Why I hate Baby Wearing

Oooooooh . . . Contravertial! Well actually, not so much. It’s the term I have a beef with – the obsession of categorising and labelling the many ways we try to muddle through parenthood – not the practice of doing it. And when did this become a “thing” anyway? I don’t remember this being a “thing” when Grace was a baby, much like “attachment parenting.” Just hearing the words annoys me. If I haven’t followed this latest rule book (or thing-we-all-do-but-someone’s-given-it-a-label-and-made-a-load-of-cash-and-publicity-for-themselves) to the letter, then is the implication that I am unattached to my baby?

I am not disputing any of the claims made about it. I just despair of the need to put what kind of parent you are in a box.

Sometimes, if she really wouldn’t settle, I would keep Grace on me in a sling. That was fine. Sometimes I didn’t and she’d sleep in her basket. That was fine too. In fact personally, that was preferable as I have a back problems. Does that make me a “baby wearer” ? Are there a certain amount of hours in a day to fulfil the criteria to claim the baby wearing title? It baffles me.

And is the act of “baby wearing” open to interpretation I wonder? Could it be taken literally? Perhaps we could fashion our new borns into some kind of elaborate hat or brooch? I can just picture myself sauntering down a trendy highstreet, my baffled baby carefully woven into an Ascot-stylee headpiece that Princess Beatrice would be envious of. I would nod knowingly at the starring passers by and point up to the wee one bouncing along on my bounce whilst smugly mouthing the words “baby wearing, darling.” Ha.

One of the “pros” I carefully researched found on Wikipedia was that it helps to “humanise” your baby. This is worrying. If I haven’t filled my quota of hours to be an official practitioner of “baby wearing”, then I will at some point have to brake the news to Grace that she is not, in fact, human.

Pro number two read as follows:

“Babywearing allows the wearer to have two free hands to accomplish tasks such as laundry.”

Oh just f*** off.

If you love having your baby with you 24/7 because that’s how you want to parent, then I totally get that, but if you do it to be more efficient at multitasking, then I’m afraid we can’t be friends.

Relating this to my own experience of having a baby, I suspect the good karma generated by the times I did “wear” Grace was counterbalanced by the stress levels of my husband. He worried about my clumsiness you see ( it has been said that I am somewhat lacking in spacial awareness) and he’d hop around me and the little bundle strapped to my chest swiftly darting his hand twixt baby’s head and any sharp corners or door frames I approached.

Thank God we didn’t have twins or triplets.

Was I the only one to watch the infamous Geldof/Hopkins interview on This Morning and think they were both talking guff?

What kind of parent are you? A baby wearing/whispering/Fordian/old school/attachment/contented/controlled/baby-lead one?

Or is there an official category for the parents that don’t fit into an official category and are just trying their best? Trying different things and seeing what suits? Because surely that’s 99% of us.

How about . . . Now bear with me on this because this is pretty radical . . . Parents fall into one of just three categories:

Mum
Dad
Or the name the kids you love call you.

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Why I hate Baby Wearing

  1. I’m with you. I get a rash and a facial tic when I hear the term. Practicing it, fine. But going on and on about its virtues rubs me up the wrong way and I find some it unbearably smug superiority, just like a lot of the aggressive breast-feeding lobby. That said, I’m currently hormonal, so getting to rant about something I don’t actually give a hoot about is a perfect form of anger release for me. I thank you!

    Oh, and I’m clumsy too – not to mention the fact that if I’d tried to wear Charlotte for the first few months after she she out of hospital, I’d have lost her.

  2. I completely agree Minty. I hate the constant labelling people do. The phrase ‘baby wearing’ makes my teeth itch as it sounds like the baby is some kind of accessory? What’s wrong with carrying?

  3. lizzriley

    Good Point. Though we did put mia in a back pack just so we could wash up! She couldn’t lie down due to reflux and it was the only time I could wash up. Though, thinking about it, maybe she was telling me not to wash up – That’s my girl!

  4. Ric

    I get that it might be more efficient to “wear” your baby in the first few months of his or hers tiny life but come on, you’re not out in the paddy fields gathering rice or carrying 15 things on your head on a long trek to the market. When I see those women on the National Geographic (I bet they don’t refer to it as ” wearing ” their sprog), performing real back breaking tasks with a baby in a sling affair, I get that. But it’s not a fashion statement or an attempt at mother earthing. It’s out of a necessity. I bet if they had access to a car seat or buggy the little mite would be tucked away safely to one side while mum gets on with the arduous task of earning a dollar a day.

    In short, we have advanced.

    If you have no bushel basket or car seat etc then here’s an idea; Daddy has a pair of hands, pass the rugrat to him for a bit. What with mum, aunts, best friends, grandparents and health visitors dad doesn’t get enough handling time with the pink shouty one as it is. Free up your hands ladies and pass it on to pops for a bit. He’ll only fill them with something useless if you don’t like a beer and the TV remote.

    • Actually Ric, I wonder what the women in those countries that don’t have a choice about it make of us doing the same? I have no issue with those that want to. Mums or Dads. But come on . . .

  5. Mum's the Word

    Oh my gosh, YES! I wore Edith in a sling for about the first 3 months of her life, I did the house work with her in it, heck, I even got used to peeing whilst she was in it! However, I had NO idea that baby wearing was a THING with a name, I just did what felt right for us, as I have with loads of other stuff that have turned out to be “methods” of some description or another. Brilliant post.

  6. lizzriley

    Oh wait a minute – I can officially be called an ‘Earth Mother’ as I had washable nappies, co-slept and breastfed for 2.5 years.
    Alternatively you could just call me a ‘do anything for a good night’s sleep’ mother!

  7. I totally agree. My eldest is 20 and my youngest 3, and over that time tons of stuff that just happened now comes with a label!
    When my oldest was a baby he screamed from 4pm until 4am every single day from 4 weeks to 13 weeks. It nearly killed us, it was hell. The only way he would calm was in a sling, and that only worked until about 11pm, but at least it gave us some peace. I carried him around 7 hours every day and did everything like that, but I’d never have proudly announced myself as a ‘baby-wearer’ 😀
    I don’t really like BLW either. When my 4th was a baby and people asked if I was doing baby-led weaning I didn’t have a clue that meant sticking them in a high chair and just giving them a bit of what you’re having. I thought it must be something mystical!

  8. Tricia

    I HATE the term baby wearing because a baby is NOT an article of clothing and I think it makes people sound stupid when they say they are wearing their baby. You wear clothes. You HOLD your baby. I had a wrap when my son was a baby and I held/carried him in it all the time, but I never wore him. Why do people have to come up with these stupid names for things?

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