By Brooke Maree
Four years ago, I thought my daughter had a “sleep problem”. I could not understand why she wanted to sleep soundly on me for two hours but only sleep 20 minutes alone in a cot…
This explanation of the “fourth trimester” and creating a “womb-like” environment really helped me to understand, surrender, and embrace those sleepy wrap cuddles.
There’s so much to say here about this BEAUTIFUL illustration, let me sum it up in six points:
- Your baby has only ever known your gentle sways, the muffled sounds in your womb, the rhythm of your beating heart, and being snug at the perfect temperature. Babywearing closely replicates that!
- Your baby relies on you for survival and has instincts built in to feel safe when close to you, and possibly in danger if away from you – therefore a carried baby cries less and is generally more settled.
- Us mothers are pretty clever and keeping our baby close helps us regulate their temperature and quickly pick up on their cues – this can reduce anxiety and help us feel more confident in our roles as we tune in to our baby’s needs.
- Our babies are born very immature, unable to walk or eat by themselves. Carrying them is primal: we are a carrying species, born to carry and be carried. Using a baby carrier to make life more practical helps facilitate nature’s plan.
- The human brain is so large that a baby must be born before the brain is fully developed so that it fits through the birth canal. Our babies continue to gestate, grow, and develop outside the womb and what better environment to thrive in than held up close next to a caregiver’s heart and their warmth!
- A baby’s mental health MATTERS. The first three years are crucial for a child’s brain development. This is when they learn is the world safe and friendly? Or scary and risky? Creating a safe environment for them to feel secure and loved has such profound positive impacts for the wellbeing of the child that should ripple on to create a healthy adult too.
Carrying is not only practical, it’s almost crucial to your child’s wellbeing now and in the future, and therefore the future of this planet.
So, if your baby only wants to sleep on you, be held by you, or just have cuddles all day long, they aren’t “broken” they don’t have a “problem”, their behaviour is completely normal.
And if you’re carrying them and keeping them close, kudos to you. I know it can be exhausting and you can feel touched out almost on a daily basis. It isn’t always easy. But it won’t be forever and the long-term benefits are so worth it to build a secure, grounded, confident child.
– B r o o k e – x –
Originally published here.
Brooke Maree is one of Australia’s leading Babywearing Educators, Co-Founder of the Australian Babywearing Association, and Country Leader of Kangatraining Australia. She is passionate about advocating for babywearing safety and best practice and seeing all parents using their baby carrier with comfort and ease. Brooke is available for personalised consultations, workshops and trainings, and on social media providing endless resources and top tips! Find out more about her services at www.brookemaree.com.au.