Tips &

Tips &

10 benefits of babywearing

June 2024
Janthea Brigden
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My daughter cried constantly after her difficult and traumatic birth, I had little or no sleep and I was exhausted!  Ignorant of the time and energy a small baby takes up, I had deliberately organised for my beloved dog to have puppies three weeks after my baby’s birth. It was impossible to get anything done with a constantly screaming baby and five puppies who needed cleaning and changing almost as often as she did! 

In desperation, I tied my daughter to my body with a piece of cloth and discovered that, as long as she was attached to me, she became calm and interested in what I was doing.  I also discovered, (after a few days), that she slept longer and better when worn all day. I later learned this was due to babies being able to release some of their body energy, via the carrying adult. I also became adept at knowing when she was going to fill her nappy even for  a wee, as her body gave a little shiver just before. Breastfeeding, which had been difficult at the start, became easier and I ended up feeding her for eighteen months.

The connection and relaxation of baby wearing was amazing for both of us. My daughter had what she wanted (me!) and I was no longer rushing around stressed out of my mind trying to get everything done before picking her up again.  

What is baby wearing? 

Baby wearing is using a sling or baby carrier to carry them as close to your body as possible. 

Carrying our babies on our bodies’ dates back to the beginning of human history. Human bodies are adapted to be a carrying species Throughout time we adapted from carrying our babies in our arms to creating material baby carriers to carry our infants. 

In ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China, and Indigenous communities worldwide, mothers and other caregivers used a variety of materials to secure babies to their bodies. In much of the world, baby wearing is the main way that parents carry their babies. As well as the many benefits we know that baby wearing has, it was and continues to be the most practical solution for caregivers to tend to their daily chores, gather food, or travel while keeping their infants close and safe.

Although close body contact with babies has been the norm throughout history, and still is, in most of the non-Western world, one study found that in Western societies babies are in body contact with their caregivers for only around 18% of the day compared to 79–99 % of the day in many non-Western societies. 

Despite this, there is a huge list of reasons as to why the close body contact and skin-to-skin that baby wearing provides are beneficial for you and your child. These are just a few: 

10 benefits of baby wearing

1. It provides a gentler transition from womb to world 

The transition from womb to world is a huge and overwhelming change for a baby. Wearing them in a sling means that they can continue to be rocked by their mother’s movements and hear her heartbeat in the same way they did in the womb. Not only does this reduce stress and fear response but it helps the baby to develop and regulate their own systems. 

2. It helps to regulate baby’s bodily processes 

Wearing your baby helps to regulate temperature, heart and respiratory rates, and promotes emotional and physical growth. This can be especially beneficial for premature babies or babies who are born unwell.

Regular close skin contact is also believed to help babies regulate their circadian rhythms better and distinguish the difference between night and day sleep, leading to more regular sleeping patterns. 

3. Encourages bonding and leads to better attachment 

Wearing your baby encourages bonding between you and them, especially in the early days when the baby has a strong need for a sense of security and attachment. 

Touch is one of the most important senses for babies and typically they will seek as much physical contact with another person as possible. This replicates the feeling of touch they felt snuggled into the womb. It is comforting and allows infants to get to know their caregivers through touch, scent, sight and voice. 

Studies have shown that babywearing in the first few months of life lead to a higher likelihood of developing secure attachments and a lower likelihood of developing disorganised attachments. A secure attachment with a caregiver is proven to have a monumental positive impact both in childhood and in later life, including leading to greater confidence, independence, resilience, and better long term physical and mental health. 

4. Promotes successful breastfeeding 

Babywearing can help to establish a successful breastfeeding relationships. This is partly due to the oxytocin released in both mother and baby through close skin to skin contact. Studies have shown that mothers who carry their children in soft slings are more likely to breastfeed beyond the early weeks

5. Reduces crying and can improve sleep 

Not putting your baby ‘down to nap’ and allowing them to sleep on your body in a sling has been shown to reduce crying, both in terms of frequency and duration. Less crying means more time to absorb the world around them in a calm state, promoting learning and positive interactions with the world.

 The Esposito study looked at the positive impact that the movement of being carried had on babies under six months of age and concluded that it has numerous calming benefits for babies including reducing crying, body movement, and heart rate. 

6. Improves head and neck control 

Being carried by a carer allows the vestibular balance apparatus (the sensory system that helps us maintain balance) to develop more quickly and helps to improve head and neck control. The benefits are even more pronounced when you practice ‘dynamic in-arms carrying’, although for practicality this may only be possible for shorter periods. 

7. Encourages sociability and language development 

Baby being able to hear their parent or caregiver’s voice and watch their interactions close up is believed to encourage sociability and language development. It also helps them to develop relationships with friends and family members as they are closer to their eye level than if being pushed in a buggy. In fact, studies have found that babies regularly using outward facing buggies were less likely to talk, communicate and interact with their caregivers, risking negative effects on their brain development. 

8. Provides a feeling of safety for baby 

Being in a sling, close to your body, allows baby to retreat from an overwhelming world and snuggle into the parent’s body for respite when needed. Babies learn and develop best when they are in a place of consistent safety, as their brains are not engaged in survival mode. 

9. Improves responsiveness of caregiver to baby’s cues 

Research has found that parents who carry their babies tend to be more responsive to their babies as they are in close contact. It found that babywearing enhanced maternal responsiveness to infants’ cues, tactile interactions, and belief in the importance of responding to infants’ cues.

10. It’s more practical (and enjoyable) for the caregiver

Wearing your baby can make it a lot easier to get on with daily tasks and be a lot less cumbersome than lugging a pram around when you just want to pop down to the shops! Getting your baby used to sleeping in a sling can also mean you have more flexibility to get on with what you need to do during the daytime. 

Baby wearing doesn’t just benefit the baby either, it has lots of positive benefits for the caregiver as well! Research has found that physical contact with your baby, particularly wearing them or holding them on your front, stimulates the release of oxytocin, the bonding and love hormone, which is associated with nurturing behaviors and positive mood states. 

The benefits I’ve mentioned don’t only apply to parents wearing babies either. In Nipperbout creches, we encourage all of Purple People - male and female - to wear babies and we know what a positive difference it makes. We find that the babies are more contented and our Purple People have their hands free to help with other activities!

Wearing a baby safely.

Whilst it is generally safe to wear a baby using a sling or carrier, you can follow some basic safety rules to make sure. Firstly, ensure that your baby carrier or sling isn’t damaged in a way that could affect the baby’s position. You should also follow the T.I.C.K.S rule of safe baby wearing. 


I - In view at all times 

C - Close enough to kiss 

K- Keep chin off the chest 

S - Supported back

Detailed information on safe baby wearing can be found on the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). 

Did you carry your baby? Did you notice the benefits?