There is only a very small window of time in human life when we are small enough to be carried by someone else. The intimacy and closeness of being snuggled up against a tiny body is incredibly precious and rare, and something that happens less and less in today’s stroller-happy world.
In the womb, the uterus creates a perfect, cocooned environment for the baby to grow. Wearing your baby close to your body and your heart is like carrying it in a womb outside the womb. The heart-to-heart concept of Ergobaby baby carrier allows for bonding without having to talk—the language of the body allows the baby and whoever is wearing the baby to communicate via the elixir of oxytocin and other bonding hormones released during such closeness. The more ease the baby and the babywearer experience, the more optimal the bonding will be.
I have a special connection with my nephew Drew. I was able to visit my sister in Massachusetts just 5 weeks after Drew was born, and the first thing I did was put him in the Ergobaby baby carrier, heart-to-heart, and walk him down to the beach. It was the most delicious connection that I’ve ever had with another human being—I loved feeling my nephew’s breath against my skin, and his weightless relaxation against my body. When he was almost one year old, I visited again; this time he let me know by squirming and fussing that he no longer wanted to be carried heart-to-heart. I tried wearing him on my back and he was extremely happy and comfortable. He’s walking and on the move now, and I hope I can continue to find ways of bonding with him even as he grows older.
When I’m really bonding with someone, I like to look directly into their eyes. Because of this, heart-to-heart babywearing can be ideal, although some people find that a variety of positions works well, depending on their baby’s mood and stage of development. Remember, too, that because bonding is a relationship, your baby’s ease will mirror your own. If you are comfortable with the way the baby carrier feels on your body, your baby will feel that and respond accordingly. Your own ability to relax into the connection will help your baby to relax as well.
If you’re new to babywearing, here are some tips to ensure that the optimal babywearing bond is established:
- Make sure you are comfortable with the positioning of the baby carrier on your own body.
- Take a moment to imagine yourself as you are planning to position your baby: What would your spine feel like in that position? How would you feel looking in the direction your baby will be looking? How will their body feel in that unique position against your own?
- Look for the baby’s body to be free and easy—they should not be squirmy.
- Infants need to be carried heart-to-heart using an infant insert until they have strong head and neck support, and are large enough to splay their legs at least partway around your waist.
Many people in your life will want to bond with your baby—grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, and friends—and anyone can be shown how to engage in proper babywearing. The more you can spread the word about bonding and babywearing, the greater opportunities people and babies will have to enjoy the sweetness of this unique connection.