If you’ve tried a woven baby wrap or ring sling before (or have spoken to someone who has), then you’ve probably heard of the feeling of deepening love and connection that can be felt when experiencing those glorious heart-to-heart #HandsFreeHugs. It’s one of the things we love most about babywearing, and there’s science behind why we feel that way!
Studies have shown that the more you touch, make eye contact, cuddle and interact with your child, the more oxytocin you both produce. Oxytocin is one of the ‘happy chemicals’ - a magical little thing known as ‘the cuddle hormone’ or ‘the love hormone’ because of its powerful affects on the way we think, feel, and bond. It’s thought to play a powerful part in caregiving and attachment, as well as in childbirth and lactation. Research has shown that it contributes massively to the parent-child bond, for both mothers and fathers, and in both biological and adoptive relationships. In parent and baby, higher levels of oxytocin help to establish and maintain relationships, reduce feelings of stress & anxiety, and even regulate and enhances emotional empathy and trust - important aspects of our emotional intelligence.
UNICEF describes oxytocin as 'fertiliser' for your little one's developing brain, 'helping them to be happy babies and more confident children and adults' (1), and research has shown that 'sensitive parenting' is considered to be the foundation of an 'individual’s well-being and adaptation throughout life' (2). When you use a woven baby carrier, you're prolonging the physical contact you have with your little one - whether they're in a front facing or back facing carry, you're holding them close to your heart, often for hours at a time. Either position is perfect for increasing oxytocin levels in you both. Your baby will feel secure and loved, and you'll become even more in-tune with their needs.
What a gift baby wearing is, allowing us to comfortably hold our little ones close for such prolonged amounts of time so that we can reap those beautiful benefits.