Understanding Why Babies Calm Down When They are Carried

why do babies calm down when they are carried

As a caregiver, you must have noticed that carrying babies can have a surprisingly calming effect on them. The soothing effects of carrying babies have been observed by parents and professionals alike, leading to the popularity of babywearing. In this article, we will explore why babies calm down when they are carried, the benefits of babywearing, and the science behind it all.

Key Takeaways:

  • Carrying babies promotes relaxation and helps them soothe
  • Babywearing provides a sense of security and comfort to babies
  • The proximity to the caregiver and the feeling of being held contribute to the calming sensation experienced by babies
  • Babywearing offers practical benefits like allowing caregivers to have their hands free and navigate crowded spaces more easily

The Science Behind Carrying and Soothing Babies

Have you ever wondered why carrying babies has such a calming effect on them? The answer lies in the science behind it.

Physiologically, carrying babies promotes better regulation of body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. The close physical contact and rhythmic movements of carrying soothe babies and stimulate their parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation.

Neurologically, carrying has been found to promote the development of a baby’s brain by enhancing the formation of synapses and neural connections. This can lead to improved cognitive, motor, and social-emotional development.

Research has also shown that carrying babies can lead to increased levels of oxytocin, commonly referred to as the “bonding hormone”. Oxytocin promotes attachment, trust, and feelings of love and affection between a caregiver and a baby.

The Benefits of Babywearing on Infant Calmness

Babywearing, or carrying a baby in a sling or carrier, can intensify the soothing effects of carrying even further. The secure environment provided by baby carriers can offer additional comfort and support for a baby, leading to increased calmness and reduced stress.

Studies have shown that babywearing can also lead to improved parent-infant bonding, enhanced breastfeeding success, and reduced instances of colic and crying.

The science behind carrying and soothing babies is clear – the physical and neurological benefits of carrying promote relaxation and emotional attachment between a caregiver and a baby.

Infant Relaxation Through Carrying

Carrying your infant not only provides a sense of bonding but also promotes their relaxation. The close physical contact, rhythmic movements, and secure environment provided by baby carriers contribute to the calming sensation experienced by babies.

Research has shown that carrying your baby can have a profound effect on their physiological and neurological systems. Infants who are carried experience a decrease in their heart rate, respiratory rate, and stress hormone levels. The sensation of being held creates a feeling of safety and comfort which, in turn, promotes relaxation and sleep.

Carrying can also soothe a fussy or colicky baby by providing the rocking motion and close contact they crave. As a parent or caregiver, you will notice your baby becoming more content and relaxed when they are carried. The sensation of being close to you and feeling your warmth and security can lead to a more restful and contented state.

Baby carriers can provide the optimal support and comfort for your child. The carrier’s design takes into account the needs of the baby’s developing muscles and bones. It ensures the proper positioning of the hips and spine, which helps distribute the weight evenly. This not only offers comfort for the baby, but also for the caregiver.

In summary, carrying your infant promotes relaxation, enhances their development, and provides a sense of security and comfort. It can be particularly effective in managing fussiness and colic. Using a baby carrier ensures the optimal positioning for both the baby and the caregiver, providing convenience and comfort for extended periods.

The Psychology of Babywearing

Carrying your baby in a carrier can do more than soothe your little one – it can also have a positive impact on their emotional development. When you wear your baby, they are in constant physical contact with you, providing a sense of security and comfort. This close proximity also allows you to be more attuned to their needs and respond promptly to their cues, which helps build trust and strengthen the emotional bond between you and your baby.

The psychological benefits of babywearing aren’t just limited to your little one – they extend to you as well. As a caregiver, babywearing can reduce stress levels, promote relaxation and help you feel more confident in your parenting abilities. Plus, it allows you to be more hands-free, which can be incredibly useful when trying to tackle everyday tasks while caring for your little one.

Research has also found that babies who are worn tend to cry less, sleep more soundly, and exhibit overall calmer behavior. This is likely due to the sense of security and comfort provided by the carrier, which helps regulate their nervous system and promote relaxation.

Overall, babywearing can be a valuable tool for promoting emotional bonding, reducing stress, and enhancing the overall well-being of both you and your little one.

Soothing Techniques for Babies

As a parent or caregiver, finding effective ways to soothe a fussy or upset baby can be challenging. Fortunately, there are several tried and tested soothing techniques that can help calm your little one. One of the most effective techniques is carrying your baby in a carrier or wrap.

Carrying a baby in a carrier provides a secure and comfortable environment that promotes relaxation. The rhythmic movements and proximity to the caregiver also help ease anxiety and promote a sense of comfort and security in the baby.

Other effective methods of soothing babies include swaddling, rocking, and gentle bouncing. Swaddling involves wrapping your baby in a snug, secure blanket, recreating the feeling of being in the womb. Rocking and bouncing can be done by gently moving your baby in your arms or in a rocker or bouncer. These movements simulate the movements the baby experienced in the womb and can have a calming effect.

White noise, such as the sound of a fan or a noise machine, can also help soothe babies. The constant background noise mimics the sounds the baby heard in the womb and can help lull them into a calm state.

Another effective soothing technique is skin-to-skin contact. This involves placing your baby directly on your bare chest or tummy while wearing only a diaper. This close physical contact can help regulate the baby’s breathing, heart rate, and temperature, promoting relaxation.

Ultimately, finding the right soothing technique for your baby may require some trial and error. However, carrying your baby in a carrier and incorporating other calming techniques into your routine can provide your little one with the comfort and security they need to remain calm and relaxed.

Understanding Baby Carriers

Not all baby carriers are created equal. When it comes to promoting the calming effects of carrying, it’s important to choose the right carrier for your baby’s needs. Baby carriers offer optimal support and comfort, ensuring both baby and caregiver can enjoy the benefits of babywearing.

One of the most popular baby carrier options is the wrap carrier. Made from soft, stretchy fabric, wrap carriers provide a snug and secure fit for newborns. They offer the closest physical contact possible, ensuring a calming experience for babies.

If you prefer a more structured carrier, consider a soft-structured carrier (SSC). These carriers offer a more ergonomic design, with padded shoulder straps, waistbands, and adjustable buckles. They provide excellent support for both baby and caregiver, allowing for extended wear without discomfort.

For parents on the go, a ring sling may be the best option. These carriers are lightweight and easy to pack, making them perfect for busy parents. They offer a simple and secure way to carry babies, providing physical closeness and comfort for both baby and caregiver.

Understanding Baby Carrier Safety

While baby carriers offer many benefits, it’s important to prioritize safety when choosing and using them. Make sure to choose a carrier that is appropriate for your baby’s age and size, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.

Make sure your baby is positioned properly, with their face visible and free from obstruction. Check the carrier regularly for wear and tear, and be mindful of your baby’s comfort level while wearing them.

With the right carrier and safe practices, you can ensure your baby’s safety while enjoying the calming effects of babywearing.

Health Benefits of Babywearing

Aside from providing a calming effect on babies, babywearing offers numerous health benefits for both infants and caregivers. These benefits include:

  • Bonding: Carrying your baby close to your body promotes bonding and emotional attachment, creating a sense of security and trust between you and your little one.
  • Physical Development: Proper positioning in a carrier supports a baby’s spine and neck development, and also helps prevent hip dysplasia.
  • Breastfeeding Success: The physical proximity of a baby to their caregiver while in a carrier can promote successful breastfeeding, as it allows for easy access to the breast and encourages the baby to latch on.

In addition to these benefits, babywearing can also help caregivers reduce stress and anxiety, since they are able to keep their little ones close while still being able to attend to daily activities. Furthermore, carrying a baby in a carrier allows for hands-free mobility and simplified navigation of crowded spaces.

Tips for Safe Babywearing

Carrying your baby in a carrier offers many benefits, but it’s important to do so safely. Here are some tips to ensure your baby stays comfortable and secure:

  • Choose a carrier that is appropriate for your baby’s age and weight.
  • Ensure that your baby is positioned correctly and securely in the carrier, with their airway unobstructed.
  • Regularly check that your baby is in a comfortable position and adjust the carrier as needed.
  • Avoid tight or insufficiently supportive carriers that can cause discomfort or put pressure on your baby’s developing spine.
  • Be mindful of your baby’s temperature and dress them appropriately for the weather.
  • Be careful when picking up and putting down your baby while in the carrier, as sudden movements could cause injury.
  • When bending over, use your knees instead of leaning forward to maintain your baby’s position in the carrier.

By following these tips, you can ensure that both you and your baby benefit from the calming effects of babywearing.

Emotional Bonding Through Carrying

One of the most significant benefits of babywearing is the emotional bond that is developed between the caregiver and the baby. The proximity to the caregiver and the physical contact and sensations provided by baby carriers create a secure environment that fosters attachment, trust, and emotional well-being in infants.

Babywearing promotes a deep sense of intimacy that can have a positive impact on the relationship between the caregiver and the baby. The feeling of being held and comforted by a caregiver can lead to increased feelings of security, safety, and love in infants. This connection is strengthened over time, leading to secure attachment and a healthier emotional development in babies.

Moreover, babywearing provides a way for caregivers to bond with their newborns, especially during the early days of parenthood, when parents may struggle to establish a strong connection with their babies. Carrying your baby can help to establish routines that encourage bonding, such as quiet times of reading or singing, which can be especially helpful in the first few months of a newborn’s life.

The emotional benefits of babywearing extend not only to the baby but also to the caregiver. Carrying a baby close to your body releases oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” which can help you feel more relaxed, calm, and content. This hormone can also promote better sleep, reduce stress, and enhance emotional well-being in parents.

Using Carrying as a Parenting Tool

If you’re a parent, you know how important it is to soothe a fussy baby. There are many techniques out there, but carrying is one of the most effective. The close physical contact and rhythmic movements of carrying can be incredibly calming for infants.

Babywearing can also be a valuable tool in managing colic. The upright positioning and gentle motion can help alleviate discomfort and promote better digestion. Additionally, carrying can ease separation anxiety, providing a sense of security and comfort for babies when away from their caregivers.

Carrying can also promote better sleep for both babies and parents. Studies have shown that the physical closeness and rhythmic movements of babywearing can improve the quality and duration of sleep for infants. And for parents, the stress-relieving effects of carrying can lead to better sleep and overall improved mental health.

Overall, using carrying as a parenting tool can be an effective way to promote infant calmness, manage colic, ease separation anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Whether you choose a wrap, sling, or structured carrier, finding the right fit can make all the difference.

Cultural and Historical Significance of Carrying Babies

Babywearing is not a new concept and has been practiced in various cultures for centuries. In many societies, it is considered a natural and essential part of child-rearing. Historically, women would carry their infants in slings or wraps while performing their daily tasks, allowing them to keep their babies close and attend to their needs while still being productive.

Modern-day babywearing has its roots in indigenous cultures, where babies are carried constantly for the first few months of their lives. In some African cultures, babywearing is a way for fathers to bond with their infants, while in some Asian cultures, it is believed that carrying babies upright can aid in digestion.

Furthermore, babywearing has been a part of numerous cultural traditions around the world. In Mexico, parents use a rebozo to carry infants, which is a long woven shawl. In Peru, woven back-strap carriers have been used for centuries, and babywearing is still prevalent in rural areas.

Embracing the practice of babywearing can provide a connection to these cultural traditions and a deeper appreciation for the practice. Additionally, it can strengthen the bond between parent and child while providing many benefits to both.

The Benefits of Babywearing in Cultural Contexts

Babywearing is not just a cultural tradition; it also has many practical benefits. In many cultures where carrying is common, infants cry less, are more content, and develop faster physically and emotionally. Babywearing also promotes bonding, provides a sense of security for infants, and supports breastfeeding.

Moreover, babywearing can provide a sense of community and connection among caregivers who share this practice. In some cultures, babywearing is also seen as a way to encourage independence and self-soothing in infants as they grow older.

By recognizing and embracing the cultural significance of carrying babies, we can better understand and appreciate the practice. It provides a way to connect with other caregivers and can help provide a sense of community and purpose.

Incorporating babywearing into your daily routine is a great way to promote bonding with your child while also experiencing the countless benefits it provides. Try different types of carriers to see which work best for you and your infant, and enjoy the closeness and relaxation that babywearing can bring.

Babywearing as a Practical Solution

One of the most practical benefits of babywearing is the freedom it provides to caregivers. With a baby carrier, you can have your hands free to engage in daily activities like cooking, cleaning, or running errands. This can be especially helpful for parents who have other children to care for or work from home.

In addition to allowing you to multitask, babywearing can also make navigating crowded spaces like public transportation or busy sidewalks much easier. With your baby safely secured in a carrier, you can move through tight spaces with ease and without worrying about maneuvering a bulky stroller.

Many baby carriers are also designed with practicality in mind, offering features like pockets for storing essentials like a phone or keys. This can be especially helpful for parents who prefer to travel light or who don’t want to carry an additional bag.

Overall, the practical benefits of babywearing make it a valuable tool for caregivers who want to stay active and engaged in their daily lives while providing comfort and security to their babies.

The Impact of Carrying on Parental Well-being

While carrying your baby can have numerous benefits for your child, it can also positively impact your own well-being. Many caregivers find that carrying their infant can be a stress reliever and provide a much-needed break from the demands of parenting.

The physical closeness and bonding experience that comes with carrying can help reduce stress hormones and promote relaxation. This can lead to a decrease in feelings of anxiety and depression, and an overall improvement in mental health.

Beyond the immediate calming effects, carrying your baby can also improve your parenting confidence. As you become more familiar with the process of babywearing, you may feel more empowered in your role as a caregiver. Seeing your baby calm and content in your arms can give you a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Overall, carrying your baby can provide a much-needed break, reduce stress, and improve your mental well-being. It can also enhance your parenting confidence and help you feel more in tune with your child’s needs.

Carrying Beyond Infancy

As your child grows, you may wonder if carrying is still beneficial. The answer is yes! Toddler carriers are available for children weighing up to 60 pounds and can provide continued comfort and security. Carrying your child can also make them feel safe when in unfamiliar places or situations. Additionally, it can be a practical solution for crowded events or when your child needs a break from walking.

Beyond the physical benefits, carrying can also promote emotional bonding and create lasting memories. Many parents look back on their babywearing days with fondness, cherishing the moments of closeness and the sense of security it provided for both them and their child.

Challenges and Solutions in Babywearing

While carrying your baby can have numerous benefits, it’s not always without its challenges. Here are some common obstacles you may encounter when babywearing, and some practical solutions to overcome them:

Problem: Finding the Right Carrier

Not all carriers work the same way, and what may be comfortable for one parent may not work for another. It can take some trial and error to find the right carrier that fits your baby and your body type.

Solution: Research and try out different types of carriers to find the right fit for you. You can also consider renting a carrier before purchasing to ensure you find the right one for your needs.

Problem: Adjusting to Different Carrying Positions

As your baby grows and develops, they may prefer different carrying positions. You’ll need to adjust your technique accordingly.

Solution: Take the time to learn different carrying positions and practice them. If you’re unsure about the proper technique, seek advice from a babywearing group or a certified babywearing consultant.

Problem: Overcoming Initial Discomfort

When you first start babywearing, it may take time for you and your baby to get used to it. Some parents may experience initial discomfort or soreness.

Solution: Start with shorter durations and gradually build up to longer periods of carrying. Ensure your carrier is adjusted correctly for your comfort and your baby’s safety. Also, consider using a carrier with good back support to minimize discomfort.

Problem: Calming Effects of Baby Carriers

Despite the many benefits of baby carriers, some parents may be concerned about the calming effects of baby carriers being too much for their child’s development.

Solution: There is no evidence to suggest that carrying your baby in a carrier will have negative effects on their development. In fact, carrying your baby can promote healthy attachment and promote proper physical development.

By being aware of these common challenges and utilizing the practical solutions provided, you can maximize the benefits of babywearing and experience the soothing effects of carrying your baby.


In summary, carrying babies has been proven to have soothing effects on infants. The science behind the physiological and neurological factors that contribute to the calming sensation experienced by babies has been explored. The close physical contact, rhythmic movements, and secure environment provided by baby carriers promote relaxation.

Babywearing has many benefits, including promoting proper physical development, bonding, and breastfeeding success. It can also be used as a practical tool for parenting, managing colic, promoting better sleep, and easing separation anxiety.

Baby carriers come in different types, and selecting the right one for your baby is crucial. It is necessary to maintain proper positioning, choose a suitable carrier, and be mindful of the baby’s comfort and safety.

The emotional bond that develops between a caregiver and a baby through carrying is invaluable. It fosters attachment, trust, and emotional well-being, which positively impacts parental mental health as well.

Carrying can be continued beyond infancy, with the transition to toddler carriers providing continued comfort and security. Challenges such as finding the right carrier, adjusting to different carrying positions, and initial discomfort can be overcome with practical solutions.

In conclusion, the reasons why babies calm down when they are carried are many, and the benefits of babywearing are undeniable. The soothing effects of baby carriers promote relaxation and contribute to proper physical and emotional development. Carrying provides practical solutions for parenting and positively impacts parental well-being. Embrace the practice of babywearing, and experience the many benefits it has to offer.


Q: Why do babies calm down when they are carried?

A: Babies calm down when they are carried due to the soothing effects of close physical contact, rhythmic movements, and the secure environment provided by baby carriers.

Q: What are the benefits of babywearing?

A: Babywearing promotes relaxation, stimulates bonding between caregivers and babies, supports proper physical development, enhances breastfeeding success, and provides practical solutions for daily activities.

Q: What is the science behind carrying and soothing babies?

A: Carrying babies triggers physiological and neurological responses that contribute to their calming effect. It stimulates the release of oxytocin, reduces stress hormones, and enhances overall well-being.

Q: How does carrying promote infant relaxation?

A: Carrying provides close physical contact, rhythmic movements, and a secure environment that create a calming sensation for infants. It replicates the feeling of being held and nurtured, promoting relaxation.

Q: How does babywearing impact parental well-being?

A: Babywearing can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance the overall mental health of caregivers. It fosters a strong emotional bond between parents and babies, leading to increased well-being for both.

Q: What are some soothing techniques for babies?

A: Alongside carrying, other soothing techniques for babies include gentle rocking, swaddling, singing, and providing a calm environment. These techniques can help babies feel secure and comforted.

Q: Are there any health benefits associated with babywearing?

A: Yes, babywearing promotes proper physical development, encourages breastfeeding success, and strengthens the bond between caregivers and babies. It also allows for better postural alignment and reduces the likelihood of developing plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).

Q: What are some tips for safe babywearing?

A: To ensure safe babywearing, it is important to choose a carrier that provides proper positioning and support. Caregivers should be mindful of the baby’s comfort, regularly check for proper fit, and follow manufacturer guidelines for secure usage.

Q: How does babywearing contribute to emotional bonding?

A: Babywearing fosters attachment, trust, and emotional well-being between caregivers and babies. The proximity to the caregiver and the feeling of being held create a strong emotional bond that promotes a sense of security and comfort.

Q: Can carrying be used as a parenting tool?

A: Yes, carrying can be utilized as a valuable tool for parenting. It can help manage colic, promote better sleep, ease separation anxiety, and provide a nurturing environment for babies to thrive.

Q: What is the cultural and historical significance of carrying babies?

A: Carrying babies has been embraced by different cultures throughout history. It holds significant meaning and traditions that vary across societies. It symbolizes the bond between caregivers and babies, offering a nurturing and protective environment.

Q: How does carrying babies benefit parental practicality?

A: Carrying babies allows caregivers to have their hands free, engage in daily activities, and navigate crowded spaces more easily. It offers practical solutions for parents while ensuring the comfort and well-being of their babies.

Q: Can carrying have an impact beyond infancy?

A: Yes, carrying can have benefits beyond infancy. Transitioning to toddler carriers allows for continued comfort, support, and security as children grow. Carrying can still provide a sense of calmness for older babies and toddlers.

Q: What are some common challenges in babywearing and their solutions?

A: Common challenges in babywearing include finding the right carrier, adjusting to different carrying positions, and overcoming initial discomfort. Solutions involve researching and trying different carriers, seeking advice from experienced babywearers, and gradually getting accustomed to wearing.

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