I’d seen parents using Baby Bjorns and Ergos for a while, and my sister used one with my nephew, so babywearing wasn’t a new concept to me. In my opinion, it was and is just practical. You have your hands free! It’s also great for the grocery and cooking dinner and any time you have a child that doesn’t want to be put down (that might be all the time). Did I mention you can have your hands free?
So I am a total advocate for babywearing, but it’s not my religion. I wear my baby when it’s convenient or necessary, but I’m not a BABYWEARER. This is one of my favorite clips from a favorite movie about extreme attachment parenting and anti-stroller/Babywearing beliefs. I use a stroller and couldn’t imagine life without it. I also use my ring sling a lot.
I’ve written about how I think a ring sling is a must for surviving babies, but I don’t think you need to use it all the time. I don’t think you need one in three different colors, and I don’t think you need to buy one that cost $125 bucks. And I don’t think it will work with every baby. Some parents treat Babywearing like the people who run with all the special equipment. It’s like dude, you just need a good sports bra and good sneakers. Now just go run and stop buying stuff. The religious Babywearers remind me of a quote from the Bible that I never agreed with (there’s more than one):
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16 (ESV)
Really? What’s wrong with being lukewarm? You’d rather me be cold?
BABYWEARERS tend to come off as a bit extreme and rigid in their parenting philosophies. And unfortunately, it kind of scares off the people who just want a convenient and efficient way to carry their kids/babies. I was lukewarm about bw, probably closer to hot than cold, but I was hesitant to dip in my toe in the water because I knew I didn’t really belong with the capital B Babywearers.
So while I think bw just makes sense, I don’t think it needs so much hoopla around it. Try a few different kinds of wraps, learn how to use them properly (youtube helps), find other parents who know about babywearing, and then see if it works for you.
Eventually, I am going to write an entire post about my love-hate relationship with Dr. Sears, but the way he discusses babywearing is one of the things that makes me dislike him. He brings it up like it will almost always calm your baby and that all babies will love it. This is so NOT true. Babywearing really worked for his kids and a lot of other’s, but just like anything else in parenting, it doesn’t work for all.
I see babywearing as just one more tool in my belt for survival. Some days it works and others it doesn’t. So if you are thinking about trying it, I totally encourage you to do so. It can be really helpful, and it doesn’t mean you have to join the anti-vaccine-homeschooling-vegan-gentle parenting-cloth diapering parents. Unfortunately, these types of parents are predominantly white and middle/upper class. I’d love to see babywearing become popular in other socioeconomic communities, but I think it has to become more practical and friendly in its message.
Be lukewarm about it. Buy one used on Craigslist. Then drink beer with ease and tell me what you think.