I wore my first baby in a sling starting the day she was born. I knew no one else in person who owned a baby carrier, but another local homebirthing parent recommended that I read Dr. Sear’s Baby Book. I learned about babywearing from Dr. Sears, and my local baby store happened to sell ring slings with big, padded rails in pastel baby patterns.
I practiced wearing a 10lb bag of flour while I was still pregnant and had my husband do the same. I told him it was only fair he carry around the flour all day long since I was carrying at least twice that much baby weight.
By the time my daughter was born, my husband and I both wore her tucked up close to our chests.
This was a baby carrier lifetime ago.
Once I discovered Maya Wrap ring slings, I never wore another pastel nor padded sling. My daughter was close to me all day long. She loved facing out, seeing what I saw.
Several people told me that my daughter must be uncomfortable sitting in her sling, but I reminded them that she was, until very recently, quite a bit more tightly packed inside me and that I was quite confident that she was comfortable and happy.
I carried my daughter safely and happily in a sling until she was a toddler and just stopped asking to be carried. She often slept nuzzled into my neck, hid in my hair, and watched my students as I taught university classes. The sling made my life easier and kept my baby close to me when she wanted to be close.
I can’t imagine how I would have parented my babies without a sling, but this is a real possibility for future parents in Canada and the U.S.
Baby sling safety has been called into question by consumer groups, Health Canada, and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Most baby carriers on the market today are similar in style to traditional carriers around the world. These are time-tested carriers that give mothers freedom to carry on with their work while giving a baby closeness that helps with physical, mental, and emotional development. Unfortunately, the CPSC “has mistakenly lumped all carriers together and inadvertently tainted our industry as a whole.”
“Baby slings are the optimal place for babies to spend time safely developing and bonding to parents in a nurturing environment. Research shows that this caregiver attachment and stimulating, safe environment are critical to early childhood development. Parents, educators, advocates, manufacturers, and our civil servants need to stand together to maintain the rights of babies and allow parents to buy, make and use baby slings.” From “Position Paper on Babywearing and Kangaroo Care,” Baby Carrier Industry Alliance, October 2010.
The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) has gathered 50 years of scientific research showing the benefits of infant carrying and kangaroo care in their recently published “Position Paper on Babywearing and Kangaroo Care.” They are working to ensure continued “access to the safe, quality baby carriers that emulate in-arms carrying, providing the greatest benefit to both caregivers and children.”
If you care about the future of babywearing, the BCIA can use your donation and your offer of help now at http://babycarrierindustryalliance.org