Baby Slings Effects on Newborns

Many mothers do not realize that a simple oblong piece of fabric and a double ring can help to bring them closer to their baby or toddler and also enable them to be more productive in the process. These easy-to-obtain items can be made into a baby sling similar to the kinds worn by women in third world cultures. The infant is worn close to the body, providing a warm, comfortable, and womb-like environment for her, and freeing up the mother’s arms to perform other household tasks. The cocoon that is created when the tail of the sling is pulled tight is safe and comforting for the baby, which translates into less crying and fussiness and more peace of mind for the mother.

The idea is so simple, it seems archaic; but in our family, the sling has been an invention that parallels the wheel absolutely indispensable for proper functioning of family life. Even my husband has done more than his share of babywearing on many a long, sleepless night. We both found that our children were much happier the closer they were to us, and we have used the sling for both of our girls even into toddlerhood.

According to Dr. William Sears, a renowned pediatrician and authority on parenting, the womb lasts eighteen months: nine months in the mother’s body and another nine months after birth. The less separation an infant encounters during this vulnerable period, the better. The baby receives much more attention, affection, and care while lying on its mother’s breast throughout the day than she would while lying in a crib or playpen. The result is a better, more intimate relationship between mother and child and a more secure, confident child in the long run. The child also receives the benefit of continuing to hear and feel its mother’s soothing heartbeat even after birth.

Slings are especially useful for parents whose babies suffer with colic or reflux and are unhappy much of the time in the early months. We were blessed with two such colicky babies, who needed to be held much of the time to ease their fussiness. Using the sling made our job much easier and made our children much happier.

With our children now almost 3 and 4 years old, my husband and I look back nostalgically on those early days with our new babies, and we see how using the sling was an integral part of our parenting strategy. We recognize that it saved us time and energy to carry them around with us often, rather than putting them down in a crib or baby seat and trying to keep them happy. Instead of subscribing to the “let them cry it out” theory, we chose to be present to our babies, and it has made all the difference. They now seem to be well-adjusted and happy children. We believe that wearing them in a sling has contributed to building a foundation of well-being and stability which, we expect, will continue into later years.