Friday, June 7, 2013

Baby Wearing, Parte Uno - Why Do It?

I promised a baby wearing post, because it's something I do every day, and something I dearly love!  The issue is, I have a baby wearing problem.  I don't have just one carrier.  I have a lot.  Like I think I have more carriers than pants that fit me at the moment.  Do they have baby wearers anonymous?

Hi, my name is Meredith, and I am addicted to baby carriers.  I have just about every kind you can imagine that holds your baby close.  No "crotch danglers" or those infernal metal framed thing that look like you're going on an adventure up Mt. Everest on a yak with your baby.  But I'll get back to that.

So, why wear your baby in the first place?  When I wear Ira in Wal-Mart, people look at me as if I might actually be growing a baby outside of my body.  Or like I may have been invaded by some alien life form.  What I see are people with their babies in their car seats.  I see poor mamas lugging those 30 pound car seats with their arms stuck out at a right angle from their body.  I don't know how y'all do that!  I've had to do that to get Ira from Point A to Point B in the car seat and it makes me feel like I need to go to the chiropractor immediately.  Not to mention, unless the car is moving, he is NOT going to be happy in that thing for more than about 3 minutes.

Or even worse, I see those car seats perched on top of Wal-Mart shopping carts while mama browses.  I think maybe people just don't realize how dangerous that is.  You can damage the clip on your car seat so that it doesn't work properly in your car and it will be ejected from its base if you get into an accident.  Scary.  Also, carts aren't designed to hold the top heavy weight of car seats.  The whole cart can tip over or your car seat can be knocked off the cart, injuring or killing your baby.  I know, people do it every day and it doesn't happen, but what if we could avoid it EVER happening?  And have happier babies?  And mamas with backs that don't hurt?

Also, there is nothing better for getting things done around the house than wearing your baby.  Ira loves to snuggle with me while we hang out diapers, pick up random baby items that are constantly strewn everywhere, or just walk the weenie dogs. A lot of times he'll look around and take everything in, but he'll usually fall asleep and take a nap for as long as I'll wear him.

And if you think having a baby means you're chained to the house, you haven't worn your baby! Ira has been out to restaurants, friends' houses, and shopping more times than I can count since he was teeny tiny. As long as I put him in a carrier, he's good to go.  Also, depending on the kind of carrier you're using, you can nurse in it!  That's a win for everybody.

Have I convinced you yet?  Wondering what kind of devices you need to be a ballin' baby-wearer?  Well, I mentioned I have a problem.  I have (and love) a Moby, a k'tan, several ring slings, a mei tai, and a water wrap carrier.  I use them all on different occasions depending on my mood, Ira's mood, and what we're going to be doing.

You could be happy with any or all of the above...I'll get to the pros and cons of each in a few more posts!  So with that long list of baby carriers, are there any I wouldn't recommend?  Yes indeed, there are a few.

The first offenders are the so-called "crotch danglers" I mentioned, the most popular being the Baby Bjorn and the Snuggli.  They're awfully popular, but they aren't really good for you or your baby.

(Thanks to for the photo - I love the comparison!  And hate the crotch dangler!)

I feel like this is a popular dad carry, so you can be like what's-his-face from The Hangover, but come on dads, y'all can do better!

I know, he looks awesome.  But maybe just try the glasses and beard with a comfy carrier.

Why am I not into crotch danglers?  Well, you can see the picture, right?  You want me to put all kind of pressure on your junk like that?  But seriously, it isn't good for your baby's hips and spine.  You want to wear your baby in way similar to how you would hold him and in a natural position for him.  You ever seen many babies stick their legs out like that?

The only other kind I'm not into are the big metal-frame carriers because I really and truly can't think of a situation where that would be practical.  Even if I were a big hiker/camper (which I'm clearly not), I can't imagine wearing Ira in such a big, heavy apparatus. 

For the love of Pete, why do you need that much structure to carry your kid?  I really think I could just as easily put the car seat on my back with bungee straps.  I feel tired looking at this guy.  

But if you have the right carrier, it's magical.  Besides making your back hurt a lot less, it makes your baby cry a lot less.  Babies who are worn for 3 hours a day cry and fuss 43% less than those who aren't worn.  It also makes your baby smarter.  Because you're wearing your baby at adult conversation level, he hears more speech and is more involved in what you're doing.  (Fact check me here.) Still not convinced?  There's my personal favorite - less germy-pawed strangers reaching into your carrier to touch your baby.  Something about wearing a baby makes him more yours, less public property.  

Okay, I'll step off my soapbox now.  But I'm working on more posts about each carrier I have, how to use them, and what the benefits of each of them are!  I hope you'll think about wearing your baby if you have one (or are going to have one soon!)

No comments: