Saturday, November 03, 2007

Baby Wearing - Is It a Fad?

Depending on where you live, there seems to be an influx of parents wearing their babies. For me, where I live, it seems like every fourth parent has their child enfolded in a Baby Bjorn. Now for me, I personally found that particular device more like a torture instrument on my body and my son's emotional well being. Neither one of us particularly enjoyed our experience with it. And interestingly, I had never really paid attention to the concept of baby wearing prior to giving birth 7 weeks prematurely to my son.

It was the wonderful special care nursery staff that introduced me to the concept of Kangaroo Care. The staff warmly encouraged that aside from breast feeding, the best thing that I could do for my son was to have him snuggled right against my chest to capture not only my warmth, but my heartbeat. It gave my husband and I the perfect excuse to lovingly hold our son (when his health permitted us to do so)... that is until we came home from the hospital. It was then that I realized that having my son snuggled in against me was going to be quite the challenge if housework, grocery shopping and living life in general was to be done. Out of sheer luck, I stumbled upon "The Pea Pod" which at the time, was marketed (in this particular store) specifically for parents of preemies where we could hold our babies cradle style and still have our hands free. Talk about Jackpot!! However, I soon discovered that trying to wind all what seemed to be yards of fabric around myself while pretzled in the backseat of my car in the middle of winter could be defined as a comedy show at best. I should have persevered but didn't and gave up. A month later, a friend of mine graciously loaned me her Baby Bjorn to use when I had confided my fears to her about not holding my son enough. (On a side note, I honestly believe to this day, that is was because of practising Kangaroo Care, he was able to remain healthy and grow enough to surpass full term babies in height/weight within four months of his birth.) After two months of both myself and my son diligently trying to work out how to get comfortable with the Bjorn, I gave up trying to wear him and just strong armed it for the past two and half years up until the birth of my daughter in February. Because I didn't see other types of carriers in stores or people wearing their children, I didn't realize that there actually were other options out there.

When pregnant with my daughter I started researching ideas on how to get around with two kids. Getting a double stroller was out of the question for me as my son for the most part walks everywhere and the cost of a decent one is pricey at best. It was during my research that a whole new world was opened to me. I mean, people actually wore their children everywhere and appeared to be not only comfortable but in style as well. You might as well have told me that I had won the lottery; that is how excited I was. So, after a lot of surfing and asking questions from the seasoned pros, I now proudly own four baby carriers. There is not a day that goes by that I don't wear one of my kids and I have come to the point that I will make an excuse to just get out of the house so I can wear them. And, now the shoe feels like it is on the other foot as I get approached daily from other parents with the same questions that I was once asking.

It is interesting though as there are the skeptics out there. While standing in line at a grocery store, one lady questioned the whole concept of baby wearing. At one point, she actually said, "Don't you feel that the concept of baby wearing is just a fad like everything else these days?". That conversation has been on my mind a lot over the past month. I feel only now am I able to appropriately answer that question. What do I think? I think no. I don't think that baby wearing is a fad. I think that people of our generation talk more; we are more open to confiding in others of our struggles or successes. And, with our ability to communicate with others more easily (such as the Internet), it makes it easier to learn about issues that matter to you. I don't think that baby wearing is going to fade away like many other fads out there. In fact, I think that it is only going to become more accepted and practiced. Especially so now that there are so many fashionable options out there that cater to all types of lifestyles. Baby wearing no longer has to look frumpy, nor does it have to be physically uncomfortable for the person carrying the child. And, aside from all of the positive benefits that a child receives from being carried, who doesn't want the excuse to hold their child?

PS - Don't you just LOVE LOVE LOVE us in this sling?? This is the swanky sling that I had won on Steph's at Adventures in Babywearing. It is the Strawberry Fields Forever ring sling made by Rockin Baby Sling. It wears and washes fabulously and is very comfortable for both Mommy and baby. And the best thing? It allows for both Masyn and I to channel our inner divas for everytime we are out wearing it, we get stopped by people commenting on how gorgeous it is, how good we look in it and yes .... how awesome it is to see parents wearing their children.


Lesley said...

I don't think babywearing is a fab - it's here to stay - hallelujah!

I had a few things for carrying Joey around, a snugli - which I didn't use as much as I thought I would. Joe was a 10 pounder from the get go and he fit into the snugli but he of course hadn't developed his neck muscles enough to hold his head so it wasn't a good option. I did have a plain sling - white with blue pin stripes...shudder...definitely nothing trendy - but super easy and very functional!

I used it for both boys and loved it!

I have no doubts that you and Masyn get a ton of compliments on your baby gear - you guys look gorg in your pic!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats said...

Ethan loves his sling. When we were at Disney World, we were in one line that was about 30 min. long- grueling for a 17 month old! After about 10 min I put him in the pouch, he leaned against me and went soundly to sleep. It was awesome!

People are so bold! I'm surprised that lady said that to you in the store!

Andrea said...

What a great post...I know I would be LOST without my baby carriers!! And I have gotten a few comments about people who think babywearing is silly or whatever as well...I just CAN'T believe how someone would refuse to see the incredible benefits of babywearing once you tell them about it! (there's one person I know also who won't buy any kind of baby carrier because she doesn't think it's worth it!!) Whhhhhatttt?

I love your sling too by the way! :)

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This was a beautiful post - that picture is gorgeous! I am so glad you like the sling! I will say that *if* babywearing started as a fad, it's now here to stay- ask any addicted babywearer!

I think a mistake that has been made with parents is when that whole car seat started coming out of the car and onto the stroller, then everywhere else you go, and the baby stays strapped in the seat, never being taken out.

Babywearing is how we were designed to parent- to keep baby close, to hold baby, breastfeed, and to help with their development! I don't know ANY babywearer that finds it inconvenient or unenjoyable!


Amber said...

Neither of my kids like my sling but LOVED the bjorn. My baby NEVER cried in it and I loved it!

Jenn said...

that is a great picture of the two of you.


sari said...

I'm looking for a sling RIGHT NOW - thanks for the link!!!!