Menu

10 ways babywearing benefits both mothers and babies

4. It's good for cognitive and social development.

10 ways babywearing benefits both mothers and babies

If you have a newborn at home, you're likely carrying them for hours on end. That's totally normal. Newborns want to be near you, on you and held by you. But this need that your baby has can make everyday life a lot trickier. How are you going to text that friend you've been wanting to see for so long, if you have a baby in your arms? How about pouring yourself a glass of water or carrying grocery bags? One word: babywearing!

Babywearing—the act of wearing or carrying your baby with the help of a special carrier—has been around for centuries. Nomadic people used to wear their babies to travel with them more effectively. And families in Africa, Mexico and many other parts of the world still to this day use specialized fabrics or traditional carriers on the daily. In the past couple of years, this old tradition has gained popularity in the United States. That's because babywearing provides the best of both worlds—a loving way to hold your baby and the convenience of hands-free parenting.

Here are 10 benefits of babywearing, for both baby and you.

1. It's great for traveling with your baby.

Babywearing allows you to go places without having to push a stroller or carry it from one place to the next. It keeps your hands free, and makes it easier to just get up and go when you want to run a quick errand.

2. People won't touch your baby (as much).

A carrier keeps your baby nestled in a little protected cocoon, keeping germy hands away. “People generally love babies and when you love something, you often want to touch it," says Marta Ginter, a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and Certified Babywearing Educator. “With a horrible flu season coming, no one wants random people touching their baby. It's much easier to reach into the stroller than try to get to the baby that is on the parent's chest."

3. It soothes baby.

Babies who are worn by their parents cry less. “Babywearing reduces babies' crying, especially in the evening hours," said Marta. “The more you wear your baby, the happier your baby will be, the less he will cry and the more time he'll spend in quiet alert state (that's when babies learn the most)."

4. It's good for cognitive and social development.

When babies spend less time crying, they in turn spend more time learning and interacting with their environment. Babies who are worn are also able to see what their parents see, hear what their parents hear or say, and are overall more involved in their parents' everyday lives. Finally, having your baby so close to you allows you to respond to their cues and touch them more. All of this can enhance learning and cognitive development, and overall wellbeing.

5. It's good for their overall health and well-being.

Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that's beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Plus, babies in a carrier also learn to use muscle groups to balance themselves.

6. You can nurse discreetly.

It may take a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you get to nurse without anyone even noticing, especially if you carry in a ring sling or a wrap.

7. You get to keep up with life, hands-free.

This means doing chores around the house, working, cooking, going on a walk and, even more importantly for parents who have more than one child, being more present for your other children. Holding your toddler's hand while wearing your newborn? Isn't that a wonderful thought?

8. It's a great way to bond with your baby.

When you wear your baby, you are more likely to talk and interact with them, and all the baby carrier naps and snuggles are a great way to re-connect with baby once they are out of the womb. During that bonding time, you are also more apt to respond to your baby's cues and to learn to meet their needs, which can help you feel more confident as you are learning the ins and outs of parenting.

9. Research shows it can decrease the risk of postpartum depression.

This boost of confidence can help with the transition into motherhood and enhance a new mom's overall mental wellbeing. Plus, babywearing can help you break social isolation by making it easier to take a walk, stay active or meet some friends. Lastly, babywearing increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.

10. Partners and other family members get to connect with baby in a deeper way.

With baby carriers, mom isn't the only one who gets to bond with baby. It is also a lovely activity a dad or partner can do with the baby at any time of the day to soothe the child or just go on a coffee mission in the morning.

You may also like:

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less
News