Is Baby Wearing JUST for Attachment Parenting?
I’d like to preface this by saying that I don’t find anything wrong with attachment parenting. It is simply a different style of parenting, one that I probably agree with and practice on many points. I think we may disagree on the co-sleeping thing (a point of contention for another post) but that is about it. However, there are some issues regarding baby wearing, something that attachment style parents advocate firmly, that should be addressed.
For starters, there are parents out there concerned that too much holding of your baby, something heavily promoted by the act of baby wearing, will create a clingy, co-dependent child. This is actually the opposite of what happens. It turns out, according to Attachment Theory in developmental psychology, that babies held often develop healthy forms of attachment to their caregivers that will turn into social well adjustment as opposed to detached parenting which often leads to unhealthy forms of attachment in the child that could degenerate into mental health issues (*1). To translate, wearing your baby builds confidence and trust in them as well as strengthens your bond. This leads to a happy and mentally healthy child. Not wearing your baby and otherwise being emotionally unavailable will make your kid grow up to be co-dependent, depressed, anxious and even anorexic.
The next concern is that wearing your baby could cause bad habits. For example, if your baby, delighting in the warmth and motion of their mommy (or daddy), falls asleep often while being worn, will this not then create a difficult pattern to break when it is time to sleep in a crib? While this concern does seem to have a logical basis, I think it is a bit paranoid. Your baby will ALWAYS prefer to sleep in a womb-simulated environment. That is a preference. However, that doesn’t mean it is the only method they will accept. Your baby will have other preferences too, and sometimes fight you on them. As parents, we control their choices. Just like when we had to wean our precious into sleeping in the room alone, we may have to adjust them to sleeping in the crib at nap time sometimes too. Kids are resilient little suckers though. They get over things.
Lastly, many are concerned over horror stories heard about some dangerous products. There have been some botched attempts at baby wearing products. Those, however, have set the precedence for higher safety standards. Nowadays carriers and slings have to pass safety tests regulated by the government (*2) in order to be sold to consumers. While some carriers and carrier methods may be superior to others, anything you find on the market today is likely safe enough to not cause serious harm to your child. That being said, I don’t recommend you bungee jump while baby wearing or hang at a 30 degree angle over a tiger enclosure. Baby carriers are designed to securely fasten your baby to your body and alleviate the need to carry around a car seat (*3), but it doesn’t protect your baby from stupid.
So all in all, baby wearing is for every parent of a baby. There really are no negatives. It’s been proven to be physically, emotionally and mentally healthy for both Mom and baby. If you aren’t wearing your baby, maybe it’s time you should consider it.
If you would like a high quality, all natural baby carrier of your own that is comfortable for you and your little one, try the Mo+m Carrier from Mothers On the Move. Visit http://amztk.com/momcarrierReferences:
*1 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_parenting
*2 – https://www.cpsc.gov/en/Regulations-Laws–Standards/Federal-Register-Notices/2013/Safety-Standard-for-Soft-Infant-and-Toddler-Carriers-Proposed-Rule/
*3 – http://www.attachmentparenting.org/pdfs/spadaro_babywearing.p