Her babywearing adventures began by just picking up some books by Dr. Sears as well as The Continuum Concept. She had guilt about how she parented her first child, and resolved to do things differently for the next baby.
She found that it felt good to be close to her child, that parenting could be a positive experience, and she wanted to share this with others. At the time, there was not enough solid research to support babywearing despite the fact that it was just plain common sense and had been around for so long in many other countries.
Jen noticed obstacles for widespread babywearing... there were definitely studies about the benefits of Kangaroo Care- showing that stimulation & movement was good for development, touch, and communication. And all of that indirectly supports babywearing. But it was all about the benefits to the baby, and not about the Mom. And it just makes sense that babies get the best care when Mothers are happy and supported.
She started reading about maternal well being and how babywearing could help the Mother's state of mind. It's been found that the emotional and psychological benefits of babywearing is linked to the continuing of the womb-like environment when babies are carried close. It's snug and warm with constant contact & movement. Babies cry less when carried on a regular basis, which means they are happier and give contented feedback to their mother, with quiet alert times. They sleep and eat better, and are overall more positive than babies that are not carried on a regular basis.
So, this leaves the mother feeling a sense of competence- and you know how good it is to feel like we're doing a good job as a Mom!
It's a lovely waltz... Mother & baby interact more as babies are worn close. There is good verbal and physical contact, and naturally Mom learns to recognize baby's needs better. It's a dance they learn together and more quickly through babywearing as the bonding process is enhanced.
Jen explained an interesting experiment with a group of mothers that had babies with baby carriers and a group without. The babywearing group was found to be more securely attached as mother & child, the mother's sensitivity was higher and those mothers appeared to experience more joy in parenting than the non-babywearing group.
Now, one important note that Jen expressed with her heart was- that because a Mother's need for support is so very necessary in feeling like she is doing a good job as a Mom- we mustn't ever criticize someone for not wearing their baby. We should never make another Mother feel less-than or that what she is doing is wrong. If it works for her, that is what is most important. These findings about the benefits of babywearing that Jen Norton was sharing is what has been found through her extensive research, and while I hope that every Mom could experience the bliss of babywearing that I've known in my own life, I can not expect every Mom to be just like me. I want the "every Mom" to be just who she needs to be.
It's hard to put into words sometimes, but it's true that the benefits from wearing your baby goes way beyond just the obvious convenience of having your hands free to do other things. There is plenty of enjoyment through babywearing without the need to have a reason to hold your child or need to get something done at the time. You are carrying the future... and sometimes that is just enough!