Babywearing is not a new thing. It’s been around since the dawn of time, but over the past few years it’s popularity has grown. All of a sudden, it’s everywhere.
There are tons of benefits tied to it, most notably the increased amount of bonding. Every now and then you hear about a few risks to the baby, but for the most part those can be easily addressed by just using carriers properly. What you rarely hear, however, are the risks to the mother.
Now, to be clear, I’m not discouraging babywearing. Quite the contrary – I am a babywearer myself and it is one of the greatest parenting joys I’ve experienced.
But here’s the problem: As with most things in life and especially on the internet, it is made to look easier than it actually is. You see pictures of mothers carrying their babies everywhere. And doing everything.
It’s not that simple. And honestly, despite the fact that we convince ourselves that this is the “natural” way, it really isn’t. Our ancestors did not carry their babies everywhere. Mothers of young children would stay put. Yes, they stayed with their babies…but they did not actually carry them everywhere.
I do firmly believe that it is best for a mother to stay as close as possible to her baby for a very long time. I rarely leave my son. But I have had to be creative and figure out ways to do that without carrying him because, honestly, my body can only take so much. I threw out my back this summer with devastating consequences and it has taught me a lot about my back and its limits. And while I may not be the most fit person in the world, I am far from the weakest. If my back is struggling to handle the pressure, I’m sure others are too.
So here is my warning to new mothers: go easy on your back and don’t take it for granted. Carrying a baby for 9 months during pregnancy does quite a number on your body anyways, so you’re not in prime condition. You should use baby carriers and experience the joy of babywearing, but do it responsibly. Use different carriers for different purposes and different stages. Don’t do chores that require lots of bending while holding your baby. And stretch or exercise every single day. You only get one back. Save some of it for your grandchildren.
Remember, we’re not opossums. We’re human.