"Baby, you can drive my...Bob?!"

It sure seems like babies are in charge sometimes, doesn't it? I'll let you in on a little secret: it's not sometimes, it's most of the time!  But along the way in this new world of newborns, you, Mom, get to decide many of the big things on a daily basis. Like baby wearing..

There are many reasons for babywearing [babies are not intended to spend long periods of time in plastic shells like carseats; close to you is where they feel the safest and are the least fussy; wearing your baby allows you to learn them better, learn their signals, etc.]. Sharon Heller discusses this nicely in her book, The Vital Touch-

"Does it make a difference how baby is transported? Carried, our infant experiences body warmth, frequent position change, deep pressure touch, containment and rocking, to say nothing of the opportunities to balance her head, upright her posture or use her muscles for clinging.  When babies are wheeled all this is lacking ." (115-6).

In addition to these physical and developmental reasons why carrying/wearing is better than strolling, I wore Elisabeth (up until she was about 15 months actually) for three other reasons:

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  1. Sight. I wanted to see what Elisabeth sees. I couldn't do this consistently if she was at stroller level or below, unless I got down that low! That can get awkward for long stretches. Also, she couldn't talk for a while so the least I found I could do is pay attention, right? I found it was easier for me to pay attention, when she was right in front of me. I was less distracted and more focussed on her. I also wanted to see if her hat was covering her eyes, if a sock had fallen off or if her sunglasses have slid down to her mouth. Did Elisabeth notice the squirrel dangling from the tree branch, three steps in front of us? If she did, we could talk about it. That's not something I could notice as easily when she was in the BOB. Just as importantly, she could not see me when she is in the BOB. If Elisabeth cannot see me or feel my smile of reassurance and close touch, she might feel unprotected.
  2. Safety- It may seem silly but when Elisabeth was in the Bob, I used to worry that someone was going to swoop up from behind me, knock me over and wheel her away. (Okay, I still worry about this!) When I wore Elisabeth in her Bjorn, she was tucked right in front of me as, neat as a bib. Someone would have to make a huge amount of very obvious effort to wrestle her out of the Bjorn and steal her away. It wouldn’t be easy. Another fear of mine is not being able to see! I am very aware that my vision is terrible and like many near-sighted folks, I have recurring dreams of losing my glasses and then not being able to see anything. (Adventures in Babysitting, anyone???) If my glasses were knocked off somehow, Elisabeth in the Bjorn would still be close enough so I could see that she was okay...and find my way back home!

  3. Place- Elisabeth belongs in the world that I’m in. She may be a toddler now but even as a baby, she was still part of my world. I wanted her to be on face level with people who I talk to, even the “strangers” that we meet. Side note: I don't know if these early interactions helped remove stranger anxiety but that was never an issue for us! I also wanted Elisabeth to hear me talk to those "strangers".  And I wanted Elisabeth to hear them talk to HER, using her name. I don’t want Elisabeth to fear people outside her mama and her papa. I want her to see how I relate to people, why I trust them and how she can learn to do the same.  

Trust me, there will be PLENTY of time for strolling around in your amazing stroller in the months to come. And it'll be warmer! So, if your baby is still a little 'un, consider wearing her instead of carrying or strolling her around.  What are you thinking you'll do with your baby when s/he arrives?  Or what are you doing right now?  Share your thoughts below.  Like this post?  Click the adorable heart below, then watch what it does. Trust me, it's cute as a baby.

Posted on March 6, 2014 and filed under Babywearing.