What are the benefits of wearing babies in a wrap?

The role of the future mother is critical not only during pregnancy but also in a baby’s first three months when they are getting used to the world. We are now officially calling this period the ‘fourth trimester’. Even at this time, the mother is the center of a baby's life. In the womb, the baby was warm, received the nutrients it needed to grow, and developed a sense of safety as it became attuned to the internal processes of the mother. Birth can be a huge transition, as that same baby now has to work for food (sucking is very physically demanding, learn to sleep, and experience large open spaces that its eyes are not yet accustomed to. During this time, the sense of security and safety that came with being in the womb has been replaced by the sounds of the outside world, which can be very unfamiliar and frightening. The newborn responds to this environment by crying, collars, staring puppies, and waving its arms as it longs for its mother’s womb where it once felt safe. The first three months are critical to the healthy development of your child's psychosocial development, because this is where a mother’s role comes into play: offering that sense of security, safety, and nurturance that her child both craves and needs in order to develop.

Wrapping is one such method of doing this, and is favored by mothers because it allows for a closeness with their babies while still permitting mobility! Babies who are allowed to experience this closeness end up having better psychomotor, mental, and social skills as they grow up. According to the results of a Japanese survey published by Psychology Today, interactions between mother and child help facilitate psychosocial development, and indicated that babies will learn to automatically self-regulate when they are raised into the arms of their caregivers. In essence, children are neurobiologically programmed to stop crying when they are embraced. It is a coordinated set of brain, motor and heart responses controlled by the brain, which lends credence to the notion that there is an instinctual component to these reactions. While the child’s behaviour on the outside will appear to calm down, there is also a down-regulation happening inside - the heart rate slows down and the part of the brain that alerts us to danger or threats also relaxes, which is why babies worn in the wrap are quiet and fall asleep very quickly.

The close tethering of babies also has long-term psychological impacts. Although there have been few studies looking at how this close physical attachment (via, for example, a wrap) contributes to personality development and resilience, this is a method that has been used for thousands of years in other cultures. In contrast, many modern approaches, which recommended that the baby be allowed to cry at bedtime, have been thought to lead to neurotic individuals with low self-esteem and a fear of loneliness.

The physiological effects on a baby granted by the use of a wrap include a gentle transition from birth into the world. A newborn baby hanging in a wrap hears the breath and heartbeat of the mother, which is familiar to them from having spent 9 months in utero. The limited space in the wrap reminds them of the womb, and studies have shown that wearing a baby in a wrap reduces the amount of adrenaline (the stress hormone) in the blood: the baby ends up being calmer and more relaxed.

The wrap further strengthens cardiac activity, thus contributing to blood supply and circulation, especially to the lungs. Last but not least, wearing encourages digestion, so babies suffering from colic will find relief in the wrap.

There are many concerns about the motoric development of the baby, especially their musculoskeletal system. However, child who have been worn in wraps tend to have hip joints that develop faster and a group of muscles called ilio-psoas is also strengthened. These are the muscles leading from the lower limbs to the abdomen and are responsible for the upright posture.

We must also not forget that the use of a wrap allows a child to see and experience (sensorily) more of the world than if they were simply in a stroller or carriage. This promotes curiosity and the ability to learn new things.

While there are opponents to the use of wraps who worry about negative side effects, the overall evidence across multiple studies in fact suggests that children who are carried by their mothers are generally calmer, more relaxed and content.

What are your experiences? We are happy to read them in the comments.


BellyBelly. (16. 6. 2015). Babywearing - The Benefits of Wearing Your Baby. Taken from https://www.bellybelly.com.au/baby/babywearing-the-benefits/.

Bergland, Ch. (22.4: 2013). The Neuroscience of Calming and Baby. Taken from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201304/the-neuroscience-calming-baby.

Bilkova, I. (16.8.2007). Wearing children on the body. Taken from http://www.nosenideti.cz/clanek.php?clanek_id=75.

Potuznikova, J. (24.5.2017). Neglected fourth trimester. The baby comes to terms with coming into the world. Taken from https://www.maminka.cz/clanek/opomijeny-ctvrty-trimestr-miminko-se-behem-nej-vyrovnava-s-prichodem-na-svet#part=2.

Wrap Your Baby. (12. 2. 2013). Baby Babywearing - Traditional Baby Carriers. Taken from https://wrapyourbaby.com/cultural-babywearing/.