How many times have you heard this? As babywearing families, people often think that our babies are held TOO much. Hello? Is this a thing? Holding babies too much? WHAT?! We are spoiling them. They need to be independent. Can’t that kid walk? If you had a stroller, you wouldn’t have to carry them. No wonder your baby only wants you. Do you ever put him down? They are going to want to be carried until they are in college. RIGHT. Just like they’ll be nursing until highschool graduation, huh?
Now tell me how neglectful this looks. Look at that awful, rotten, spoiled little brat, right? Um, no. That right there is a happy and content little critter enjoying some seriously awesome bonding time with DAD. What is that? A dad bonding with his child in a way that isn’t sports or wrestling? Oh my! And using a PINK baby carrier? We’re really breaking down some gender stereotypes today.
Babywearing isn’t JUST for babies. As you can see, the sweet critter in the picture is not a newborn. She could possibly walk on her own, yes. She could even ride around in a stroller, but she’s getting extra love, bonding and attention from her dad instead. She’s got the chance to look around and check out all of her surroundings, but she also has the opportunity to snuggle down against Dad’s back if she gets overwhelmed or tired.
The world is a BIG and colorful place. Little ones, especially infants can get very easily overwhelmed. Just imagine if you were in a dark room for nearly a year then when the door finally opened, it was a 18 hour a day episode of Wow Wow Wubbzy. Don’t get me wrong. I love that cute little yellow cat, or whatever it is, but in SMALL 15 minute doses at max. Your little one feels the same way about the world. They can only handle the craziness in small doses before they get tired, hungry, cranky, overwhelmed, overstimulated or just plain ANNOYED.
We don’t babywear just because we think it’s a “good thing”.
We babywear because it’s how we GET LIFE DONE. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a cranky, tired baby when it is time to get something done like laundry, dinner or writing this article. I wish someone could take a picture of me right now. Oh wait, I have a 9 year old. See, these older kids are good helpers! Plus, he got to stand on the arm of the couch for this shot… Right now my 18 month old Charlie is a whiny cranky-pants He’s teething (as you can tell by his hand shoved into his mouth) and has had a fever. He wants NOTHING but to be attached to me CONSTANTLY. Now, everyone knows that you can’t get anything done with a baby in your arms, but a baby on your BACK? That’s how we get life done.
We babywear because it’s been proven that babywearing makes babies HAPPIER! Now who doesn’t want a happy baby?? Babies that are worn during infancy cry 43% less than babies who are not. We also babywear because it helps premature babies grow healthier! You’ve heard of kangaroo care that is practiced in the NICU, right? Babywearing is just an extension of this fantastic technique that you can practice at home.
We babywear because it’s COMFORTABLE! Have you ever walked around a shopping mall holding a baby in one arm? Even the tiniest infant can feel like a lead cannonball after a couple of hours at the mall. How about those clunky infant CAR seats? Those are meant for the CAR!! Who carries these HEAVY contraptions around with their chunky little bundle of joy strapped inside? Do you have arms of steel, because I never got them and I did this QUITE A LOT with my oldest. Once I discovered how amazing babywearing was (and how my arms and back didn’t have to be in pain every time I took my baby out in public) I couldn’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to babywear.
We babywear because it’s CONVENIENT. Raise your hand if you have knocked things off of shelves trying to maneuver your stroller down aisles of a thrift store or cramped mall store. How much did you have to pay? You break it, you buy it! Some of those strollers are not only difficult to steer, but difficult to even get out of the car to begin with! They are heavy, bulky and take up WAY too much precious trunk space. Where are you going to put all those organic groceries from the Farmer’s Market with that huge thing in the way?? And did you know that with a baby carrier, you can breastfeed HANDS-FREE? Mind. Blown. Right? Yeah, you probably knew that…
We babywear because of the closeness that it brings to us. All those moments when our little one’s face snuggles down against our chest. The moment when they see you grab your wrap and ask for “up”. Those precious dad/baby pictures are a HUGE reason why you should babywear. Kidding! (sort of) These days won’t last forever. One day those chubby little thighs will no longer hang at your sides. One day your baby will be 9 years old and WAY too big to wear close to your heart all day. Cherish these moments while you can. Loving, cuddling and bonding with your infant, toddler or preschooler will not harm your child. It will not spoil them, but it might spoil you! You’ll be the one craving them tucking in their little arms when they get tired or pulling at your shirt for some boob when they are no longer your little baby.
Please. Don’t put that baby down!
Photo Credit: Camille Stowell