Babywearing Myths Busted!

As many of my readers and friends will be well aware, Mr and Mrs Lighty both love a spot of babywearing. Indeed, we have even been known to bicker over who gets to wear Baby Lighty on occasion, and we always have to pack both of our trusty Connecta Baby Carriers, as one print is my favourite and one is Mr Lighty’s favourite and we’ll usually both want to wear him while out and about. So imagine my dismay yesterday as I sat and watched a certain popular daytime television programme talk extremely negatively about babywearing, and do nothing to dispel often incorrect babywearing myths.

Babywearing Myths Busted!

No one can claim this cheeky little chappy doesn’t like being in the sling!

I sat and watched the panel talk about the rise of the so-called ‘pack-pony’ parenting culture – i.e. carrying your child even once they could walk – and wonder why these comments were being made if these mothers hadn’t ever babyworn themselves? Did they not know that, actually, it’s a complete babywearing myth that it ‘breaks your back’? Did they not realise that often, carried children are secure enough in themselves to be of an adventurous nature when set down from the sling? Or that, actually, it’s easier to carry a rolled up sling in your bag for the times when your little one tires of walking and needs to be carried than it is to lug an empty buggy around after them?

I sat there shaking my head, then did what I normally do: took to Twitter. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I didn’t want to rant too much, as, at the end of the day, parenting is always a matter of choice. And babywearing isn’t for everyone. But it would be a mighty shame if someone was put off of babywearing simply because of a daytime television programme incorrectly sprouting some babywearing myths, wouldn’t it?

So, if you are thinking about babywearing, I’m here to bust some of those babywearing myths or at least just add some general comments and thoughts on wearing your baby, toddler or child:

Babywearing Myth 1: Babywearing ‘breaks your back’

Far from it, actually. Babywearing distributes the weight of your baby evenly across your back, making it much easier to carry them. It’s why we’ve taken the sling with us to weddings and birthday parties in the past, as if he gets tired and needs carrying, it’s easier to pop him in the sling than just carry him in our arms. I wouldn’t ever attempt a walk without a sling, as I couldn’t carry Baby Lighty for a long distance just in my arms when he gets tired of walking.

Babywearing Myths Busted!

Doesn’t everyone accessories with a baby in a sling at a wedding?!

Babywearing Myth 2: A child doesn’t need to be carried once they can walk as they’ll become lazy

See myth 1. Does a child that can walk need to be carried in your arms occasionally? Yes of course they do. The sling just facilitates this. The same wouldn’t be said about a buggy, once a child can walk. Parents regularly use buggies over long distances without comment, so why not use the sling?

I find it actually encourages me to get Baby Lighty walking more, as I know that I’ve got the sling as back up for when he does tire. We went to a country park at the weekend, and at 19 months old, Baby Lighty easily walked half a mile before asking to be picked up. At that point, out came the sling for the rest of our hour’s walk! There’s no way he could’ve managed as long a walk as Mr Lighty and I, and so taking the sling meant that we didn’t have to lug an empty buggy with us across the uneven terrain.

Babywearing Myths Busted!

In the sling in September 2016 at 15 months, having tired his little legs out after walking round the entirety of the English Heritage’s Down House.

Babywearing Myth 3: Babywearing will make your child clingy

Now I know that I have nothing to compare him to, but I would not say that Baby Lighty is clingy. In fact, he’s probably a bit too curious and independent, if you can be such a thing! He’s never once cried when we’ve left him at the childminder’s, and when he’s actually in the sling itself, one of his favourite pastimes is to have a little nose at his surroundings, often playing peekaboo with fellow passengers on the bus, or waving and shouting “hello!” at them.

Babywearing Myths Busted!

My extremely non-clingy, adventurous and inquisitive toddler trying to pinch some strawberries!

Babywearing Myth 4: Once a child gets to a certain age, they won’t want to parent-face any more

Well, I can tell you, that at 19 months Baby Lighty is still more than happy to parent face, and yet he is one of the most inquisitive children I’ve ever come across. I wear him almost exclusively on my front, and as soon as he sees that I’m putting the sling on, he runs around in excitement shouting “Shoes! Coat!” and finding the relative attire for me to dress him in as he knows it means an outing is on the cards for him. He can’t be that worried about still being parent-facing, judging by that reaction.

Babywearing Myths Busted!

We love babywearing!

And if they do get sick of parent-facing, well what do you think a hip carry or back carry is for?!

Babywearing Myth 5: Babywearing is only for ‘hippy’ mums or ‘attachment parents’

No, actually, it’s not. And quite frankly, even if I am a hippy mum, I don’t really care. It’s true that I do follow some of the principles of gentle parenting, and we did Baby Led Weaning, but I didn’t breastfeed for longer than a month, and we don’t co-sleep. But that’s not to say that I think that breastfeeding or co-sleeping or any parenting techniques that aren’t neglectful or harmful to the child are wrong. Babywearing won’t be everyone’s choice, either, and that’s fine too. We all do what’s best by our families, and what suits our children’s needs.

And that’s kind of my point, I suppose. For me, babywearing is about attachment to a certain extent; it’s about allowing Baby Lighty to enjoy fireworks because he knows that he’s snuggled up safely next to Mummy in the sling, it’s about allowing him to get some shut eye on Daddy after having a very exciting day whilst on holiday, it’s about giving him some comfort when he’s feeling poorly and it’s allowing him to feel secure as I go about my daily tasks when, for example, he’s feeling a bit wary because there’s plumbers that he doesn’t know in our home fitting a new boiler.

Babywearing Myths Busted!

Napping on Daddy after a busy day of soft play and swimming whilst we were away at New Year!

It’s also about convenience on public transport and convenience when on long walks or in places where it’s not necessarily suitable for Baby Lighty to walk; it’s about giving him a vantage point from which to see the world, it’s about having our hands free during those times when he wants to be close to us but we still have chores to do.

And I suppose that’s why I’m currently thinking about upsizing to a toddler sling, and why I’ll carry on carrying him while he needs me to. He’ll only be little for such a short space of time, after all. If you’re considering it, don’t let Babywearing Myths put you off: it really is a wonderful experience for both the parent and child.

If you fancy something a bit more ranty on the subject but very eloquently put, my lovely friend Abi of Something About Baby has a wonderful open letter to the production team of Loose Women over on her site now!

•••
For All Things Spliced, follow The Lightys on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Proud to be linking up with:

Mummuddlingthrough
The Pramshed

Pink Pear Bear

Rhyming with Wine

33 thoughts on “Babywearing Myths Busted!

  1. I heard about the TV programme making negative comments, but I don’t understand why. What’s it to them if parents want to wear a baby sling?! I wore a baby carrier with my second child a lot more because it was easier to deal with a baby and a toddler all at once! I enjoyed the closeness and wish I’d done it more. Like you say, it’s much easier to cope with a baby / toddler on public transport and get some chores done! #CoolMumClub x
    Cheryl @ Tea or Wine recently posted…What The Comeback Kids do to Our MemoriesMy Profile

    1. I would wear even more if we had another baby, and yet I use the sling probably twice a week on average now, even at 19 months old! I think it would be a Godsend with a baby and a toddler! Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 #CoolMumClub

  2. Well said Mrs Lighty! I have often thought about writing a post about babywearing called ‘Not your average baby wearer’ but then I realised this in itself was an insult…what the hell is a ‘baby wearer’ other than a person wearing a child in a sling? Time to drop the prejudice and labels. I just thought babywearing was a super lovely way to get stuff done while having a little snuggle. I loved all the comments I got about my little cutie in there too. Shame of loose women for being so judgemental.
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 54My Profile

    1. I dunno, I quite like the idea of the ‘not your average babywearer’ 🙂 I wonder how many of us fit that mould?! 🙂 Thanks so much for hosting #CoolMumClub as always!

    1. Ah cool, I really hope it makes you try it, even if you just borrow a sling or carrier from a friend or sling library. It is sooooo much easier to carry Baby Lighty in the sling than in my arms, mainly because the weight is distributed more evenly and the baby is supported. Thanks so much for stopping by! #CoolMumClub

    1. I LOVED babywearing at weddings and parties last year, and will definitely do so again this year. It just gave him a bit of a chance to rest and nap when it all got a bit overwhelming and also let me have my hands free. We had a wedding when he was 9 weeks old and didn’t take the sling, I really really regretted it.

  3. I can’t believe people would have a problem with babywearing. These people can’t have tried it or thought much about it at all! I had a sling I used for both of my babies. I didn’t use it all the time, but there were times when it was the perfect thing and much better than a buggy. For example, I took my eldest to the Olympics in 2012 when he was 7 months old. It would have been impossible to do it with a buggy instead of the sling. Great post, dispelling the myths. I heartily agree. #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. Yes that’s exactly what I do too! I assess where we’ll be going and what we’ll be doing when we get there and then choose between the buggy and the sling accordingly. Makes life so much easier in certain circumstances. Thanks so much for stopping by! #fortheloveofBLOG

  4. I hadn’t seen the programme, and I haven’t actually used a sling either, but I really wish I had! Mstr Tot loves “duddles” and likes to be carried after a point when walking and I’ve never had a problem with that. He’s only 2 and so we can’t expect him to walk as far as we do with his big sister. As you say – this would otherwise be the point where he would be put in his buggy, but who wants to bump about a huge buggy just for the sake of it? We always end up just carrying him in our arms, which I can confirm DOES break your back! I’m so disappointed that Loose Women would feel the need to attack anyone’s parenting choices. I would have thought that they would have been a little more supportive to mums in general. Very well said hon. Visiting you today via #coolmumclub xx
    Rhyming with Wine recently posted…#happylittlebuttons January 2017 Round UpMy Profile

    1. My daughter will be 2 in April and I carry her very comfortably in a baby/toddler carrier! I didn’t buy my carrier until she was just over a year old and I wish I’d bought it sooner! I gave siatica and hurts my back more to carry her without the carrier than it does to have her on me for hours in the carrier! I’m going to continue carrying her until she doesn’t want to be carried anymore! We use the buggy alot too but it has been great to have the carrier in certain situations where a buggy just wouldn’t have worked so well x x

      1. That’s exactly it, we mix and match with the buggy and him walking. Baby Lighty is only 19 months but loves to walk. And he tends to prefer the sling to the buggy. We started using our Connecta at about 4 months old, and I wish I’d worn him more in the stretchy wrap that we had when he was tiny. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post 🙂

    2. Ah thanks so much Dawn. It sounds like Mstr Tot would love a sling! We couldn’t be without ours. Plus, you know, baby cuddles!! I know, I’m really disappointed that Loose Women aren’t really supportive of all women in general, or at least open to an educated debate about it all. Thanks so much for stopping by from #CoolMumClub xxx

  5. I’ve done a bit of baby wearing and I agree with all your points. This is one of the things I hate about Loose Women—why not provide the alternative viewpoint as well? Then people can make their own mind up. #bigpinklink

    P.S. LOVE your skirt (or dress?) at the wedding. It’s gorgeous.
    Kelly recently posted…I am grateful because… #1My Profile

    1. That’s exactly it, why didn’t they present it, or even argue it, from both viewpoints? There are advantages and disadvantages to everything, so why not show that?

      Ah thank you, it’s a skirt and it’s from Apricot 🙂 I bought it originally with this pink vest for Baby Lighty’s Christening, but also wore it at Christmas with a black vest 🙂 #BigPinkLink

  6. I loved baby wearing – but now my 19-month-old refuses to get in the carrier anymore! She cries when I take it out, which is a real shame, because it was such a lifesaver when we took long walks or went on holiday (she won’t use a pushchair either). I’ve started using a hipseat as a compromise, so she can sit on a little seat that’s attached to my waist via support belt. She can’t sleep in it and it’s not hands-free, but it’s better than just carrying her in my arms! #DreamTeam
    The Squirmy Popple recently posted…How to carry a large, clingy toddlerMy Profile

    1. Ah I dread this day coming. Baby Lighty is 19 months now but is still quite happy in the sling for the time being. I think he likes the closeness and cuddles and knows that he’ll be going on an outing once I get it out. The hipseat sounds like a good compromise in the meantime! Thanks so much for stopping by! #DreamTeam

  7. I won’t stop carrying my child when she is too old, I’ll stop carrying her when she is too big.

    I think it was disgraceful of that show to comment on a parenting choice with no balance of views or anyone on the panel with baby wearing experience. Why is it still a thing to put down other peoples parenting choices to validate our own. Its wrong.

    Great counter and myth-busting.
    #dreamteam

    1. Thank you very much. I totally agree with you. I’m all for difference of opinion and healthy debate, but it was so one sided! Thanks so much for stopping by. #DreamTeam

    1. Ah thank you so much! To be honest, if you’re a babywearer it’s probably best that you didn’t see the show, as all of the babywearers that I know were mightily annoyed by the comments!! Thanks so much for hosting #BigPinkLink! 🙂

    1. I bet, just as I’ll miss it once Baby Lighty insists on walking!! But then you little ones still need cuddles and carrying after a while, right?! Thanks so much for stopping by! #DreamTeam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge