Slings offer so many benefits for mother and baby. Dad can get in on baby bonding, too, since slings work just as well for him as they do for Mom. Caretakers, babysitters, grandparents, and so forth can use a sling. Let’s look at some of the benefits of baby-wearing, or slings.
Just What Is a Sling?
A sling is a piece of cloth that is knotted or otherwise attached at either end (sometimes by a ring of plastic or wood) that fits cross-wise on a woman’s body. The baby can be placed in the back or the front, depending on the type of sling. Slings are different from the carriers that strap on to a parent’s body and look like a frontal back-pack. Cloth slings have been used by women all over the world for millennia.
More and more experts report what mothers have always instinctively known – holding baby close has many benefits. Thankfully, as this comes to light, more mothers in modern cultures are holding their babies closer. Slings help in this regard.
A close relationship between mother and baby is associated with thriving, healthy babies who develop normally.
For the nursing mother, slings provide opportunities for discreet, public nursing. A baby can nurse, covered up by the sling, while a mother grocery shops. The nursing mother can also nurse her child to sleep in a sling, then lay the baby down and slip out of the sling. This makes the sometimes-dreaded transition from mother’s arms to bed much easier.
Comfort for Baby
As baby-wearing practices around the world were discovered, it became obvious that babies in modern Western cultures cried far more than babies in other cultures where mother-baby closeness was the norm. A study was done with North American mothers that showed decreased crying among babies who were “worn” for a few extra hours a day.
The motion of a parent’s walking is very soothing to baby, and helps the proper development of his or her inner ear. Sling-carried babies feel the mother’s heartbeat, a familiar sound from being in the womb. Interestingly, several experts have noted that this connection helps babies to develop healthy biological rhythms.
Two Hands Again
Perhaps one of the most helpful benefits for a sling-wearing parent is the presence of two useful hands. It can be an amazing help to be able to have two hands free while still providing baby the comfort and closeness of being held. However, you should not cook or use hot or sharp objects while baby-wearing.
A baby who is worn often in a sling gets to experience more of the world. He or she gets to experience a wide range of people and places. This helps baby be ready to socialize and be calm in social situations as he or she grows.
Types of Slings
Ring slings are pieces of cloth held together by a ring. They can be adjusted depending on how much fabric you draw through the ring. They come in padded or unpadded varieties and many different patterns and kinds of cloth.
Tie slings or wraps are the way mothers have been carrying their babies for centuries. These wraps can be tied in at least a dozen different ways (commercially available ones come with instructions), with baby on the front, back, or side. Like the ring slings, tie wraps come in quite an array of colors. If you like sewing, either of these slings can be hand-made.
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