A lot of people believe baby wearing makes your child clingy, and I understand why. If you never put your child down, they will find being put down scary. If you never let your child explore their world, they’ll never have the confidence to explore it. I get that. But I also believe there’s are huge advantages to wearing your child.
Baby B is in a rather clingy phase, and as much joy as it gives me to sit on the sofa giving her cuddles and breastfeeds, I also have other children to look after, approximately two tonnes of laundry that needs doing, and layers of grime across every surface that need some kind of industrial strength acid to eat through it. So… your typical house with kids really.
If I’m going to get on top of any of the jobs that need doing, so we have plates to eat off and clothes to wear if nothing else, then I need to adapt.
That’s where the baby sling comes in!
I always used to “baby wear” Miss Rose. First in a front carry, though a buckled one not a wrapping one, and until last Summer when she simply got too big and heavy, I carried her everywhere in a backpack, rarely using a buggy. For Baby B, my friend donated this woven wrap to me and, after a few YouTube tutorial videos, I mastered it.
I walk around supermarkets with her quietly nestled into my chest, I get laundry done whilst she snores contentedly. Instead of her screaming hysterically whilst I ignore her misery, or holding her in my arms so physically cannot get jobs done, my arms are free and she’s happy.
I still leave her in her basket, I don’t wear her 100% of the time, and if she’s happily sleeping in there then I have no need to take her out, but at the same time I have something that works for us and means we can both be happy and relaxed.
So, will it make her clingy and insecure?
This was something that was suggested to me regularly when I was raising Miss Rose. Until last year she would often spend the entire night in my bed, and usually at least part of it. and as I said before, I carried her everywhere on my back for years. So many people told me that she would be too scared to do anything and would never cope away from me.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re very close. And we miss each other when we’re apart. When I was in hospital so much during my pregnancy and she spent sooo many nights at grandmas, the novelty wore off after a couple of days and she started to miss me so much she cried and acted out. But spending that much time away from your mother at this age is stressful even if you haven’t been carried as a baby.
But clingy and insecure? No.
Daredevil? Yes. Confident? Yes. Determined? Hell yes.
Because I didn’t stop her living her life, I didn’t stop her exploring her world, and I didn’t not let her have opportunities to experience trying things for herself. Opting to baby wear for comfort as a baby and transport as a biggie didn’t stop me allowing her and encouraging her to take on the world. Baby wearing mums aren’t smothering mums.
When I watch her swimming without armbands, climbing huge frames, whizzing on zip lines, spinning around on her bicycle, and confidently marching into her gymnastics class to take part in everything with enthusiasm, I don’t worry that I held her too much. When she’s missed me and we are snuggled into the each other and she tells me she’s my best friend forever and her love for me is strong as a rock, I don’t regret the bond we’ve forged.
Indeed, I hope to have a closeness to match ours with Baby B.
When she was growing up, I would watch Miss Rose charging around, confidently exploring the world around her, talking to anyone, and trying anything and everything that could offer an experience and I theorised about it.
She never worried where I was. She never worried she would fall and I wouldn’t be there for her. She was never afraid because she never needed to be. She felt confident enough to go off into the world because she had her mummy behind her.
The world is tough and the world will knock her down. It’s not my job to make her used to being knocked down, it’s my job to build her up so strong and high that when she’s knocked she can cope. When she falls off her bike she’s not used to the pain, she’s used to being put back on with a cuddle. When someone’s mean to her she’s not used to cruel words, she’s used to moving on because there’s always kind words around the corner. When she’s scared or lonely she’s not used to the sadness, she knows it won’t last.
I’d highly recommend baby wearing, weather it’s buckles and straps, or a woven wrap like this one. If for no other reason than being able to get jobs done. Because it’s super hard to do laundry whilst you’re carrying a baby. Because getting a pram AND a trolley around the supermarket is not possible. Because screaming and crying in a restaurant is stressful for everyone. And because they’re only small once, soon they won’t be light enough to carry so if they’re making your chores difficult you won’t have the option of a snuggly cure all.
And in my experience it breeds confidence not insecurity, and the desire to explore not clingyness.
This is my last baby, I’m going to enjoy every single carry and cuddle because soon she’ll be the size of Miss Rose and the baby days will be long gone.