The benefits of using a sling or carrier with your baby are numerous and can be equally positive for all the members of the family, not just baby and parents, but older brothers and sisters, grandparents, and other relations too. Here are some of the many advantages:
With your baby in a sling you have two hands available while giving your baby the closeness and attention he needs. You’re able to play with older siblings, fix yourself food and drink, and get everyday tasks done without putting down a baby who wants to be cuddled.
Getting out and about with your baby in a sling is so much simpler. Anywhere your feet can take you your baby can go too, happy and content to view the world from the safety of your body. There’s no need to wait for lifts, or avoid stairs and escalators, rough terrain or stiles.
Public transport becomes much easier to navigate. There’s no more waiting in the rain because the buggy spaces on the bus are already full. Trips to the supermarket are unencumbered by carrying a car seat or a pushing a buggy, and there’s plenty of room to cram shopping in the boot when you don’t have to find room for the pushchair.
If you use a sling for an older, walking baby, you are able to have both hands free to guide him. A sling in your bag is the perfect solution for toddlers with tired legs or in need of a nap, and you have no need to take out an empty pushchair ‘just in case’.
Everyday activities at home and away are easier using a sling or carrier.
Bonding, development and close contact
All babies crave close contact with their carers. Using a sling or carrier is a way to give that closeness and security to your baby. Babies in slings have been shown regularly to cry up to 40% less, making life easier for you and much less stressful for them. Instead of crying, they spend more time in a ‘quiet alert’ state, which is the best time for babies to learn, and sleeping, which is the best time for them to grow.
Using a sling or carrier helps your baby to develop and can soothe her effortlessly when she is sick, teething or tired. As your baby grows, using a sling can provide excellent stimulation and learning opportunities purely by giving her the opportunity to observe your day to day activities. Allowing your baby to be close to you much of the time can make it much easier on both of you when you do need to put her down because you have already fulfilled her need for security.
Physical benefits for the parent
For the parent who uses a sling, the need to hold the baby one-handed or balanced on the hip while getting on with everyday tasks is vastly reduced. The weight of the baby is spread over your torso, reducing the strain caused by lopsided carrying in arms. Constant lifting of a baby in order for him to see is not necessary as they already have a view from near your eye-level.
Piggybacks and carrying the baby on your shoulders can cause strain and injury. Using a sling gives the same effect but allows for proper weight distribution.
Breastfeeding mothers find the close physical contact with their baby can stimulate milk production and a sling can allow for easier, discreet breastfeeding. Bottle feeding is also simpler when out and about, as you can hold your baby close to you without straining your arms.
Physical benefits for the baby
Using a sling helps babies learn to regulate their own temperature and breathing as they are stimulated by the parent’s own body cycles. Using a sling in an upright posture can help babies’ digestion, and enable them to bring up wind. The massaging effect of being tummy to tummy with a parent can help with cases of reflux, colic, trapped wind and constipation.
Time spent upright in a sling has the same effect on a baby’s muscles as ‘tummy time’, encouraging them to develop the core strength they need to achieve physical milestones, from holding up the head to walking. It also acts as a preventative measure against ‘flat-head syndrome’ as the head is not lying on anything flat, and hip dysplasia, if the sling is positioned correctly.