The reason I started babywearing was because Aqil, in his infancy, was an incredibly high needs baby. I remember pretty much NEVER putting him down without a boob in his mouth for the first few months of his life. So babywearing initially was something to save my sanity.
But as he got older, and I really got into babywearing, a really great bonus appeared: babywearing made going out with him really easy! It wasn’t something I thought about much. I figured I’d never leave the house till he was a year old or growing a mustache or something (that’s how hopeless I thought life with baby was – welcome to the world of postpartum depression, huh?). But with babywearing, I saw the light.
I began going out a lot. Sometimes for walks around the neighborhood. Sometimes for a walk in the park. Most times for an awesome day out at the mall. Babywearing really proved its worth on one memorable occasion though: the epic more-than-24-hours journey from Kalamazoo to Kuala Lumpur when we returned here for good. The trip involved a plane that caught on fire and running through Detroit airport to catch a flight to Hong Kong. So believe me when I say it was epic.
Some benefits of babywearing when out and about:
- I’ve nothing against strollers, but there are benefits of babywearing that a stroller could NEVER replace. Seeing backs of people’s knees and the clouds in the sky just doesn’t give the baby the same learning opportunities that seeing (and touching!) trees at eye-level can give.
- It’s surprisingly more convenient for parents. I say this because I really thought my back would be killing me, but babywearing with a wrap made the baby weightless, and I didn’t have to deal with pushing a stroller into the back of people’s ankles and having to apologise profusely (we’ve all been there, right? Right??).
- It has a calming effect on babies and toddlers. Many babywearers say their carriers have “sleepy dust”. I can’t tell you how awesome it was when Aqil slept in the wrap for most of a 6-hour shopping trip at a factory outlet mall. Honestly, apart from my boob being sucked on about half the time, it was like he wasn’t even there.
- Easy to move around. For example, babywearers take the escalator. Enough said.
- Great teaching opportunity. Newborns and young infants have more quiet alert moments when they are worn, which is when they absorb the most amount of information. Older children, on the other hand, build their vocabulary and are “humanised” easily by learning social cues and facial expressions during social situations.
- The last, but most important, benefit of babywearing while out and about has to do with safety. I have an unhealthy obsession with Law & Order: SVU so I’m really paranoid about people taking my kids. I’m probably what you’d call hyper-vigilant, but I call it ‘A Loving Mom’. Anyway, babywearing keeps baby close to me and damn near impossible to grab, particularly when breastfeeding (nursing mums know what I mean when I say “The Chewing Gum Effect”, am I right?)
Those are just some of the perks of babywearing when I’m out of the house. I’d probably have even more to write about if we start talking about the benefits of babywearing while traveling! Or babywearing while teaching! Or babywearing while singing my heart out in the finale of The Voice! Just kidding. That one is but a dream for now.
So what benefits of babywearing while out and about have you found? Leave a comment!
(Note: This post was originally published on 15 September 2013)
Adriana Thani is a mum, writer, speaker and a natural parenting specialist, who’s passionate about birth, breastfeeding and babywearing. Her mission in life is to make sure every parent and child experiences the magic of babywearing, and she will soon be releasing a book about babywearing to make sure the message reaches out to more people. You can find out more about her at her website, www.adrianathani.com.