There are numerous health benefits of using a sling or carrier for the child and the wearer, whether it is the mother or another person. There are also a lot of general benefits, convenience being the main factor for people using a sling to transport their little ones.
Here are some of the many advantages:
With your baby in a sling you have both hands free to get on with everyday tasks or assist an older child. A good example is trying to chase down/keep up with a toddler when you have a new-born that craves the closeness a cuddle gives. The sling aids you in giving the new-born the closeness they need while allowing you to give more active and entertaining attention to the toddler or older child.
Many people also use them around the house so they can get on with everyday tasks as well as using them to transport their child when they are out and about.
Getting out of the house with your baby in a sling is so much simpler. There’s no need to wait for lifts, or avoid stairs and escalators, rough terrain or stiles.
That is not to say a buggy doesn’t have its place – they do make great trollies! Many people take a sling for the bottom of the buggy for those moments when your child wants to be in your arms and nothing else will do.
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. Also when the mother and baby spaces are all taken up it makes things a little easier as you don’t need to open the door as wide if you’re not taking the car seat/buggy out.
If you use a sling for an older child who may have started to walk, you are able to have both hands free to guide them. A sling in your bag is the perfect solution for toddlers with tired legs or is in need of a nap, and you have no need to take out an empty buggy for those ‘just in case’ moments.
Bonding, development and close contact
All babies crave and enjoy close contact with their care givers. 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 50% 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.
Breastfeeding mothers find the close physical contact with their baby can stimulate milk production and a sling can allow for easier, discreet breastfeeding. Having your baby in sight and close means you are able to spot they babies feeding ques and meet their needs sooner. Bottle feeding is also simpler when out and about, as you can hold your baby close to you without straining your arms and feed on the go.
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 them the opportunity to observe your day to day activities. Many find that rather than slings making babies clingy it is in fact the opposite as they gain confidence by their need for security and reassurance being met
Physical and health related 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.
Carrying a baby in a sling is like a mini workout burning the same amount of calories as if you were carrying Dunn bells of the equivalent weight around with you. Averaging 300 calories extra per day! If you start to carry your child from new-born your muscles will grow and adjust with your child making it easy to carry a large child down the line. If you are starting to use a sling for the first time with an older child you may have to use it for short periods of time to start with so your muscles develop.
Physical and health related 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.
Some of this content was provided by www.singguide.co.uk