THE CONCEPT OF EXTEROGESTATION AND WHY INFANTS NEED CONSTANT PHYSICAL CONTACT
Frequent physical bonding enhances baby's development not only emotionally, but also biologically
A baby’s vital organs and body parts develop during the 9-month gestation period inside the mother’s womb. But a ‘second’ 9-month period — which is just as important — happens after the baby is born.
That’s the difference between uterogestation, where the baby develops in the uterus, and exterogestation, where the baby continues to develop outside the womb.
During a newborn’s first 9 months in the outside world, certain aspects of his or her biological and cognitive self are still evolving. This is the period when an infant is most caregiver-dependent than at any other time. According to studies, it is imperative for a newborn baby to stay physically connected to his or her mother, preferably close to the chest, during exterogestation. Not enough contact during this period may be detrimental to the baby’s physical as well as interpersonal growth.
That’s where baby carriers and slings come in. Baby-wearing and breastfeeding copies the "carrying environment" inside the womb, therefore providing that natural and warm feeling that is essential to infants during this time. But why is skin-to-skin contact so beneficial? What exactly happens every time your skin touches your baby’s?
Being physically close has something to do with helping your baby strengthen itself and establish protection from external elements. Remember, it’s the baby’s first time being exposed to an environment that is very different from inside the mother’s womb.
When you hold your baby, his or her heart rate is regulated, which also improves breathing and controls body temperature. When this happens, it creates a calming and relaxing feeling, which then makes your baby want to breastfeed more. This is crucial in regulating digestion and speeding up weight gain.
Babies who are exposed to their mothers’ skin early on have also been known to cry less than those who are significantly deprived of human contact. Crying less makes babies sleep better; this in turn helps their brains to develop significantly faster.
When holding your baby or using a baby carrier, another thing that develops is a sense of attachment. Attachment is the beginning of a new connection that builds rapidly every time your skin touches any part of your child’s body. His or her skin must be able to identify a unique physical association — a presence that he or she will eventually be attached to.
That emotional tie revolves around making the baby feel secure. When a baby is threatened by its surroundings, he or she needs to feel something familiar — one that evokes feelings of affection — to erase the anxiety. Your touch makes your baby feel secure, and because of that he or she learns to trust you. And when you see how your baby responds to those feelings of security, you become more protective and loving.
Comfort is an important factor in keeping that physical connection alive, which means that choosing the right baby carrier is also important. Invest in a product that is made from lightweight material to account for breathability and flexibility.
Watch the video below to know more about the Funki Flamingo Premium Baby Carrier.