Babywearing. I love it and I’m passionate about keeping my daughter close and letting her feel my love, and yet I feel uneasy about sharing this with other moms. Why? Because more and more I see babywearing presented by enthusiasts as a “should” when I think it’s important to think of it as a privilege and a choice. Like so many other parenting choices, baby carriers vs. strollers is now a defining decision that will label you as natural or mainstream, as granola crunchy or as Manhattan Mom. And the judgment ensues. Why does it have to be that way?
My daughter is practically old enough to drive now (well, at least the vehicle pictured here) and yet I’m still grappling with a back injury I sustained when 7 months pregnant with her. This has affected my ability to carry her more than anything else, and it has been hard. I want to pick her up. I carry her around far more than I should. But for me, the right choice was to have baby carriers on hand and also have a good stroller for walks in the country. As much as I have clung to carrying my daughter, it may not have been the best choice for my own health to even babywear as much as I did. It’s a tough balancing act between making sure she has the physical touch and attention she needs and keeping me on the path to healing as quickly as possible.
So, if you are in that place where you are considering purchasing a baby carrier or a stroller, all I can tell you is to go with your instinct, but to be flexible with life’s circumstances. What really got my attention was when my neighbor confided she still had hip issues (her daughter is 8!) from carrying her around in a hip carrier as a baby. I think we all just need to cool our green little heels for a second and think about the longterm affects that babywearing can have on us as moms if we do have an injury or other physical challenge to deal with. I still believe babywearing was incredibly valuable for bonding with my sweet daughter, but as with all things in life, this choice has been a daily one for me requiring much thought and patience.
Do you use baby carriers? Have you had an injury or physical challenge prevent you from babywearing? I would love to hear your story in comments.