Sunday, January 2, 2011
The Accidental Babywear'er
Yup, that's me...the Accidental Babywear'er. When Baby "S" was born I realized right away that she was not going to sleep easily without being on me, and I was too exhausted to teach her any different. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have been able to anyway because that's just my personality. We spent the next several weeks together. She slept for naps on top of me and at night she was swaddled in a bassinet right next to me. Once I was back on my feet a bit, I would strap her into the front carrier so I could get housework done and for daily walks outside. She was so content and such a happy baby (she still is really).
Once Baby "S" turned about 2.5 months old (when she started to get pleasure from looking at a mobile and such) I would start to put her down a few times a day for as long as she would tolerate, and then pick her back up and wear her around the rest of the day. Even when I put her down, I was always nearby, usually playing with her. She was always so happy that I never gave it a second thought. Sure, I had several people telling me that I needed to put her down more or she would be spoiled and never be independent but Daddy "S" and I decided that as long as she was happy we weren't doing anything wrong so I continued to wear her and he held her often during her first three months. After that, we wore her when she wanted and for walks, but she also began to enjoy playing on a mat on the ground so of course we allowed her to do so.
At that point in time I had not researched "babywearing" because I felt it was not for me....I wasn't going to constantly wear my baby and never let her feet touch the ground for months! No way! So I never even looked into it. In retrospect, babywearing is not necessarily wearing the baby constantly without a break. It is okay to wear the baby most of the day but to teach them to be independent as well as long as they are comfortable...you want them to learn to roll, crawl, and walk anyway right? However, I have recently done much research on the topic and I have realized that I was an Accidental Babywear'er and I swear by it!
After my research and my experience, I believe that babywearing is great, even if it is only part time. I also believe it should be baby-led...if baby is happy playing on a mat for 20min then by all means let them! If baby wants a ride to snuggle in or just be a part of your world, then let them! As long as you and baby are happy and comfortable, it is a wonderful way to help your baby. Baby "S" has been one of the happiest babies I have ever met...always with a smile and always eager to interact with her environment. Part of this is probably simply her personality. I like to believe though that part of that is also due in part to my wearing her so much in her first 3 months. Even now, at nearly 8 months old, I wear her around the house when she is overly crabby and just wants to be held. It instantly sooths her and she becomes quite happy in the carrier again....if I put her down, 9 times out of 10 she'll start crabbing until I strap her in again. I only wish now that I had invested in a wrap because at slightly over 20lbs in the carrier she makes my back hurt these days!
Babies are not used to our world when they are born. This is a scary place to a baby and they crave something familiar. While we can't pop them back inside us (obviously!), we can wear them in much the way a kangaroo momma takes care of her joey with her pouch. When baby is in the pouch (sling, carrier, whatever you have), baby is comfortable, soothed, and can quietly take in their new environment in a way that feels safe to them. As studies have shown many times, this will actually lead to a more independent, well-adjusted and confident baby as s/he grows! While I never thought that "babywearing" was for me, once I had a baby and then did some research, I must say that I am a huge fan of babywearing! As I said, I do prefer "baby-led" babywearing, but the benefits to babywearing are simply undeniable!