6 Ways Babywearers Turn Moms Off From Babywearing

 Babywearing is fairly new to me. My oldest didn’t like being “worn.” We used the Baby K’tan when he was smaller, which was invaluable at times that he was fussy or clingy and I needed to get stuff done. But once he got bigger the K’tan got uncomfortable and my other carrier (Beco Gemini) I just couldn’t get the hand of and it wasn’t super comfy anyhow, and by then my son was crawling then soon after walking so he wasn’t much interested in being worn anyhow.

Once I found out I was pregnant with my second, and my oldest was just over 1, I thought babywearing might be more useful so I joined some babywearing groups on Facebook. I learned just HOW MANY different kinds of carriers there really are. After standing back and observing, reading and researching, I decided to try a couple new carriers – a woven wrap and ring sling. The ring sling even got used a couple of times while out with my toddler when he wanted to be held at the store and I couldn’t shop just holding him on my hip.

Once my new baby was born, I immediately dove into babywearing. I tried my wrap, which the go-to carry everyone says the front wrap cross carry (FWCC) just made me too hot and I really forgot to even try other carries and just set it down and used my K’tan. But once he got bigger I tried some other carries based on suggestions from the babywearing groups, and that was it, I was hooked. The wrap was SO comfy and SO versatile, that I really became a more hard core babywearer.

Then I got hooked … BUY ALL THE WRAPS! WEAR ALL THE BABIES! I was getting pulled deeper and deeper into the babywearing world. I got more wraps and ring slings, and even decided to try a Tula because I’d heard good things about them.

As I got deeper into this “world” and joined more Facebook groups, and talked to my friends more about it, I realized there was a particular sector of babywearers – probably the most hard core and extreme babywearers – that sort of turn people off to babywearing, with their judgments, obsessions and intrusions. In talking amongst my friends, we agreed that this small group of babywearers does quite a bit of damage to the reputation of babywearing.

While I’m sure they’re good intentioned, they’re just not helping their cause. I know when I initially looked into different carriers after my first son, I was actually turned off from it for a while when I saw some of the things they said and things that went on. So I compiled a list of the 6 things that these hard core babywearers do that actually turn moms off from babywearing –

  1. Sanctimonious judgments – I actually saw someone say the other day in one of these groups, “I feel sorry for a baby I see in a stroller or car seat.” Um, excuse me what? You’re sorry for my baby who is happily sitting by himself in his stroller with me right there? WTF is wrong with you. And I’ve seen similar sentiments before in these groups. Yeah it might seem harmless because they’re not saying it outloud in public, but on a private Facebook group, these groups have THOUSANDS of members and there are many new moms watching and observing like I was trying to see what it’s all about. And that statement, right there, if I was a new mom, would make me buy a stroller in a heartbeat. I’m a member of stroller groups on Facebook too. They never judge babywearing like that. It’s not all or nothing. You can babywear and you can use strollers. They have different purposes at different times.
  2. Guilt tripping – I recently asked a question in one of the groups worried I may be creating a habit of my baby falling asleep for naps being worn. Some of the comments I got annoyingly tried to make me feel guilty. “You won’t be wearing your baby in college, how could you not want to hold your baby?” How could I not want to hold my baby? Because I do it constantly and I’m an oven, he’s an oven, and we both like our own personal space every now and again. I don’t think it makes me a bad mom to want to put him down from time to time and have some time and space to myself. And I’ve seen similar comments before, equally as guilt trippy. They don’t help.
  3. Tula moms “cult” – There’s this whole separate group of babywearing moms – the Tula moms. They LOVE their freakin Tulas and that’s almost an understatement. There’s not another hard core brand advocate for the babywearing moms like the Tula moms. I have at Tula. It’s more comfy than my Ergo for sure, but a Tula isn’t a magical babywearing cape, possesses no super powers and it’s not for everyone. There are many different babywearing options – and MANY options for soft structured carriers (like Tulas). But some Tula owners seem to think everyone needs or should have a Tula. One comment I saw the other day was after a mom suggested a Tula to complete stranger (that she approached … whole nother topic, see below) – she said “You’ll thank me later.” A little presumptuous, but ok…. and speaking of Tulas …
  4. Tula black market – Also pretty unique to Tulas – they’re generally out of stock. Tula does “stockings” that the whole Tula loving group of course gets wind of, and they get snatched up in minutes when they do go on sale. Then shockingly, you see a lot of these same Tulas show up on the swap later on, usually at a markup. This whole stocking, out of stock, resell at a mark up makes it hard for new wearers to get a Tula if they wanted one. So Tula lovers seems to be hurting their cause a bit if they’re churning for a profit.
  5. Butting in – Like the Tula mom did above, babywearers are the only group that will approach strangers in public to try to give them the benefits of babywearing. “You’ll thank me later” said the Tula mom … ok, maybe I will maybe I won’t.  Do stroller using moms approach strangers and try to get them to use a stroller? Imagine the horror if a breastfeeding mom walked up to a mom feeding her baby formula and tried to give that mom the benefits of breastmilk? So why do babywearing moms think it’s ok to intrude on random strangers and trying to convert them like Jehovah’s witnesses walking the neighborhood?
  6. Babywearing defies logic and science – Some sentiments I’ve seen suggest that some babywearing moms think babywearing defies science logic and fact at times. This is frequently in reference to flying with a baby – I’ve seen moms who thought babywearing was just as safe or safer than baby being in a car seat on a plane. Just like any parenting decision – you weigh the information and make the best decision for you and your family. I’ve worn on flights before. But I know for a fact it’s not safer. It’s a calculated risk I take. But I’ve seen babywearing moms ask about biking, kayaking, roller blading, ice skating, etc with their baby attached to them. NO. Just NO.

Now for all of these things that are said and done by a SMALL group of babywearers, there are many wonderful things that the majority of babywearers do and say daily. I just think that this small group, because they are generally more vocal, do a lot to hurt the cause and reputation of babywearing.

But the good – so much good! I’ve known and gotten help from many wonderful ladies, particularly the “Girasol Love All the Rainbows” group (because Girasol is a brand that generally produces rainbows, and if you see from my babywearing pics, it’s all I own and I love them). That group is fantastic, and helpful, and generally non-judgmental and also generally not looking to profit on the resale of their wraps in the swap. But there are many other groups that have wonderful helpful members too, that’s just the one I’ve had the best experience with personally.

Babywearing has also done so much for me. It’s allowed me to do many things that would’ve been difficult or impossible without – shopping with a fussy baby and toddler, putting a clingy baby down to sleep while keeping an eye on a toddler. And with my wraps, it’s comfy and cozy and also versatile – I can wear him on the front, on my hip and on my back in many different ways.

I’ve had people come up and ask me about my wraps and I’m happy to educate them. But I would NEVER approach a mom unsolicited to tell her about babywearing. I think calmly and easily going about my tasks while babywearing speaks greater volumes to the awesomeness of babywearing than going up to and harassing strangers like a used car salesman, particularly if the mom is already struggling and frustrated. If I’m struggling and having fussy babies, I’m already probably hot and irritable and might snap on you if you try to tell me how I could do it better. Just don’t do it, babywearers. Show them, don’t force them.

Then they can see how wonderful babywearing can truly be, without judgment and guilt trips and the like. I’m not sure there’s much cooler than knowing your baby is calmed and lulled to sleep just by being snuggled up close to you. But it’s also okay to put them down, and use strollers and car seats. Everything can be useful to some, and there is no cookie cutter one size fits all way of doing things – including babywearing.

Now if you don’t mind me, I’m going to go take my baby for a walk in his stroller … pity him. LOL.

What are the ways you’ve benefited from babywearing, or maybe not?

Remember when I said I wanted to be a babywearer …

Turns out I might be. 

 

(Not perfect form, I know fellow babywearers but it was my first successful attempt at a back carry so I was proud)

This little squishy bundle of adorableness … Loves to be with me. Or dad. Preferably me (hey I provide the food). But either way loves being held. And he may look teeny in the photo, but he’s not. A big ole 27″, almost 19lb, 5 month old. I love that he wants me so much but mommas arms get tired. Especially since he’s in the “I want to explore the world and see all the things” phase. This phase equals no matter which way I hold him, he cranks around to look in the other direction. Even harder on said momma arms. 

So I’m picking up the wraps and ring slings more. And attempting back carries. Because momma hold + baby turn around crank = not much getting done (plus the sore arms). Back carries used to terrify me. I practiced over my bed, many many times, only to end up sweaty and frustrated and too loose a carry to leave the bed. In fact, after my last attempt, not only did I fail but I ended up with baby spit up in my hair. Not once, but TWICE in the same attempt. Thats talent. 

So I decided the other day to finally give it a go again. This time, I used the couch instead of the bed. Wow! What a difference that made. I could comfortably sit while I worked on it. I could also brace him up against the back for some tension as well. And I actually got it and didn’t feel (AT ALL) like he was gonna fall out! The pic you see above is my finished product!

I know, fellow babywearers, that I have some work to do. And I got lots of feedback from Babywearing pros on Facebook on what I could do better and different carries to try. I really like this one though. I just need a shorter wrap now so I don’t have the long tails… Muahahaha. An excuse for another wrap! 

But the result felt very freeing. My little munchkin could explore the world. And I could enjoy my front free space, and free arms, once again! 

  

But I still love my strollers too. 🙂 

Edited to add: clearly he didn’t like it. 

 

I wanted to be a babywearer

I know a lot of people who love baby wearing. I read lots of blogs and babycenter posts that say handling a toddler and baby is achieved by baby wearing. It’s how stuff gets done when you have your hands full or a needy baby. The carriers are so cute and the moms and babies look so peaceful that I really wanted to be a baby wearer. I bought ergos, a ring sling, a woven wrap, a mei tai… All cute, thinking if they’re cute I’ll use them. And I figured with all the different styles I’ll find at least one that I love and I will become a baby wearer.

I’m not a baby wearer. Insert the sads here.

Ok, technically, I am. I’ve had many baby wearing moms say if I wear my baby I’m a baby wearer. And I do wear him some. But I love my stroller so much more. I love having my space and I love my baby having his space. The biggest relief to me was this week when I put him in the stroller and he loved it. I’ve been wanting to walk and get back into a non pregnant shape, but it’s been hard wearing the baby for me, it’s just so much more hot and sweaty when I’m already hot and sweaty. So I was finally able to put him in the stroller with his big brother and go for a non baby wearing walk. Yay!!

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But I do think that there are many carriers that the general parenting public isn’t aware of, and maybe would help someone like me find a way to wear their baby if they’ve been unsuccessful with the more popular carriers, so I’ll share my baby wearing trials and opinions here:

My favorite is my woven wrap. It was also the more expensive. Think Moby but longer lasting. Being woven rather than stretchy it’s more longer lasting. Mine is by Girasol. I actually want to buy another wrap because this thing is a beast to carry around with me, but the comfort (for me) and sleepy baby factor hasn’t been duplicated in another other carriers for me.

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Second on my list is probably my ring sling. This one is by Little Frog. I love it for its quick and easy up factor. It’s also very portable. It also can easily be used with my toddler if needed.

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Next would be my Ergo performance. I’m not a big fan of “structured” carriers (think buckles and straps) compared to my woven, but if I have to have one, this would be it. It’s got a mesh front which is great for where I live. I used to have a Beco Gemini, and I felt like that one was hard to figure out. The Ergo is easy to me. What doesn’t work for me as well on this one is that the straps run right under my arms (which doesn’t work well for a hot running engine like mine).

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Lastly would be the mei tai. In all fairness, I’ve only tried it once. It didn’t look nearly as comfy for my baby and the fabric wasn’t very comfy. I’ve heard good things about pricier ones, mine is just a cheap one by Infantino (I got it for $17 at Target to be exact).

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But to me – baby wearing hasn’t made me much more productive. I was disappointed because I’d read so much about how housework or dealing with a toddler is so much easier with baby wearing! To me, it’s hard to do housework with a baby strapped to my chest. Yes my hands are free if I’m trying to do dishes or fold laundry, but I have to work around this appendage on my chest. And dealing with the toddler – bahahaha! Maybe those who said this have calm toddlers. Mine will kick at me when I’m changing his diaper, trying to get him dressed, trying to put his shoes on, trying to do anything that isn’t exactly what he wants to do… And that’s not cool if I’ve got the baby on me.

However, baby wearing has come in handy during growth spurts, and wonder weeks, and developments where baby is just needier and fussier than usual, or will only sleep on me, and my arms or tired or my butt is asleep from recliner duty. I also never leave home without one because if I’m at the store shopping I do take them both in in the stroller but if the baby starts melting down and needs to be held – I still need to be able to finish up and get out of there and my carrier has saved me with that. So it does have usefulness to me for sure – but it’s just not something I do all the time, and I do like to have my space. I just have to keep telling myself that that’s ok.