The joy I feel being close to him. Watching his eyes light up while he experiences our world. That is why I “wear” my baby.
When I first had my baby, I had no idea what babywearing was. I had heard of baby carriers, but I never really understood their value until I had one of “those babies”. The sweet, affectionate, gentle, “emotionally gifted”, and strong-willed baby, who truly just wanted to be held close to his mama.
Babywearing helped me learn to love, instead of resent, my son’s need to be held. I didn’t view it as “neediness” anymore, this was just who he was. A human being with thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Consistently holding him close enough to kiss helped me to be more empathetic to his needs. I learned to hear his cries for what they really were (and still are), cries of a child who is scared/lonely/bored/cold/overwhelmed and is reaching out for the comfort of his mother’s warm embrace. I started to realize that I wanted him to know that my arms would always be his “safe place”.
For me, “babywearing” became more about finding time to eat, sit down, clean a dish or two, and to get out of the house. It was about survival, and about getting my life back. I had no idea what I was doing had a name. I honestly just thought I was carrying my baby. I had no idea that women have been wearing their babies with pieces of cloth for thousands of years. It wasn’t until strollers became a sign of “wealth” that people began to use them. Forget that they can at times be totally impractical. “Wearing” my baby turned out to be the most natural thing I could do, I was following my instincts, and carrying my baby. As it turns out, pushing your baby away from you in a stroller might actually be the “weird thing”. I’m not against the stroller, I own one, but I do think that often times there is a better way.
As it turned out “wearing” my baby ended up being one of the things that started me on my journey to gentler parenting, and gentle living (that and my beliefs as a Christian that children should be loved as God loves us). It’s something I would have never imagined when I bought my first gateway Moby Wrap. I’ve since grown to love “babywearing” of all kinds, but my favorite continues to be with Wrapsody – the softest, kindest, supportive of my big Baby J, and all-out awesome-est wraps you can find.
Babywearing for us has become so normal, and completely natural that I forget sometimes that there are people out there who take issue with the practice. When in reality, it’s more often than not the term they dislike. I’ve seen the biggest critics of “babywearing” ditch the stroller and carry their baby. All the while, claiming that “babywearing” is not for them. The term “babywearing”, coined by Dr. Sears, has gotten a bad reputation over recent years because suddenly it’s endorsed by an Attachment Parenting expert – it must be only for helicopter parenting hippies. Some parenting experts take issue with the term “babywearing”, because they believe it dehumanizes the child. To an extent, I can understand this. I think this is why so many people look past the idea of carrying their baby in a wrap or sling because they are too stubborn to look past the popular term “babywearing” to see that it’s actually so much more about practicality, and proximity to our children than anything else. Maybe, just maybe if they gave it a chance, forgot the label, and just picked up their baby, the might find there is something to this whole song and dance.
I’m hoping that more new mom’s out there can look past the term, and see what babywearing is really about, carrying your baby – nothing more, nothing less.
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