When Leone was still blob-like and floppy, I would imagine with eager anticipation that one day she would learn to reach her arms out to tell me she wanted to be picked up.
Now Leone holds both hands straight over her head and grunts to be picked up. She points to where she wants to go. And she makes the noise of an angry crow if she doesn’t get what she wants (that toothbrush! No, NOT the red one! NOT the green one! Yes, yes, yes, the BLUE ONE!!!) right away.
She’s so mobile. She crawls everywhere, she pulls herself up on everything, and she’s as strong as a wild buffalo.
And here I am, her silly old mom, missing those days when she was so tiny and unformed.
I’ve heard from the good folks at Mothering that October 6th – 12th is international babywearing week.
We have the same green jogging stroller that we’ve had since Hesperus was born 11 years ago. And a hand-me-down umbrella stroller from my dad. And a second umbrella stroller bought in New York City because my mom was going to watch the baby and I left the other one in the trunk.
But mostly we wear the baby.
As we walk, she pats her hand up and down on my back.
She’s getting so heavy now that it’s harder to have her on the front. Still, I love to have her snugged against me, close enough to feel her heartbeat and smell her scalp. I usually carry her on my back and she kicks her legs while we’re walking. I grab at her toes, which makes her squeal with laughter.
She’s such a warm solid presence.
A lot of parents enjoy carrying their babies in slings. James and I tried a sling with Hesperus but found that it wasn’t ergonomic for our backs. As more moms and dads chose to wear their babies, larger manufacturers have been making slings. Unfortunately, some of these products are unsafe. As Christine Gross-Loh, AKA Origami Mommy, writes in this post, “Close Enough to Kiss,” “It’s great that babywearing is on the rise, but there have long been concerns about the lack of quality standards out there which allows less safe baby slings out on the market. Of special concern are “bag slings” – they hold baby down low in a pouch with excessive fabric and elastic on the edges.” Some of these baby slings have been blamed in infant deaths, and unsafe slings have been recalled.
In a way this controversy is good–it brings more attention to safe babywearing. I hope it won’t discourage new parents from wearing the baby but rather encourage parents to figure out the best and the safest way for them to wear the baby.
Yesterday, Leone snug on my back, I piled bags of groceries in the umbrella stroller and started walking home from the store.
“Aren’t you missing something?” a lady asked, looking puzzled at the stroller. “Oh, there she is!”
Leone waved. Then she patted my arm, sighed happily, and rested her head on my back.
What about you? Do you wear your baby or use a stroller? What babywearing works best for you? Are you concerned that the sling recalls will scare parents or do you think it will encourage better safety standards and more babywearing?
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