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WHY WE CARRY OUR BABY SO MUCH

(or, THE BENEFITS OF BABYWEARING)

The short answer to this topic is (as any parent of a high-need baby knows), "Because if we don't, he screams bloody murder." If you're still curious, read on.

THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT BABYWEARING

Why do you call it "babywearing"? This term was coined by William Sears, M.D. Since I am addicted to the many parenting books he and his wife Martha have written, I call it babywearing too.

Aren't you afraid that you'll spoil him by carrying him so much? Well, that depends on what you mean by "spoil." I've noticed that a lot of people who ask that question mean, "Don't you think that he'll want to be carried forever?" First of all, I guarantee that you won't have a kindergartner in the sling. Second of all, my high-need baby is less than a year old and already is often trying to dive right out of the sling when he wants to play on the floor or toddle over to Daddy or whatever. Eleven months may seem like forever when you're actually going through it, but considering the total lifespan of your child, it's really no time at all.

Now if, on the other hand, by spoil, you mean "make him whiny, not fun to be around, and disobedient," then the answer is a resounding "NO." You can ask anybody who knows my child for confirmation that this is not the case. I am already being amazed at how, after eleven months of hard work, he already will often respond obediently when I give him a warning, "Abishai..." (Like most high-need babies, he doesn't do as well in social situations.) He does want to be held more than the average baby, but really, what's so awful about that? He was born that way; we certainly didn't will it to be so.

This sounds like a lot of work. I'm not sure I want to "wear" my kid all the time, or even any of the time. At least you're honest! Look, a high-need baby is a lot of work no matter what parenting style you adopt. We can all agree on that one, right? And it is a pain in the butt sometimes when you need to go to the bathroom but you can't see your zipper because there's a sling full of baby in the way. Trust me, though, the benefits to both you and your child make it worthwhile. And if you consider this whole carrying thing to be a need, and not just him trying to manipulate you (we talk about manipulation on the Crying page), then you'll remember what your therapist (you do have one, don't you? What are you, a Communist?) said about unmet needs never really going away. They just reappear later under a different guise. Do you really want to wonder about what form they will take, and when?

I don't think I can afford a sling. Get thee to E-Bay, my innocent. Or Amazon.com auctions. They are there for a fraction of the original price, and in very good condition most of the time. Just be sure to ask for a picture first if there isn't one already.

I work. Is there any point to me even buying a sling? Yes! It helps your little one feel reconnected to you, snuggled up against your warm body, feeling the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe, hearing your heartbeat...It's like the uterus all over again! Plus, it can help your baby accept your substitute caregiver more easily. The home page picture of Abishai was taken while my mom was wearing him when he was about three months old. Abishai hadn't seen her since he was four days old. I was at the movies with my sister.

I have a bad back, so I can't use a baby carrier, can I? A lot of people with sore backs (myself included) can use slings. It's probably easier on your back than carrying him in arms. Just be sure to follow the instructions and check periodically to see that his bum is still above your bellybutton.

Why do you recommend slings instead of a Baby Bjorn/backpack/Snugli? Because being prone (or semi-reclining) is easier on the baby's back and pelvis, and it's also the nominal position for internal organ development.

The author of Attachment Parenting said she could work at her computer for hours while her baby sat contented in the sling. Can I do that too? Um...sorry, no. Most high-need babies will not enjoy the sling unless the parent wearing them is moving, moving, moving.

Interesting Link: See a list of 43 reasons to carry your baby here, brought to you by Nurturing Magazine online.

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