I keep seeing it. The chatter and praise for baby-wearing. To the point of obsession with wraps and rings and best ways and which ones for different ages and sizes.
Want to wear your baby? Wonderful! I support that. (Although I do wish we could come up with something other than the word “wear” because it’s not like they are an article of clothing.) If you truly love it and your baby does too, then go for it. But it’s not for everyone.
I tried baby-wearing off and on for many years. Slings. Wraps. Carriers. Yep, tried them all. I always ended up doing the same thing: ditching the wrap, sling, carrier for good old carrying my baby in my arms on my hip.
Why in the world would I do that and not take advantage of having both arms free with my baby strapped safely across my front (or back)?
Reasons I Never Loved Baby-Wearing:
- Sometimes, I was spending more time putting my baby in and out of the carrier than it would take to simply walk into a place.
- Slings were SUPER awkward, and in hindsight, I see why they got such a bad rap (sorry, couldn’t skip that play on words.) With tiny infants, they can be unsafe, especially if used incorrectly.
- If I’m already working hard doing manual labor (often), sometimes an extra 25 pounds strapped to my back is not the best idea. (I need to consider myself sometimes, too.)
- If I’m at home, I would rather be able to sit and hold my baby in my lap and look at him, or swaddle him when he’s tiny.
When Baby-Wearing Makes Sense
The two times I still use baby wraps or carriers are when they are newborns and I have to be out in public with them. Wearing my baby is naturally a good way to keep the baby against my chest (the safest place for him for multiple reasons), and to keep people’s hands and faces away from him.
The only other time I put our older baby in a carrier is when we’re going for a walk or hike that doesn’t allow for me to push a stroller or when we’re camping and I can’t let him toddle about safely.
It’s a Preference
So for me, there are a few occasions when baby-wearing is appropriate and helpful to me, but otherwise, I carry my baby on my hip. Because I prefer it that way. That’s what works for me.
If you love baby-wearing because you think it’s fantastic, then by all means, go for it!
You Don’t Have to Baby-Wear to Be a Good Mom
Which brings me to the point of this post. You don’t have to baby-wear to be a good mom. The things you do as a mom, the choices you make in motherhood – those don’t define your success as a mother. Checking things off a list might make us feel like we’re doing a good job, but if we’re only doing them because many other people are, that’s not a good reason – and especially if those things don’t prove helpful to us.
At one point in time, I thought baby-wearing was something I had to master. Natural moms did it. Breastfeeding moms did it. So I should too, I thought. But it just wasn’t for me. I know how to use them. I know which ones to use for which ages. But I don’t always need one. And I’m not a bad mom for choosing otherwise. You aren’t either. If you’ve tried baby-wearing and just keep trying to make it work and it doesn’t, can I encourage you? You don’t have to make it work.
So, if baby-wearing works for you, hooray! I love that carrier on you! And if you’re like me and prefer a little more wiggle room, then that’s cool too!