut themselves off from the excess of sensations and fall asleep in the safest place in the world: in the arms of the parent. Such closeness can be achieved in dozens of different ways: breastfeeding, co-sleeping, massaging, cuddling and finally by babywearing! A baby carried in the woven wrap is kept close to your body which enables them to feel your body heat, your smell, to listen to your heartbeat, swing as you walk around, hear your voice – all this perfectly replicates the snug, safe environment in the womb... and that’s when the magic happens – baby calmly falls asleep.
The closeness of a parent builds the primary, basic relation between the baby and the world. We are the main source of alleviation and regulation for our babies. Bear in mind that the psychological and emotional growth are inseparably connected with the physical growth. That is why we speak about the psycho-motor development. Without the psychological security provided by the carers, it is definitely more difficult for children to develop physically. It is the emotional security and the initial interest in the world which develops when the baby feels safe and loved. This exactly is the driving force for the physical growth.
You need to remember that the motor development of the baby takes place largely during the baby’s contact with the solid surface. Therefore, it is worth laying the baby on a mat so that they can practise their natural abilities and evolve in their own rhythm.
Babywearing satisfies the baby’s need for safety. But also, the need for closeness, touch, bond, unity, comfort… Through this contact our little ones also learn how to regulate their emotions and reactions of their own body. We affect each other in many ways and that’s how the ultimate bond is created.
And the parents? What do they gain thanks to babywearing? Of course, they gain the feeling of safety, closeness, touch, bond, unity, and comfort. But also space, freedom, joint responsibility, independence, self-esteem (parental competencies) and so much more!
Except for satisfying so many of our and our little one’s needs, babywearing is a huge developmental blessing. Properly wrapped baby gets remarkable support and stimulus for development. All senses are stimulated, including the three extremely important ones:
• Touch – with the receptors located over the skin, receiving superficial and deep stimulus of touch, pressure, cold, warm, pain.
• Proprioceptive – receiving stimulus from muscles and tendons and informing the brain about the location of the body and its parts in the space, and about the body’s movements.
• Vestibular – informing about the location and movements of the head in proportion to the surroundings, also called the sense of balance, through the receptors in the inner ear, develops thanks to the swaying.
Thanks to this stimulation we support the baby’s development, we give him or her the first free sensory processing class, teach motor coordination, stimulate deep sensibility, we also support the future development of speech. The baby who feels safe spends less time and energy on signalling their basic needs. They spend more time in the state of the so-called quiet alert, in which he or she absorbs the world, gets to know their surroundings, preferably human faces.
Another incredibly important advantage of babywearing after the immediate skin-to-skin contact is also the secretion of oxytocin – the hormone of love and attachment, responsible for both milk production and developing a bond with the baby, turning on the protective mechanisms, and for the state of serenity that we get into while feeding, massaging and at last by babywearing!
Therefore, we encourage you to build the intimacy with your baby and we hope that this woven wrap will become one of the tools that will help you achieve it.
Babywearing consultant (