People ask me all the time (not really) if I believe in baby wearing. My answer is an emphatic “Yes!” And then those curious masses ask (again, not so much), “And how did you wear YOUR baby?” Uh – I didn’t. I perceive a hush falling over my reading audience. Let me clarify: I did not own a baby sling, but I’ve carried that little guy everywhere! I always wanted a sling but somehow never got around to it. So now I have what my bench pressing sister calls “pipes”. For those of you more in the bench warming category with myself, that means I have really strong arms.
Whether you choose to heft your baby around under your own strength or take the more sensible route and use a sling, baby wearing is no longer for the New Age hippie chick. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your baby, bring her comfort, and give her love. And contrary to what some may think, babies who are carried and held a lot are actually more secure and cry less. When it comes to letting them explore, they do so more confidently, knowing you’re there if they need it.
Slings and wraps come in endless variation, so if you’re a new mom, try out several styles. If you’re the crafty sort, there are free patterns online, and although I NEVER GOT AROUND TO IT, I hear they are very easy to make. They’re darned cute, too. Just take a look at what Renee and her husband Harry do with baby slings. Now, aren’t those trendy? (I give Harry an “A” for creative usage of a sling. That kid will love music for certain!)
Babies don’t stay babies for long. Throughout human history, women around the world have known this and have kept their little ones close for as long as they could. Native Americans wore their babies. You never heard anyone complain of clingy Apaches. Asian peasants still tote their tots while they work. Not one grown child has been spotted still dangling from a Chinese mom’s back.
I may only have the experience of mothering one child, but I’ve been around lots and lots of babies in my lifetime through different jobs and various situations. Far and away the happiest babies were loved, cuddled, and carried. Sure, babies who are worn have their moments of bellowing and crankitude too, but these outbursts tend to be fewer and further between. And mom tends to be more in tune to the reason for the upset.
So come on, mommies and daddies! Strap on a baby whether you’re doing the dishes, writing bills, or just strolling the neighborhood. That wee little babe won’t stay tiny for long, so enjoy the bonding experience from which both parent and child will reap the benefits!