Many people carry for a variety of different reasons, ultimately it is normal from an evolutionary point of view for humans to carry their children. All cultures around the world have some form of carrying in them, many having their own styles and ways of carrying.
We, in the west, have become estranged from carrying, and our instincts.
Babies are put down, in carry cots or in prams or buggies or in bouncers or chairs. Then they cry having been separated from the only thing they know.
Babies do not know it is the 21st century, they do not have 21st century expectations. They are basic beings with basic needs.
Carrying meets these needs on so many levels, it allows us to be able to respond quickly and sensitively to their needs, building the blocks for secure attachments with their care givers.
It helps them transition to this world during the fourth trimester. Before being born it was dark and warm with muffled noises, and the constant heartbeat of the mother, the tones of her voice and those around her, limbs were constrained, in constant movement, food on tap 24/7 from the placenta,
The birth, bringing them into the bright, loud, cold, still world. Carrying whether in arms or with an aid such as a sling comforts them, it makes the world less bright, less loud. They can hear the constant heartbeat again, the movement and slight pressure. Carrying in arms is not always practical so a sling can help you adjust to the role of being a parent as well as your baby too. It can give you your hands free to deal with the demands of the world.and our day to day lives.
It can help with bonding, boosting the hormones post birth. It can help us to get to know our baby to see their cues and to respond to them before they become distressed. It can help with feeding, by being close this stimulates milk supply.
Older babies and children find comfort in being close, high up to see the world and engage with those around them, helping speech develop and there is evidence for carrying older children supporting brain development as well as providing a secure attachment to their caregiver. Well attached children grow to become independent. socially adept, intelligent adults, more so than those with poor attachments. Carrying allows more freedom to explore and allows you to have 2 hands free.
Carrying matters, carrying is normal.
Click on the PDF below to read my article on Toddler Carrying, published in Juno Magazine Winter 2016 issue