Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why I miss wearing my baby and a study that backs up what my instinct tells me is right

Ever since Jack-Jack became sick, I haven't been able to wear him other than the times we take him with us when we hear the Sunday mass. Before, our weekends were fully booked, going from one place to another, to showcase the baby to some person, or to bring him with us while we do our errands since I'm the source of his food so where I go, he goes, too. And when we're out and about, walking around the mall, doing our grocery, hearing mass, waiting for the time, he'd be in the sling (may it be my ring sling, my pouch, or my SaYa) and he'd be quietly snoozing or looking about. He'd usually fuss when he's already hungry, or when his stomach is rumbling, signalling that he's about to poop, or even just pee. When he was still just less than two months old, and I still wasn't that confident with my babywearing, he'd fuss just after a while. But now that I'm more confident (after seeking live demos and assistance) and he's a few months older than before, Jack-Jack is more behaved, and he'd be looking about quietly, feeling secure and comfortable in the sling, that he'd fall asleep in it after a while or when he feels like snoozing already.

Wearing him when we're out and about frees my two hands to do other things like hold J's hand, carry the diaper bag, point out objects to Jack-Jack, smooth out his hair, eat properly (or almost), etc. And while I do all these, Jack-Jack feels like he's actually being held by my hands and that he is where the action is. Plus, we've received looks (of curiousity and appreciation, too) and one time even, when we were going out of church, an old lady (who looks like a grandma) asked where we bought the sling, saying that it would be a big help in carrying the baby since holding her (the baby is a girl) the whole duration of the mass was straining and tiring. Even family members were in awe of the way we carry our baby (because yes, even JP wears him).

And I miss wearing him. I miss going out with him and letting him experience the world, with me by his side, so that whenever he feels too stimulated or startled, I'm just within his reach and I him, ready to soothe him and reassure him that all is well and that mommy (or daddy) is with him and that nothing will harm him. I miss feeling him snuggle and looking down to see that he's already asleep, lulled by my heartbeat and my footsteps, not caring if the rest of the world are noisy or chaotic. I miss smiling in wonder at his peaceful sleep amidst being in a noisy children's party, with the other guests staring in awe at how he's able to sleep with the noise level.

Wearing him is tantamount to carrying him, something I feel my baby shouldn't ever feel deprived of. I've heard alot of well-meaning moms telling me to not let him get used to being carried since he'd always want to be carried, especially when trying to get him to sleep. I'd usually just smile, sometimes I'd answer that Jack-Jack is actually already used to being carried, since I want to carry him, all the time, before he grows up and runs away from me when the time comes that it's me who wants to carry him or hug him. And I've stumbled on two articles here and here which says that carrying the baby is what the baby needs after being born. It helps them develop into having active roles when they become toddlers in the household as they were attached to a busy caregiver when they were babies, helping them adjust to the world they now belong to by laying the foundation for the baby's later experience. And these might just be the answer I can say for when others would advice me to put the baby down so he wouldn't get used to the cuddling, even if my real reason is a personal one (or is it): I want to hold my baby, while he still needs me for food, comfort, and reassurance, things he'd be able to get on his own when he grows older.

I will delve more into attachment parenting when I've read more but in the meantime, here are some websites on babywearing and attachment parenting can be found Instinctive Parenting, Dr. Sears' website, and Attachment Parenting International website.


craft said...

hi! I know this an old post of yours but I'm kind of in a dilemma and maybe you can help me out since you are a "baby wearer". Hubby and I both like the idea of baby wearing since it will
- keep baby close to us
- hands free (no weilding of bulky strollers or problem of where to put it in the car)
- we can both hold our older kid's hand (we have a 6yr old)
- less expensive than a stroller

but there are some things that we are worried about:
- will this cause further strain on my back (my back pains have never gone away after i had my first child)
- where will we lay him down when we are eating out?? (how do you properly eat when you are holding/wearing a baby?)
- we love to go brisk walking/jogging in the early mornings and how do we do that with a baby strapped on us ( it can be hot, sweaty, etc..)?
- it seems like we would be carrying a lot of things if we go for the sling ( baby, baby bag, my bag, our son's bag - we carry it for him sometimes when he's all to sweaty from running) unlike when you have a stroller and it has a basket underneath for you to place your things

hope you can help me out. thanks!

Pat Grace said...

hi there! i'm no expert babywearer but i do have some experience so i'm going to try and answer your questions. it'd still be best if you can consult your doctor regarding your back problem.

- there are a few known carriers that do not cause or add back strain on the back. from what i've been reading, the mei tai and the ergo are your best bets. plus, the higher you wear your baby, the less strain is placed on your back.
- when my husband and i eat out, one of us actually carries the baby now that he's older and more active. but when he was less than 7 months old, he'd be in the carrier while we eat. i think i have a few pictures proof of that.
- when using a carrier, it's best to remember that the carrier is another layer of cloth to your baby plus you'd be sharing body heat. so what i can recommend is that both of you dress lightly and always check your baby, i.e. if he's sweating profusely already, he feels hot, he's a little red, etc.
- for me, when we go out with my baby, i don't bring my own bag. i just stuff my cell and my wallet in the diaper bag. then the sling either stays on me or stuffed resting in between the bag's handles.

hope i was able to help you a bit! :)