C is a very clingy baby. Maybe all of them are, at this age but she is my first and my only real frame of reference. While I do have a niece and nephew, it was my prerogative to hold them every minute I was around. Since becoming a mother was enough of an identity crisis as it was, I was desperate to resume some kind of normalcy. Don’t get me wrong, I do love cuddling with her on the couch but I also knew that (contrary to what her Nana and Grandpa may believe), the world didn’t stop it’s orbit the day she was born, nor did if begin to revolve around her. Whether selfishness or practicality was the motivation, I’m not sure, but I quickly became an active “baby-wearer.”
A friend had lent me two carriers to try out, and I soon bought one of my own. As much freedom as they awarded me, I didn’t fail to see the irony. As someone who hated pregnancy and spent the 9 months counting down to not having this child constantly attached to me, I now found it most convenient to strap this newly freed bird onto me. Having posted this realization to Instagram, I was looking for one or two people to share the laugh. Instead, it was my ticket into a strange world.
It turns out there is much much more to this baby wearing thing than I thought.
Sure, I knew there had to be psychological and emotional benefits to C spending her days strapped to my chest. I thought it was cute the way all the safety precautions stressed that the proper positioning would place the baby’s head in a kissable position. Little did I realize, the faithful baby wearers were not simply strapping on a baby for practical purposes: they were doing so for strictly baby-centred reasons. As an off-shoot of attachment parenting, pro baby wearing comments started popping up on my photo. Soon, friends started posting post enthusing the baby-related benefits of baby wearing on my Facebook news feed. I was even some how inducted into our city’s baby wearing club.
And all because I just wanted to make pizza without someone screaming at me from a bouncy chair/swing/bassinet.
Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s very important for babies to develop a strong sense of security in knowing they are loved. I take full advantage of the fact that being close to my heart calms Miss C. I enjoyed how putting an overstimulated Miss C into a carrier at a recent family gathering gave her and I a nice intimate bonding experience in amongst the chaos. I even wouldn’t mind figuring out how to nurse using a carrier. But, at the end of the day, I baby wear because grocery shopping requires two hands. Because sometimes I don’t have an hour to rock Miss C to sleep. Because sometimes I need to tidy up the living room just to maintain my sanity.
It’s great that there are all kinds of benefits for my child when it comes to baby wearing (especially since I was concerned with the negative implications of her always being strapped to me). It’s fabulous that there are people out there advocating for it. For the enthusiastic baby wearers, it’s a way of life.