The impact that slings can have on bonding with your baby are written about often. The rush of oxytocin, that love hormone, that is key to emotional bonding with your baby is incredible. Whilst we often expect to instantly love our child, bonds can take longer to form. However, close contact with your baby can help, and slings can facilitate very close, even skin-to-skin, contact. Carriers can help you build the relationship with your baby even helping through perinatal mental health problems, or recovering from a traumatic, or just plain exhausting birth.
We have touched on this in various articles including Why we love newborn carrying.
This article covers all of the relationships slings can help with. Not just the archetypal ‘mum and baby’ one!
Slings support bonding in the immediate family
Parents and baby
Slings can help all parents bond with their babies. Bonding can be really hard for the non-birthing parents or caregivers. Birth can be a frightening and disempowering time for them too. They can feel scared and powerless to help. They don’t have the same extreme hormonal reaction after birth to help their bond form. Close contact with the new baby can also help them to release oxytocin too. Slings can help non-gestational parents to settle the baby too, when sometimes it can feel like mum/birth parent is the only one who figures in the baby’s world.
Slings can be a tool that they can use around their working day, if appropriate. Frequently dads, and non gestational parents have only have 2 weeks of parental leave after the birth of a baby. Being thrown back into “work as usual” when their identity and home life has changed dramatically can be overwhelming. It can feel like work does not leave them a lot of time with their brand new bundle of joy. However, slings can offer intense periods of connection with their new baby.
Parents bonding with each other
It’s not just about building a relationship with the baby, however. Slings can also help parents bond with each other. They can help us to meet each others’ needs for showers, and food, but also for quality time together. You can have a meal and chat about things that matter to you, meanwhile your baby is sleeping peacefully in a sling. You can go for walks, and hold hands. With your baby in a sling, you can engage in activities that you did together before your baby arrived. (Safety considerations not-withstanding, it is not a good idea to take your newborn jetskiing or what-have-you).
Slings and sibling bonding
Slings can help siblings bond with the new baby too, because they come along on all the toddler and big kid adventures. Gradually they begin to participate more as they begin to grow and look at the world around them. Carrying older siblings can help give them valuable closeness and one-to-one time with their parents too. This can help them feel secure in their relationships, so they don’t feel threatened by the arrival of a new and demanding younger sibling.
Older siblings often also love having sling cuddles with their baby sibling themselves! (Please be aware that it is really important to supervise closely when younger children are carrying babies. They cannot be responsible for ensuring positioning that maintains their airways.) We get sent lots of photos of teenage siblings sharing the carrying load, and enjoying the bonding time with new and not so new siblings.
Slings support bonding in extended family and friends
Slings can help extended family members and friends form bonds with a new baby. Having a host of sling proficient trusted friends and family can also provide a huge support to the parents and families and make caring for the family and spending time as a family easier. It can make it even more possible, and fun to continue pre-baby friendships whether parents are carrying baby and keeping them calm allowing the parents to spend time on friendships, or whether the friends are taking part in carrying too.
Getting out and about
Meeting new people
Slings can make getting out and about, and going to groups easier. So many people we talk to tell us about how they struggled to get out with babies in pushchairs and car seats before they discovered the right sling for them. Getting to new mum groups, to baby activities, or to any social, or hobby group can help parents to build new relationships, and slings can make actually getting there easier!
Pursuing your interests
Before you become a parent you were a person with individual interests and hobbies and many of those interests don’t go away, but they often become dormant when we become parents and parents can feel like they lose a big part of themselves and their social circle by feeling unable to continue attending these groups. Slings can make it easier to go to meetings, events, or pursue non-baby interests and social groups. If your baby is content to snuggle into a sling, provoking admiration from other members! I kept up going to my knitting group, my fortnightly burst of perspective, and non-baby focus by using slings. I encountered people who had been there, and people who hadn’t who still thought of me as me and not as “parent of …”.
Slings can help you develop a whole new set of friends; going to sling meets, finding other people using slings when out and about. Slings can be a talking point that gets you started. There are online communities of support that extend beyond tips and tricks into friendships. They can become safe online spaces to chat about all things parenting, and life related!
Need help accessing sling support?
If you’d like any help at any point on your sling journey, why not get in touch by email, or call us on 01133 206 545 to book a FREE 15 minute phone consultation or a longer phone or video consultation. We can help you find the right sling for your situationRecommend0 recommendationsPublished in