Babywearing and Bonding
Some bonds are born before baby – born in anticipation, in womb-flutters, in waiting. Born in planning and nesting, in nurseries and showers and the careful counting of days. We bond with the idea of our little ones before we meet them, but when baby arrives in the world, with fingers and toes and suddenly entirely their own person, we realize the long, joyful work of fostering solid bonds has only just begun.
Wearing your baby is practical and comfortable, efficient and freeing, but it’s also an incredible way to bond. Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for feelings of love and attachment, is stimulated by chest-to-chest connection. Some of our oldest nerves respond to holding baby close, causing our bodies to ramp up production of all kinds of positive chemicals. From our brains to our breath, babywearing fosters bonding and brings us closer together.
The magic of oxytocin isn’t limited to biological mothers. Fathers and other caretakers can experience the positive effects of babywearing too! Whether you’re an adoptive parent, a grandparent, a nanny, an uncle, or even a much older sibling, oxytocin receptors are alive and ready to do their work in you and the baby in your care. And babies who are carried closely also benefit from oxytocin stimulation, helping them to rest, to feel secure, to develop and learn, and to bond.
We bond with our little ones before we ever meet them, but the bonds we nurture and foster once they arrive in our arms last a lifetime. So here’s to a lifetime of cuddles, of closeness, of security and well-being, of love that runs as deep as our ancient nervous systems and as wide as our full, sleepy, wide-eyed newborn smitten hearts.