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 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.
As regular ERGOparent readers know, 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 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, facing forward, 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:
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.