I’m from the school of thought that believes babies ought to be loved and understood unconditionally. Having become a mom (and being relatively alien to motherhood at the beginning!), I would get opinions left and right from well-meaning mentors and fellow moms about raising my baby. I’ve heard every old wife’s tale, every child-rearing myth possible in the last six months, but as I’d look to my baby for affirmation, I realized I would be the only one who could completely understand what he needed and what he wanted.
I’ve taken to wearing my baby, as part of practicing attachment parenting. I elected not to hire a nanny for V, simple because I am not yet comfortable with the thought of anyone else attending to his vital needs except me. My hubby has been super instrumental in my choice to practice this, and cares for the baby as much as I do, in terms of hours spent with the child during the day while I work out of the house. V has progressed well, and despite some bouts with stranger anxiety during the fourth and fifth month of his life, he is generally a happy, secure, well-adjusted baby who does not give us any trouble. Being fully breastfed has obviously benefited him 100 percent, and he and I are as bonded as I can imagine mother and child would be at this stage.
Babywearing, for me, has so many benefits. Off the top of my head, I can think of my top three reasons:
1. Baby is secure, emotionally and physically. When babies are worn close to their parents, especially while they are young, they form stronger bonds with their mommies and daddies. Babywearing subscribes to the thought that touch and nurturing is the best form of affirmation for babies and parents. Worn babies have access to their parents at all times, which is especially important in cultivating a sense of trust between child and parent. I’ve noticed that, when carried, my baby is happier, more responsive, reaches for things and loves to touch and manipulate things with his hands. Of course, I mostly look forward to being able to cuddle him as much as I please.
2. It’s beneficial for the parent. Wearing my baby has definitely helped me to sweat it out a lot! As a result (and also due to much breastfeeding), my baby “pooch” has diminished tremendously, and I am able to get a good workout! How can I not with an almost 8-kilo baby to boot? Babywearing allows me to do my regular tasks (write assignments, eat lunch, do the groceries and shop, or even breastfeed hands-free). Even while V sleeps, I can carry him in my sling, where he can stay sleeping for a good one hour at times.
3. Worn babies are more keen and observant. Unlike babies who are often left in cribs, lying down or left often with nannies, babies who are worn by their parents are in an alert and observant state, curious about the world around them, their eyes always averting to the bustling of activity in the home or out of the house. When V is worn by either myself or his dad, his eyes light up and he seems to never tire of looking around. Each time, I know he is learning more and more about the world. Plus, it gives him and us comfort to hold him close.
More on babywearing and attachment parenting can be found at the following helpful sites:
- Attachment Parenting International – a helpful resource for articles and videos on AP
- Continuum Concept – view excerpts from Jean Liedloff’s excellent book on the continuum method and how to integrate these practices into your parenting journey.
Babywearing gear can be purchased at the following stores in Metro Manila