I’m risking losing half my parent following by writing this, but I can no longer hold my feelings in. I really don’t like “babywearing”! I believe it isn’t good for the baby, the mother and the mother’s husband/partner.
I’ve been struggling with the concept for quite awhile as, when I had my children, no one I knew adopted the babywearing approach. The last straw for me, however, was seeing a woman on the street today with a huge baby strapped to her small frame. She was struggling along carrying a baby well over six months of age when she could have been happily pushing a stroller.
Okay, I get that shopping with a newborn is a lot easier when you have him mounted on your chest than it is when you’re lugging a baby seat or carrier and heaving it into the shopping cart. You’ve carried him for nine months and it doesn’t seem to be much of a problem to carry him for awhile longer.
But enough is enough! The reason that your baby has been born is so that she can become separate from you. She was born so that she can begin her path to become an independent adult. Tying her to you is primitive and unnecessary.
Yes, in Africa and in countries where women are working in the fields after childbirth, strapping a baby on your back or your chest is a practical, necessary undertaking. But in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other developed countries, it could be done for shopping, but in my opinion, should stop after just a very few weeks. The toll it takes on a woman is just too great.
By about the eighth or ninth month of pregnancy, many women are suffering with back pain, hip discomfort and fatigue from carrying the weight of their child. One of my friends cried, “I just want it OUT!” Why then, would she opt to be a baby-wearer and continue the abuse it causes on her body? Not only that, a baby in a pouch on your chest is bundled unnaturally into a fetal-like position. Babies like to kick and stretch. They need to begin to live separately from their mothers, not continue to be stuck to them. They also don’t need to become overly dependent on their mothers’ close proximity. I can imagine the adjustment that results for mother and baby when babywearing comes to an end!
Having your child attached to you full time is hard on a new mother. You’re tired from the birth, perhaps sore after a C-section. Night feedings and the demands of learning to breastfeed successfully take the toll on your energy. The sudden change in your life and hormones may result in the “baby blues” or even postpartum depression. Research shows that as many as one in four North American mothers suffer from postpartum depression. I feel that being constantly tied to your baby would likely exacerbate this condition.
You deserve to have some time to yourself. You don’t need to feel guilty about taking a shower, as one new mother confessed to me. You can put your baby to bed and begin to flourish as a woman as well as a mother, reclaiming your body and beginning to live as a separate entity again. You can begin to re-establish your relationship with your partner, so necessary in these times of separation and divorce when a new baby’s arrival and her need for constant care can cause a serious rift in your relationship.
Playpens (or play yards) are wonderful inventions to keep baby close to you while you get your work done. Placing a very young baby in one has the advantage of having him used to it when you need to keep him safe as he becomes more mobile. He learns to enjoy his own company and his toys and you can relax, make a meal, work on a project or whatever you have to do in your day. Of course I’m talking about using playpens for short periods now and then through the day, not leaving your baby there for hours on end.
New moms can enjoy their babies on their laps, and in their carriages, strollers and cribs. You can talk and sing to them and have eye contact that is so important to developing a relationship with them. You don’t need to have them bound to your body for hours at a time, day after day.
As well, remember to use your phone or tech device judiciously, making your calls when baby is sleeping or occupied with toys. When you’re with your baby, be WITH her!
My rant is over! I’m just glad that babywearing wasn’t popular when I had my 9-pound first child. My back thanks me and I know my son was happier too!
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