I have written pretty extensively about my love for babywearing since beginning this blog. There is nothing in the world better than snuggling your little one close to your body, with their sweet heads right under your face within easy kissing reach. Safe babywearing is the ideal way to spend time with your baby, keep your sanity, chase a toddler, make a sandwich, and get things done.
I’d like to say I wore my son because of the many benefits to babywearing, but for me, it was truly something to save my sanity. He didn’t want to be put down, and I couldn’t carry him everywhere. I have worn him all over. I used to take plane trips with nothing more than my baby, my Ergo, my Ergo Backpack stuffed with diapers, and an ID. Seeing other moms pushing their strollers through security made me realize how convenient babywearing made travel.
I wore him during fireworks for 4th of July. He was wrapped up and slept through it all. I know that he felt safe and loved.
I have worn my son and nursed him while navigating through busy festival crowds and no one was the wiser.
To me, not babywearing (unless your child truly hates it, a rare but possible problem) is crazy.
The thing is, we need to do it safely. I think the majority of mothers who even use the term “babywearing” are doing it safely. These moms are using wraps, slings, soft-structure carriers, and so on. They are not usually wearing Baby Bjorns or the recalled elastic pouch slings. They didn’t get their carrier from Wal-Mart. These moms are in the know. But there are others who don’t know the correct positioning for a baby who is being worn. Just yesterday I saw a father wearing a very new baby, tummy to tummy, in a Baby Bjorn. The baby was practically down to his waist, and the back was not crossed correctly. How he figured this was how it should be done is beyond me. Did he even read the instructions? And, if you want to know my opinion, I feel the Baby Bjorn is far more dangerous than any properly made and used sling or SSC. Every time I see a baby dangling from their crotch, hardly even touching their parent’s body, I cringe. Who are these pediatricians who are endorsing this product as safe? Would you want to ride around on your crotch for hours?
To the CPSC has recalled a few slings recently, but their warnings made it seem that ANY baby carrier was unsafe. This sent a shockwave of panic amongst parents who worried that their carrier might be unsafe. Now it seems the babywearing industry is under further threats from the CPSC.
The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance is in need of monetary donations and help to spread the word. The BCIA can help standardize safety standards for slings and is very close to doing so. Hopefully this, along with better education about babywearing and how to do it safely, will prevent any further unnecessary infant deaths. Thanks to online videos and very descriptive illustration tutorials, I was able to learn how to wear my son safely and comfortably. I also don’t take for granted that there are local resources willing to teach classes on babywearing.
You can read the BCIA’s Position Paper on Babywearing/Kangaroo Care. This is a wealth of knowledge about the benefits of babywearing besides just the practical convenience of it.
Let’s be clear: Proper babywearing is safe! It is wonderful! It is beautiful! Don’t let all baby carriers suffer for the sins of a few. Let’s use common sense when babywearing. It really isn’t that hard!