Someone recently asked me how babywearing could possibly be that "practical" in our modern US society. Unless you live in an extremely crowded metropolitan area with more public transportation than private, modern parents spend most of their time driving rather than walking. Therefore, how can it be more convenient to wrap or buckle your child to you every single time you get out of the vehicle than to, say, whip out the stroller, or place the child in the shopping cart?
The truth is, babywearing is more convenient, for parent and for baby. Strollers and infant car seat carriers have their place, but I have found babywearing to be far more versatile and helpful to me as a busy mom on the go.
My first carrier was a borrowed Sleepy Wrap, which is similar to a Moby. These are a simple length of stretchy fabric that you wrap and tie around yourself and baby. I found this wrap to be so helpful with my newborn. It was not only a carrier, but also a blanket and nursing cover. In addition to this wrap, I had a woven wrap, an Ellvill Zara. I also borrowed an Ergo carrier from a friend and found it especially helpful when I was in a hurry and wasn't as experienced at wrapping with my Sleepy Wrap or woven wrap.
In the days after I brought my daughter home, I was delighted with how easy it was to wrap her in it and get stuff done around the house. I could sew, nurse and hold her at the same time. Play with my older son, make lunch, fold laundry and more. I practiced different wrapping techniques to find carries that I liked best, so that when I was in public, I could just step out of the car, wrap her up and go!
When I was explaining all of this to the aforementioned person, I mentioned the fact that pulling the stroller out of my trunk, adjusting it and convincing my daughter to STAY in it for more than 12 seconds - is a lot more of a hassle to me. Besides the fact that it is difficult to maneuver your way through a crowd with a stroller (I am apparently terrible at strolling and am more of a crowd weaver), there's also the annoying eventuality of ending up pushing an empty stroller through the store while your toddler grabs toys, knock over displays and hides unpaid objects in the basket of the stroller (true story). When she is on my back, my daughter is excited - what kid doesn't like piggyback rides?! - and I am excited to be able to actually pay attention to what I am doing. Strollers definitely have their place (the basket underneath is handy for storage, which is great for the times I walk to the grocery store), but most of the time I find them cumbersome.
Babywearing newborns also has a significant effect on the baby's development and comfort. Baby feels more secure, sleeps better and is generally more content. In short, less crying. But even for older babies, whom your great aunt thinks is "too old" to be carried around on your back, the benefits of babywearing are also just as obvious. As mentioned above, the child has less opportunity to cause havoc running through stores, touching and knocking over displays, crying over toys that are not being purchased...the list is endless. I am willing to bet that all experienced mothers have one or more embarrassing stories like these! But more importantly, though your child is not an infant any longer, he or she still needs the comfort and security that only a parent holding them can provide.
For you newer parents and/or families new to the concept of babywearing, please know this: EVERY baby, toddler and child goes through clingy, needy and demanding stages. Actually, let me correct myself; there is really just one looonnnnng stage of neediness, and it lasts several years! It is perfectly normal for your toddler to not want to be put down, for their legs to get tired, for them to be overwhelmed or overstimulated in a strange place and ask you to carry them in public. Babywearing does not spoil them, or encourage clingyness. It has very little to do with parenting and more to do with acceptance. When you accept that your child will need you to hold them and carry them (and as you know, children can be pretty stubborn and LOUD about these requests), you will be glad that you have a comfortable carrier on hand!
So be prepared for the inevitable! If you are unusure and would rather be shown how to babywear in person, look online to see if there is a local babywearing group. Facebook is a great way to search for these, and ask around. I've found that many natural parenting stores, cloth diaper stores and birthing centers have very knowledgeable employees that can guide you to a local babywearing chapter as well. Many of these groups offer a "library" where you can rent PR borrow carriers for free, or have some for sale or barter.
As always, feel free to send me an email if you have a question about babywearing or carriers, natural parenting options, cloth diapers and more! I'd love to hear from you. Comment below, or email using the contact form on this site under "Contact".
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Hi! My name is Astrid and I am an unschooling, working mama of 3 with an intense need to design, craft and create. Follow me for ideas, tutorials, DIY projects, homeschooling resources and more.