Who is babywearing for?
Is it for the natural mummies?
The hippy daddies? The ones who love rainbows? The attachment parents? The gentle parents? The strict parents? The routine parents? The just barely-coping parents? The totally-rocking-it-babies-are-a-breeze parents?
The trendy parents? Older parents, younger parents? Working parents or stay at home parents?
For second or third (or fourth or more) time parents who desperately need their hands free? And first time parents?
Parents who walk the dog, who like days out, who like to travel, and explore the countryside or new places? For lazy parents (as I was once accused of!)?
I imagine you get the idea!
Carrying babies is for every family whatever that family believes about babies, however they raise their children, whatever you look like or however you live your life.
We all carry our babies, whether in arms or in a sling.
However you identify what kind of person or parent you are, if carrying your child in a baby carrier appeals to you, for whatever reason, then you're doing something rather special that supports your baby's physical and mental health, and their emotional and social development. It helps to build a secure attachment, building bonds and connections.
I've witnessed the sudden increase of sling libraries and consultants across the UK, as well as being aware of communities all over the world. Babywearing is an ancient and modern worldwide human practice.
The world has moved on but our fundamental needs haven't. Babies are born with the same ancient human expectations, seeking a certain kind of experience of proximity and responsiveness. How whole and at ease do we feel as adults?
I discovered the idea of using slings before I was first pregnant and then planned to use them for at least the 'in arms phase' to meet my baby's needs. I'd heard about, then read The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff.
It looked very freeing, not just of your hands, but to feel relaxed and confident as a parent. To walk hand in hand with someone at your side, to be able to move around and go with your baby wherever we pleased.
For most of our first baby's first year we had regular lunchtime pizza dates while our son slept in the sling, until one day he woke up earlier than usual from his nap and discovered our secret.
We had a solution to many problems. Just carry them and will that help calm him?
When my second and third children came along I discovered also the joy of pushchairs. It was a new necessity after carrying had served me for so long. I love both my strollers and my slings. They do different things. Just thought I'd get this straight that any tool as a parent is fantastic if it helps make life work for you. I'm not only about slings. Just mostly.
Not everyone can or fancies the idea of carrying in a sling. And sometimes our babies have different ideas to us! There are other ways to enable contact, touch and responsiveness, though carrying in a sling aids this. It's the carrying that matters and has all the positive effects, not how you do so as long as it is safe and comfortable for you both.
I accept and value all parents who love their children and are building a trusting and loving relationship with them, however that might be. Babywearing isn't the be all and end all, but it really can be enjoyable, very helpful, rather transformational and really incredible in all kinds of families and situations.
This year's International Babywearing Week 2nd-8th October is all about being 'threaded together'. It is a week of celebrating, promoting and advocating for baby carrying, which I do nearly every moment of the day when I'm not sleeping. It's my life! And maybe it could be yours too.
The motto for Carry My Baby is Love. Carry. Live.
Inspired by the concept of minimalism (and being fairly successful at applying this to my personal sling stash!), my ethos is that through carrying we can love and care for our child easily, joyfully, and just get on with living our lives as families. Once you've found the right sling for that moment, then the rest will follow.