The New York Times style section recently had an article about babywearing and then the Motherlode blog at NYTimes (which I really pretty strongly dislike) writes about (scary music please) UNSAFE BABY SLINGS. I often carry my little snuggle bug in a baby carrier – we like really could not have survived the first year of parenting without the Ergo and Moby. We could never figure out the Maya wrap well, tried the Baby K’tan with little luck, and could never figure out why we would use the Kozy since it seems like a much less comfortable and workable version of the Ergo.
All of this is to say that we are sort of into what is called babywearing, although I just like to think of it as carrying your baby with you. This worked well for us because our boy would cry cry cry very easily and just liked to be close to us AND I hated trying to navigate the damn stroller around places. Found it to be a huge hassle and much easier just to tote him with me. So, in a way, I am psyched that the Times is highlighting baby carriers because I think they are a great invention and I think more families might really like to have them.
What I just can’t stand is that the NYTimes article makes it into this THING. Is it SAFE??? Are sling-wearing mamas against EVIL STROLLER MOMS???
This is not helpful. I think the bottom line is is that there are quite a few things you can do to harm your baby. Driving, for instance, can be very dangerous. Putting your baby in a crib can be bad. Having your baby sleep in your bed can be bad. Bad things can happen if you vaccinate. Bad things can happen if you don’t vaccinate. Your kid can fall out of a tree. But if you are too protective he or she can end up being sheltered and turn out weird.
I think it is reasonable that bad things can also happen with baby slings if you don’t, you know, read about them and learn the safe way to carry your child in the sling. Some moms hate strollers. Some moms love them. If you put your child in a stroller ALL THE TIME and listen to your ipod and never ever talk to your child, probably that is not ideal. But it is my sense that this is not what happens to most children in strollers, so lets just all chill out a little bit, ehh?
My point is that I wish people would stop making parenting some sort of DRAMA competition (good moms vs. bad moms) and high risk danger-fest. This is not good for parents. Not good for kids. I happen to like many of the attachment approaches to parenting. Although I understand why this does not/cannot work for a lot of families.
So, New York Times, could you please tone it down? If you want to report on increased sling usage, can we just say that it is increasing – it is great that there are so many (increasingly stylish) options for ways to tote your child around and more ideas about how to love our children the best we can. And, like with everything, we should read about it. And take reasonable precautions.
So yay for parents who are trying hard. Cuddling their children. Exploring options. Supporting each other. And de-dramatizing approaches to parenting. Because it isn’t some sort of competition or sport. It is about how we can be in the world with peace, how we can love and be loved, how we can flourish and find ways for our children to flourish.