Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Babywearing Elitists, or Our Own Little Babywearing Mommy War Rages On....

Now that the cat is out of the bag about my babywearing educator status, I wanted to address something I find to run rampant through the babywearing community that I have personally experienced and with which am very frustrated.

The Mommy Wars.

We see Mommy Wars everywhere, right?  Whether or not you breastfeed, formula feed, co-sleep, use a crib, buy used baby clothes, have a brand new nursery, wear your baby, or use a stroller - there's always someone thinking they're doing it better and judging for it, no matter how sad that is.

But in the babywearing community, there tends to be a specific trend of mommy war where moms even judge those in their own community, typically believing that those who wear their children in wraps are somehow more of a babywearer than those who use more commercially available carriers.

And - honestly?  It really pisses me off.

{Yep, I swore.  Pretty sure that's the first time ever on the blog.  But it makes me that angry.}

Comfy Joey Linen Ring Sling in Maui Sea Glass
For those of us that babywear, we all know the data.  Babies who are worn for three or more hours per day experience 43% less crying overall and 54% less crying in the evening hours.  It is especially helpful for those mothers at risk for PPD due to being able to learn the small quirks and personality traits of the baby as they're so close to you, making the mothers more confident.  One of my main reasons for babywearing is the ability to still do everything I need to accomplish, with two hands!

But the thing is - it doesn't matter what kind of carrier you're using.

Boba 3G in Soho - low riding due to my pregnancy :)
{Sure, sure, there are those carriers I don't typically recommend like the crotch danglers or forward facing carriers.  But if that's what you have and what you're comfortable with using, they are still workable.  So long as baby is SAFE, that's the main goal.}

However, between a wrap or a ring sling or a soft structured carrier like an Ergo - or almost any other type of baby carrier - they're all accomplishing the same goal.  Baby is happy, mama is happy, and in my experience life is just a whole lot easier.  I mean, it's called babywearing, right?  Not babywrapping?  There is a reason why the term is more all-encompassing, in my opinion.

Moby wrap in Orange
I have been wearing Little Man since he was just a few months old, so for almost two full years at this point. I honestly prefer a ring sling and a soft structured carrier for almost all uses, except for a high back carry in a wrap when my baby is still small enough not to be ready for a SSC back carry just yet.  Don't get me wrong, wrapping is absolutely a favorite of a large number of babywearers, and there is nothing wrong with that.  It just doesn't happen to be my personal favorite, and it doesn't happen to make me any less of a babywearer than a wrapper is.  I get too hot with a wrap, it takes me too long to put on {even if it's only a minute more}, and with my OCD I innately really don't like having the tails drag around on the ground in a parking lot or while out on the town.  But this seems to be an anomaly in the babywearing community.

It seems like the general trend of babywearing to those without babywearing friends initially tends to be as follows: buy a crotch dangler, use it for a while, hate it, find something different, begin to use a ssc/stretchy wrap/ring sling, love it, fall even deeper in love with babywearing, buy a woven wrap, go crazy and buy all the woven wraps.

{BUY ALL THE THINGS!!!  Sorry.  Couldn't help myself}

Comfy Joey Toddler Width Silk
For me, I got stuck on loving a few of the intermediate steps, and have for the most part stayed there.  But once a lot of women delve into the world of wraps, there's often this underlying feeling of disgust from some members of the babywearing community that anything but wrapping just isn't good enough.

And that just isn't true.  

I've heard people saying just the silliest things lately, like they won't babywear in something that has a buckle on it.  Or that all other methods of wearing are inferior to wrapping because wrapping takes more skill than other forms of babywearing.  Or that certain types of wraps {stretchy or gauze wraps} aren't the right kind, implying that woven wraps are the only acceptable wraps.  Or that using certain types of carriers isn't actually babywearing.  Um, say again?  Baby is worn on your body, right?  Yes?  Then it's babywearing.

Moby GO
One of the reasons I wanted to become a babywearing educator is to help mothers, fathers, and family members find the carrier that is right for them.  Not based on what the babywearing community elite says, not based on the high cost of a carrier {bigger isn't always better, friends}, and not based on the status of a carrier.  But really based on each person's need.

While I love babywearing and want to continue in my path of learning {which - yes, includes more wrapping}, the main reason I want to teach it is to help those people who don't babywear at all or have very little experience with any kind of carrier.  To find the correct carrier for their child, type of use, and budget.

And if that means someone {Ahem, DH} loves wearing our baby in the $10 used Infantino Mei Tai, then great!  You can still wear your baby just as close to you with a less expensive option as you can with that $500 wrap that costs more than a rent or mortgage payment for a lot of people.

Infantino mei tai style carrier
I don't know that there is any strong solution to the problem of the elitist believing their choice is better than any other mother's choice.  In my experience, trying to change an opinion that someone believes strongly is fighting a losing battle.

The only thing that I can do is go forward in this new role as a strong, positive educator about ALL different carrier types, and - while being upfront about safety and proper use - get parents and caregivers excited about any carrier that holds their child, whether it ties off in a knot, with a buckle, or in a ring.  Because, in my experience, that carrier most always holds a happy, content, snuggled child.

Organic Petunia Pickle Bottom Ergo
Has anyone else ever felt judged regarding their babywearing?  I'd love to chat about it in the comments!

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All data taken from BWI

15 comments:

  1. Firstly - yay! You got your Ergo from Snuggle Bugz! Love it!

    Secondly...the babywearing community TERRIFIES me! Anytime someone post a pic on IG, there's always at least someone pointing out any 10 things that are wrong. I'm not a babywearer, I have a Cat Bird Pikkolo carrier that I used with Ethan when he was younger for grocery shopping...I know the basic things to look for with his hip level and making sure the soft straps aren't somehow digging into his legs...but I rarely post a pic of me wearing him for fear someone is going to tear me down. If I wore him more often, I would certainly ask someone like yourself to make sure I was doing it right...but the little I do, when he's only in it for 10-30 minutes at a time...I just avoid the babywearing community for that reason. I'm glad you're out there to be a good advocate.

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    1. Thank you again Sarah for running the Snuggle Bugz giveaway, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the PPB Ergo. I seriously swoon over that pattern. :) And thank you so much for your kind words. :)

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  2. Excellent post love! I often feel like I am looked down upon for my choice in carrier(RS)I sometimes dont feel like I belong to the baby wearing community because of the naysayers. I dont really understand the point of being negative about it - as you said its called babywearing....I have always wondered if its due the the complicated(at least for me) technique to wrapping that some wrappers feel like they are doing it better....enh anyway who cares - I love wearing my babes <3 even if its not the popular choice!

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  3. Also I loves how "pisses" is cursing for you - I was expecting a F bomb LOL

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    1. Hahaha, I could add in another curse in front of pisses if that'd make it sound more angry? ;)

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  4. Such a great post, I couldn't agree more. I love my Ergo, my husband loves the Kelty Carrier and I think I'll eventually try a ring sling. It's all babywearing to me! I'm glad there are people with your perspective that serve as educators. :)

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    1. Whenever you're ready to try a ring sling let me know, I may just have a few around here... ;)

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  5. Such a wonderful post! I had a Moby wrap when my son was an infant and we both hated it. Same with a sling I purchased. It wasn't until we bought a cheap Infantino soft-structured carrier that we started enjoying babywearing. At 15 lbs it was a huge strain on my back/shoulders, so I invested in an Ergo. I, for one, love that it buckles. I feel like he's more secure in it. I also knew my husband would be more likely to wear our son if he didn't have to tie anything. :)

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    1. My husband was very much into the Ergo until he recently discovered the mei tai as well!

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    2. I have the same Mei Tai and love it. I also have a couple wraps and love them as well. Loved this post.

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  6. I am starting to babywear. We currently have a Moby but know I know what is out there and I want a kinderpack, badly! They are super stylish and from what I hear really easy to help wear baby.

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  7. I initially had a snuggly, but after a few months my back started to hurt, which is when I heard about the ergo. I LOVE my Ergo, I used it daily with my daughter and now, just as frequently with my son. I just recieved a seven sling from a friend and I am in love, I know there's probably something better as far as a sling or wrap, I just don't know enough. For me, I definitely consider myself a babywearer, but I am overwhelmed by options and price.

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  8. People are nuts, hands down. they seriously get into arguments b/c something has a buckle!? For the love, people. That must take so much effort to get annoyed at things like that!!

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  9. Yes, I have often felt judged about babywearing. We have a Baby Bjorn Miracle carrier. My son loves it, and he ONLY wants to be worn forward facing. He cries and screams otherwise. So I get "the look" from other moms when I'm shopping in Whole Foods or visit our local cloth diaper store for A. Wearing him in a "crotch dangler" (even though there's no medical evidence that says the Baby Bjorn causes hip dysplasia, just a ton of rumors, hearsay, and round about reasoning). and B. Wearing him forward facing, because apparently that is terrible for him (also debatable). YET, he's happy and clearly not in pain/discomfort.

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    1. Elisebet - just coming back to this, have you heard about the new Ergo carrier that has an ergonomic forward facing seat option?

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