Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baby Wearing

first of all I want to say that I'm not against baby wearing and have been known to carry a babe around in a sling / mai tei (and have some awesome baby carriers, too) on many occasions. It's really awesome to be able to go for a hike with your hands free, or for a walk without the stroller.

Now... the problem I see with the overuse of baby wearing...
  • It promotes dependance on, you, the parent for their comfort and happiness.
  • It is confining (doesn't allow for the exploration of their large motor skills).
  • It can cause separation anxiety (they're scared to be by themselves).
  • It can totally mess up sleep/ eat patterns... and that always makes life hard.
  • It can encourage a false sense of bonding. Just because you have your baby strapped to you does not mean that you are spending quality time with them.
We are not marsupials...



Emily said...

i found your blog through just making noise. i dont really agree with the "cons" you've listed for baby wearing but perhaps for each child and mom or dad it is different? from my understanding seperation anxiety is a normal part of all infant's development, it usually peaks at about 8 months, whether you wear baby or not. also i haven't experienced it messing up sleep/wake cycles with either of my children. it actually was the opposite; my babies fall asleep easily in the carrier, or if they aren't tired they don't. now the false sense of bonding? i think i understand what you are saying, that parents need to spend time talking and loving their babies, not only wearing them, but in my mind, baby wearing is simply a part of your life with your child, it isn't their entire or only experience with their parents. i dont think bonding with a baby is this intentional, complex issue, and i think that baby wearing creates proximity which creates a feeling of oneness with your baby which therefore is a bonding experience. i mean aside from when baby resided in your womb, how else can two people be so close, heart to heart? just my thoughts. blessings to you and your family.

Brittney Harmon said...

Looked at your blog... adorable babe (I think I only saw one on there but I'll check it out again when it's not so stinking late)!

I always love a good debate (probably why I blog on controversial subjects). But with that being said I try not to alienate or attack a person. I think that you make some very good arguments.

-My eldest has never really had separation anxiety, but I will say that, that is her personality more than her upbringing. She just loves people! Maybe I shouldn't have drawn that conclusion. It would seem to me that it might aid in the prolongation of that "stage" though.
-We chose to put both of our children on sleep schedules from day one and both were sleeping 8 or more hours a night before 6 weeks. I love the sleep that they get in their own beds and do stand by my opinion that they get better sleep in their beds than they do in my arms/sling (but again this may not be true of all children)
-I think that some people, because of their baby wearing, forget to take time out of their busy day to interact with their kid-os.
-Don't we all just need a little time to ourselves?

Emily said...

yes, there's only one baby, my son is (wipes a tear) now almost 8!!! yikes, time flies!

totally agree everyone, even mothers, need alone/me time. my hubby is awesome about taking the baby on walks so i can sleep in, playing guitar with her, swinging in the hammock ect. so i can do my thing, which is usually taking a bubble bath or reading or you know, blogging, lol.

from my research reading various parenting and anthropology books, websites and talking with moms and just observing moms in my culture, i think baby wearing has always been something mothers, fathers and even older children have done to deal with the constant demands of an infant.
I think you are right in that baby wearing is porbably not the only or best way to "bond". in my experience it is more a way to do your life and not have baby crying or alone.
as far as sleep schedules, if your children are on one, then i can see how baby wearing would make them sleep at the "wrong" or unscheduled time. ive just never attempted to sleep train, the whole ferber thing just doesnt appeal to me but uninterrupted sleep does! i wish!

colette ashley said...

i totally was into the sling thing when i was preparing for bella. i was so excited to have something that would allow me to hold her all the time and not get tired and not be tied down either. i bought into the idea that it was great for bonding. bella taught me otherwise. she never liked the sling but always loved to be held and i could never figure out why. i realize now that having the sling made me not really pay as much (or any) attention to her and she knew it. thus, we were not bonding. she does love the stroller and had always slept fine without us holding her over night because we were always determined to keep her in her own bed. i think it can be a good thing but if she was always being carried (worn or not) she would never experience freedom and in that freedom she learns trust both with herself and with us. i don't really think carriers are a bad thing, i loved it in hawaii when we went on hikes and so did she, but they, like everything else, can be overused. we are going through the separation anxiety stage and i'm not sure carriers cause that as it's natural, but constantly being attached to a parent will hinder any child's ability to feel safe without mom and dad, carrier or no carrier as we have seen with some other friends. we are not meant to hinder our children's growth but to nurture and promote it in a healthy way. overuse of baby wearing, i agree, can hinder a child's development and negatively affect the parent's relationship with that child in the fact that true bonding may not have occurred.

so use it wisely! parent wisely! your child is a part of you and there are some things that instinctually you will know are good or not.

thanks for the post. got me thinking :)

Michelle in Mx said...

You know I agree with you Brit - but that is neither here nor there . . . I wrote a LONG post to my friend about the "right" vs. "wrong" in everything and it kept me up until 2am - so I'm not going there again, not without coffee . . .
Mostly I want to know how you are able to strap a kid to you using a well-known alcoholic cocktail. I'm envious. Please explain . . meanwhile I'm heading down to the liquor store . . .