Those of you who are regular Inked in Colour readers know I love wearing Bo. You’ve seen pictures of our lives, you see how often she is wrapped up against our bodies. I’ve written briefly on it before, here, but much like cloth nappies I have never seen it necessary to write too much about it… babywearing (much like cloth diapering) is a no brainer as far as I’m concerned. But, in light of this week being International babywearing week, it is the perfect time to delve a little deeper.
My aim, as Bo’s mother, is to parent her with the ultimate respect and love that all human beings deserve. To treat her with kindness and to respect her space and her needs and her opinions. After all, a person’s a person, no matter how small (Dr Suess). Babywearing is one extremely practical way for me to care for her and to give her the access to me, her mama, so that she can communicate her needs more clearly. It has got us through sickness and travel and given me free hands in customs and airports and kept Bo safe on busy streets and public transport and crowded markets.
For my husband, Ni, who was born and raised in a small Indonesian village babywearing is not a “thing” it is a way of life. For the community which we brought Bo into as a newborn babywearing didn’t define your parenting style, it was just what you did to get through the day. Indonesian babies are worn all day long. They eat, sleep and play from the security of their mama’s arms. Bigger kids wear littler kids. It’s more than just a choice, it’s a tradition steeped so deeply in their culture that it just is. It is no surprise that this culture, one that is straddling tradition and the pull of the modern world, maintains such respect for the way that they hold their babies. Whilst they may now tend to rice fields with their traditional bamboo hats, a sharpened sickle in one hand and their fingers quickly sending a text on the mobile phone with the other, there are some things that will never change. Babywearing is one of them.
In this Western world of ours we get so caught up in labels. I think it’s sad. Baby wearers are coined as being attachment parents. Which is fine, and not fine at the same time. I hate parenting labels, with a passion. There is nothing wrong with being an attachment parent, but I don’t consider myself one and I don’t like to be assumed to BE anything… when at the end of the day the only parenting anything I am is Bo’s mama. That’s confusing enough most days, labeling it and stuffing myself into a neatly organised box isn’t going to help that. What I would love is for all of us to step back for a moment, to remember that just as our babies are little people, we are all individuals too. And what works for one won’t work for another. What I do doesn’t need a label and you don’t need to fit into a box. You don’t need to be an attachment parent to use a sling. You don’t need to be crunchy to want to hold your baby against your body and feel that sweet, sweet newborn breath against your chest as that teeny tiny human sleeps soundly. You don’t need to buy organic to know that having your baby on your back gives you two hands free to cook your dinner. You don’t need to be anything more than a mother (or a father) to know that loving your kid, just truly loving them, means being there and being present, as often as you can with your hands and your heart and your mind. Parenting labels are about the parent, babywearing… it’s about the kid.
In this fast paced world where we are stuck to technology and we are routined and organised and our lives are packed full of schedules and events and meetings and carefully planned moments… sometimes it feels like we have lost our roots a bit. Let’s get them back. Let’s remember tradition, and if we can’t, let’s make new ones. Traditions where love and respect are paramount. Traditions where we accept and celebrate our differences. Traditions where we hold our babies close enough to kiss, before we know it they will be big and running and no longer babies anymore. Traditions are traditions for a reason.
Check out the Australia & New Zealand Babywearing Week website and Facebook page for details on how you can get in on a babywearing event in your local area. There are groups of mamas and papas from all walks of life,all over the country meeting up, sharing the love and showing new parents the joy of babywearing. Don’t miss out!
In celebration of babywearing week Babes in Arms is giving one Inked in Colour reader their very own ERGObaby doll carrier in Galaxy Grey – it’s the perfect gift for any little one who want’s to get in on the babywearing love. To be eligible for this prize you must have an Australian or NZ postal address.
To enter just comment on this post and let us know what babywearing means to you… share this post far and wide and help celebrate International Babywearing week, creating tradition with love.