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Baby Wearing Today With Signature Pediatrics

There’s a new fashion accessory on the rise. Slipped over shoulders, buckled and tied, it necessitates one other element: a baby.

Over the past 20 years, you may have noticed more and more parents out and about, infant or toddler in tow and strapped to their bodies. Infant carriers of all types, from the soft but structured models that look more like backpacks than baby carriers, to casual, colorful slings, carriers are trending. But this “new” trend is anything but; baby wearing is an ancient practice common across cultures and continents.

Baby wearing, the practice of carrying babies using a sling or cloth, has been around for thousands of years. Parents carried their babies on their bodies out of necessity, freeing their hands for invaluable chores and tasks. In many cultures around the world, the practice never faded.

In the Western world, on the other hand, baby strollers became the popular form of transportation for children beginning in the early 1900’s. Over the course of the 20th century, the theory that babies were “spoiled” by too much attention or being carried too much became the prevailing mindset, and doctors exhorted parents to keep a healthy distance from their babes. At the turn of the century, infants were more likely to be kept in a stroller, swing or bouncy seat than to be carried.

Now that more is understood about the benefits of touch and movement for infant development, baby wearing is coming back into fashion. The benefits of baby wearing are manifold. The constant motion of infant carrying is soothing to a baby; a recent study showed that infants that are carried for three hours a day cry nearly 50% less than those that are not carried. Studies have also shown that direct physical contact between infants and mothers increased the amount of a maternal hormone called oxytocin, which helps promote breast milk production as well as mother-infant bonding.

The practice even stimulates infant development. Because baby wearing situates the infant in an upright position, it promotes neck strength and head control, plus it can prevent an uneven head surface, or plagiocephaly. Since it’s recommended that infants sleep on their backs, spending all day in an infant seat and all night in a crib can lead to flattening of the back of the head. It’s a condition that can often be prevented by carrying the baby upright in a carrier. With unparalleled access to the world around them, babies who are carried are exposed to all sorts of places, people, voices and emotions, which may be beneficial to neurologic, social and emotional development.

It may be all the rage these days, but this isn’t just a passing fad. As a practice that’s beneficial to babes and mothers alike, baby wearing is perpetually fashionable.

Signature Pediatrics is the premier concierge pediatric practice in the Carolinas. At Signature, you meet with your pediatrician in a pleasant, relaxed and unhurried environment and experience the benefits of a low patient-to-doctor ratio, 24/7 access to a pediatrician, same-day appointments and no wait times. Our goal is to provide a true medical home with ultimate accessibility and convenience while delivering the highest quality comprehensive, compassionate pediatric care.