Yesterday, a good friend of mine forwarded me a link to a news article about the fact that using slings and baby carriers is becoming a bit more mainstream.
You see, I’m one of those “hippy” mums that carries my baby. Actually, Lia has never been in a pushchair, pram or buggy.
When I had Libby, we bought a nice off-road buggy, so that we could take her walking on the hills. At the time, I was in touch with a friend from school via Facebook and I noticed that she was into something I’d never heard of, called “babywearing.”
What I loved about my friend’s passion for babywearing wasn’t the fact that I could see it was convenient for her that she could carry her babies with her hands free.
It wasn’t the fact that she could go wherever she wanted, unrestricted by steps and uneven surfaces. It wasn’t the fact that it was easier to walk the dogs without having to push a buggy along as well.
The attraction, as I saw it, was the fact that my friend was babywearing because it was better for the baby. And it wasn’t long before I followed her lead.
You see, I do understand the attraction of a nice, shiny buggy. I can understand why people enjoy the convenience of not having to hold the baby and having somewhere to put the bags when you’re shopping.
I do understand the status thing that is associated with people showing that their children have the very best because they are being pushed around in buggies that cost over £1000.
I do understand that. Because despite the fact that everything about me screams that I don’t care what people think about me, actually I do.
I would love for people, just occasionally, to look at me and think that I look nice or that I’m doing well for myself. Really I would.
And maybe a shiny buggy would be a great way to do that.
Call me cynical though, but for all the convenience and status, I’d much rather do what’s best for my children.
So, let’s go back to the advantages of the sling.
Babies are less likely to suffer with colic, reflux or flat heads. They will be calmed easier if they’re fussing, breastfeeding can be easier to establish and it can assist with bonding with the parents (or siblings if they’re old enough to carry them).
Aside from all that, they are right there with you all the time. They feel you breathe, hear you speak and sense that you’re there, comforting and protecting them as you should be.
And therein lies my problem with buggies. They are designed exclusively with parents in mind, with very little regard as to what’s best for the child.
I see beautifully preened mothers pushing along babies who are at arms length away from them. As they get older, the babies don’t even face towards mum.
Toddlers aren’t allowed to walk, because it’s not convenient to push a buggy and hold hands with a toddler. And they are too slow to walk for the whole journey.
So you end up strapping them in, kicking and screaming. Then complaining when they get a bit bigger and become reluctant to walk.
So next time you see me lugging a hefty baby around, carrying a bag and holding hands with a chatty toddler, don’t judge me.
There is a reason why I do it. I may not shower them with expensive gifts, but I love my babies just as much as you.