Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Carrying Quandary

So, carried babies are supposed to prefer slings to pushchairs, right? They reject the remote machine-like trolley in favour of the warm, loving, organic sling? My faith in this principle has, I admit, been a little shaken.

I have had a poorly tummy for a couple of weeks and when I became well enough to go out with Cave Baby, I still didn't fancy having the not inconsiderable weight of an almost-fifteen-month-old baby bearing down on my back. So, with some hesitation, I dusted off our pushchair and strapped her into it. Now, this was not something I did lightly - in fact I think my ears were still ringing with her anguished cries from the day, almost a year ago, when I took her into town shopping in her pushchair. God, it was an awful day. I walked up and down streets to get her to sleep (it didn't work), I fed her numerous times, I changed her nappy. Nothing stopped her crying. I came to the conclusion, all that time ago, that she just hated being so remote from me, and I carried her everywhere from that day on.

Fast forward a year and I have still resisted using a pushchair, even though she is approaching 24lbs. So when it was time to take the plunge, you can imagine my surprise when it quickly became clear that she was having a whale of a time. She waved at people, said "Boof" to dogs and didn't complain, not even once. After a few pushchair trips she seems to have become an enthusiastic convert, even going so far as to walk me into the dining room, point at the pushchair and say "That" in a way that leaves me in no doubt as to what she wants. A part of me is screaming "But what about your principles?" every time I take her out in it, whilst another part is just glad to have a rest from carrying her. I can't believe that after all I have said about the benefits of babywearing, I end up with a baby who prefers to be pushed!

If I had written this yesterday, the tale would have ended there, but this morning my baby was feeling poorly and I had to go out to run an errand with her. I took her in the pushchair thinking she might enjoy it, but it was only 20 minutes before she was complaining and asking to be carried. So, my little prercious, I think I understand things a little better now. When you are feeling well and full of energy, you like the novelty and independence of being pushed. But when you're a little bit under the weather and you want some mothering, you want to return to the safety of the sling. Ah, I feel vindicated after all.

Babywearing rocks but sometimes the pushchair is going to have to come out, if only for novelty value. I hope that it is the closeness that my baby has experienced over her first fifteen months that has given her the confidence to be a little further away from me now.


JK said...

We have the same excitement at the novelty of the pushchair. Sometimes it just seems more practical, particularly if you need to carry shopping. And the grandparents use it. But little man still likes being close to mummy and the extra interaction he gets when he is up at 'adult' height. I think tots are pretty flexible really. I know he has gained a lot of confidence and security from being carried so much when he was tiny but I think you can adapt as they grow older without surrendering your 'babywearing' principles and the reasons behind them.

Joxy said...

Carrying a nearly 3yr old who weighs around abouts 2 and half stones, has meant I've come to appreciate the usefulness of pushchairs as the child gets older. I think slings are fabulous for babies... and I've come to appreicate the place of the pushchair for toddlers :-)

I admit though, I do still feel like I'm betraying babywearing every time I use it.. and I'm not a big fan for use on buses etc... but sometimes oh it's nice not to carry him. ;-)

Lisa - edenwild said...

I think your last sentence says it all. Know that your child has CHOSEN the pushchair, rather than being forced to accept it. They can go longer and longer without physical contact with us as they get older, but they still need it. If you still get some regular babywearing time in, I'm sure she will appreciate it and it might even ward off excessive clingyness at times when YOU need some space. When my son is whiny and clingy, if I am willing to go out on a long walk with him in the sling, he will much better afterward.

Liz said...

I agree, sometimes pushchairs have their place, as long as the child is happy in one. Neither of mine would go in one as a baby, but both quite liked them when older. DS, in particular, enjoyed bing pushed around as befitted his royal status...
I also found pushchairs particularly helpful when you have more than one child and no car. I used to sling DS, and use the pushchair to carry all the stuff required for a day out with 2 small children, both in nappies, and then DD could get in the pushchair on the way home once she was tired. Things would have been tricky without it then.
But pushchairs are a right pain on buses and trains - more the fault of badly designed buses and trains, which also exclude wheelchair users, than the fault of the pushchairs really. It is *so* nice to have 2 children who are both too old for pushchairs and slinging! Hooray, the freedom!

cypress sun said...

I would rather have a happy baby in a stroller than a feisty, kicking one on my back! I just go with what works on any given day...and am ultra thankful that my little guy likes to be pushed on the mornings that I jog.

Olivia said...

I use both depending on the situation. We mostly use the stroller when I walk around the neighborhood for exercise and the sling in crowded places.

Lately, though, my daughter is enjoying riding in the shopping cart since she can sit up on her own. Sometimes I miss the closeness and the fact she would often take a nap while I shopped, but I also find it easier to pick things off the shelves.

Jessica said...

My back went out so soon after my son was born that I HAD to rely on my stroller a lot sooner than I would have other wise. Mostly, it was used for travel and shopping (like the mall or window shopping). Walks, hikes, grocery shopping, etc., were always done wearing him. He didn't seem to care either way, honestly.

I wish like crazy I could still carry him now. As it is he's well over 30 lbs and I can hardly carry him from room to room my back is so injured.

Laura McIntyre said...

I think both can be of use.

My son is also almost 15 months and these days seem's happier in the pushchair than the sling which makes me sad.
I wore him almost exclusivity till he was around one when it became difficult (i have problems with both my feet, his extra weight really increased the pain).

How do you deal with toddler being toddler though? This is part of my problem when wearing him, he grabs and pulls at me and it becomes painful and not pleasant .

I still love it though, he fell asleep in it on Monday which has not happened in months and it was so lovely

Cave Mother said...

Laura - Perhaps I'm lucky, but Cave Baby doesn't seem to mess about in the sling. She doesn't pull my hair or kick or anything. She's too busy staring at everything around her. I'm sure it's just her temperament, not anything I have done!

Amity said...

I always stick a sling underneath the pushchair when I take it out, that way if my son gets fed up with being in it and wants to be held I can just put the carrier on and push the empty pushchair home. I like having the option of both.

Melodie said...

My daughters were happy in both. Admittedly I used our stroller more often once they got too heavy for my poor back, but I didn't invest in any super sturdy baby carriers so that was partly my fault too. Anyhow, I'm sure your daughter enjoyed the novelty of the stroller more than anything. She's old enough now that novel things would peak her interest.But I'm sure if she could make a rational choice it would be nestled next to mama all the way!

Mon said...

I'm not sure how babywearing became so militant, but suppose everything does at some point.
Problem is, we all get influenced by such extremist views that instead of intuition, we consult our principles first, or a book, or an 'expert', or science! argh
Shocking what we've done to ourselves and other mothers.

Babywearing, imo, is for babies. If an older child enjoys it and so does the adult, then fine of course. But the idea is really about extending the womb time. It's for when the child is still womb-like - i.e, not crawling. The first 3 months is the sensitive time. The rest is extra depending on the child.

I don't think your idea about babywearing is shaken at all, your child is FIFTEEN months, a toddler. ;)

You've listened to your kid, sounds good to me. :)

Cave Mother said...

Yeah Mon, you're right. I think part of the hesitiation to use a pushchair is about moving away from the usual slinging routine. I'm human, you know, and I just prefer to do things the same as I did them yesterday!

Anyway, I'm enjoying a blend of pushing and carrying at the moment, depending on where I'm going and how I'm feeling. It's working for me.