Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In Defence of Crotch Danglers

As I get more and more into the whole attachment parenting thing, and the associated websites (you'd have to go a long way from where I live to find real life people who practice it), I keep coming across forum discussions about spotting babywearers out and about (like this one for example). There is almost always a comment about how rubbish the Baby Bjorn type carriers are - either the baby looks uncomfy, or they don't distribute weight properly across your back, or the baby will grow up deformed because its weight is on its spine and crotch. I find these postings at their best to be intolerant, and at their worst to be scornful. For anyone who was lucky enough to be educated about babywearing before they had their first child - good for you. However, the path to attachment parenting, for most of us, began with a fractious, unputdownable baby and a visit to Mothercare to see what we can carry it with.

Although I now use a ring sling and a mei-tai type carrier, I have carried Cave Baby for most of her life in a bog standard Mothercare front loading baby carrier and I have had absolutely no problems with it. It has rather a lot of buckles (seven to do up for each carry!) but the shoulder straps cross at the back, spreading the weight nicely across your back, whilst the waist belt takes the rest of the load. Cave Baby has never complained about being carried in it and has gone to sleep easily - in fact in her early colicky days it was virtually the only way to calm her. The Mothercare carrier can, in theory, be used as a back carrier as well, but it is not as good in this configuration and hence we decided to invest in a soft structured carrier that will last until baby is well into her toddling years.

Anybody who genuinely loves babywearing and wants to encourage others to do it must surely accept that most people will not venture beyond their high street to find baby carriers, and it is surely better for a baby to be carried in a Baby Bjorn than to be deposited in a pram. So please, if you see a passer-by with their baby in a mainstream high street carrier then give them a big smile, show off your own babywearing equipment but above all make them feel confident about the parenting choice they have made.

Picture courtesy of Mothercare website.


Joxy said...

I'm sorry you found my thread "scornful" and "intolerant". It was suppose to be a celebration of the babywearing and the increasing popularity of this wonderful experience.

I do not like baby bjorn slings and I won't apologise for that hon, I have read qutie a bit of research that does indicate these types are not very good for the baby hip and spine development. At the same time I'm happy as anything to see more babies been worn and hope those type of carriers are a stepping stone for a parent's babywearing journey and I am constantly stopped and asked about my mei tai and happily talk about different styles etc.

Happy babywearing hon.


Cave Mother said...

Sorry to offend, and if you read the post again you will find that I did not say that I find your thread scornful, though I have read some threads on various other forums that I have objected to. It's the tone that some people take - rather than "Yay I saw a person carrying their baby rather than pushing it" it's more like "Eugh I saw one of those awful crotch danglers". I quite readily accept that Baby Bjorns may not be very good for babies but my point is that used in moderation they are OK and, realistically, are what most people will be using, so it is best to be positive about them.

Joxy said...

No not offended, just wanted to clarify is all.

LOL I never thought babywearing was controversial like breastfeeding has become.

I don't agree with being postive about baby bjorns and slings of similar ilks I have real concerns about them and actually would prefer to see them not sold in places like mothercare and slings that are far better for the devleoping body of a baby... for example boots has started selling the napsack mei tai; that is progress and I think by babywearers voicing their opinions on various types of slings it spreads the word.... at least that is my motivation.

heheheeh.. anyway friends? lol

Cave Mother said...

Yeah friends :-) Agree that the high street should start selling better slings - a mei tai can look just as mainstream as a Baby Bjorn so I don't think people would object to wearing them if only they were more readily available. And agree to disagree about being positive about people using bjorns!

allgrownup said...

We were the same as you, Cave Mother, an un-put-downable child, and an impulse buy at mothercare. We got a pouch-type, bit uncomfy, with buckles. Then a visit to the local "sling group" in our area, and I never looked back. Living in a small town, I carry cards for our sling group as a day never passes when an exhausted looking mother stops me and deplores how much she wishes she had a sling like (one of!) mine. So I give her a card, tell her to come along, it's free to borrow a sling for a week, see how you get on. Sorted.

Olivia said...

Late to comment on this one, but just want to add my agreement.

I've heard the arguments against baby bjorns, but I do prefer to see them instead of strollers or "baby buckets".

My husband prefers the bjorn for our daughter, even now that she is nine months old. For him, it is easier to put on, and he uses it while he's running errands. Generally, out baby is in it for a short time, and she is quite happy.

I found the bjorn uncomfortable for me, and prefer a ring sling or the ergo. But I'm happy my husband is willing to wear our baby at all, and say whatever works for him is just fine.