Babywearing is something you DO, not something you BUY.

I recently met a beautiful woman carrying her adorable, chubby cheeked baby in a fun, brightly colored ring sling. He was happy as a clam snuggled up close to his mama, and she was comfortable and happy. I complimented her on her carrier and she mentioned that she flips the tail around so no one can see the ring sling label. When I asked her why she explained that she was around some other baby wearers and they had a lively discussion about how they also “started” with a ring sling just like hers, but then “they moved on” to wrap conversion ring slings. Since then she has been a little embarrassed of her ring sling, especially in the company of what she called “real” baby wearers.

As you can imagine, this conversation struck a chord with me. In fact, it is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place! The idea that a person would feel “less than” because her $80 carrier supposedly isn’t up to snuff? According to whom? It makes my heart hurt.

It doesn’t matter if you have 30 “high end” carriers or you use a bed sheet to wrap your baby. If you babywear, you are a babywearer.

Babywearing is not something you BUY. It is not something you own, it is not a product. Babywearing is something you DO. It is the special closeness shared between you and your child when you hold them in a carrier. It is healthy, and safe, and comforting. It is an action. It is not tangible and it cannot be bought or sold. Babywearing is our experiences, our moments, and our stories; it is our lives and our love.

MARCH 6, 2016 UPDATE

Today this post was shared on a popular baby wearing page and I have had over 2k new visitors to this post. I am no longer actively maintaining Where We Wear, though the stories are here for you to enjoy forever! 😉 Find out what I am up to now by clicking here or come say hello over on Instagram at This (Un)Scripted Life or grab your own hand lettered piece HERE or play around on my website or if you are in the Philly area, join me at our next Mindful Woman retreat. 🙂 OR,if none of that appeals to you, just have an amazing day and enjoy your baby!

❤ Lizzy 

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24 thoughts on “Babywearing is something you DO, not something you BUY.

  1. Amen!! Wear your baby proudly mamas in whatever way you choose. I hate that a mom was embarrassed to wear her sling around her peers because it wasn’t the “lastest or greatest or whatever”. I have always been proud to wear my homemade wraps. I have tried many high end carriers and just love the simplicity of babywearing and not the hype. And it is nice to not have “baby” an expensive carrier…I can focus that on my baby. ♡
    I’m not saying it is bad or wrong to spend your money on a wonderful stash of carriers. I have a stash (small but mighty). I am just saying lets remember it is about our babies and not the carrier.

    • Thanks for your comment Elizabeth! This mom’s reaction really struck a chord with me. I felt like a little reminder for all of us (myself included!) couldn’t hurt. 😉

      • Been babywearing for 19 months now and I have to admit it has been hard to not get caught up with the hype of it all. I am now a manufacturer of a carrier. And I love that my customers love my product just as much as I did when I was just using my “homemade” carrier with no “brand”. It was comfy and I loved it! But I never did feel like I fit in at babywearing meetings because I didn’t have the latest or greatest and couldn’t talk the lingo. I loved babywearing just as much as them but still felt out of place. So I can relate to that mama. It is kinda ironic that my carrier is now at lots of babywearing meetings across the country now. 🙂 I love providing an option for babywearers on any budget!

      • I love your story Elizabeth! I can relate. I guess in some ways this is my way of carving out space some can all fit in a little better, especially when we are sharing something so personal and deep as how we bond with our children, how we chose to parent, etc. What kind of carriers do you make?

      • Elizabeth, I’d LOVE to know how to find your carriers! I’m on a budget & just now breaking into the world of ring slings. I’ve had a wrap that was too small & a carrier that’s actually not good for babies. Any day now, my first RS will arrive. And I’d really like to have more options. 🙂

        chelle bonney at gmaildotcom

  2. Beautifully put. I too have come across these “collectors” as I call them. I think one of the most beautiful wraps I’ve ever seen was…..YOURS at MommyCon and not exactly a huge price tag!!

  3. I had a woman (she didn’t have her baby with her at the time so obviously wasn’t wearing) comment to me about the wrap I was wearing was beautiful I thanked her told her it was a new baby present. After she complemented my wrap she said something about how I was a real babywearer and she was an fake that she just had an ergo. I asked what was fake about baby wearing in an ergo that I own one too. Its not fake to babywear in an infantino, just more uncomfortable for wearer and dangling baby. I told her she was a real babywearer, this just happened about 2 weeks ago and it makes me very sad.

    • That story is heavy on my heart Nicole. I appreciate that you supported her. I have had Ergo mamas say similar things to me. It’s so strange how the “are you mom enough?” competition seeps into everything we do.

    • I wore my first DD in an ergo, but I also thought I wasn’t a “baby wearer” at the time. I got into wovens with my second child. I quickly realised that I had been a baby wearer all along though.

  4. How very sad! My ring sling is homemade by my mother, with fabric I bought at a discount fabric store. It has no tags and was quite cheap to make. But it will bring joy to my heart and my little one until he’s too big to fit in it. Depressing that some women have to twist a selfless act into a “beauty contest”.

  5. I think that babywearing needs to be thought about more like the way we think about, say, cars. No one thinks they aren’t a “real” driver just because they don’t drive a sports car, yknow? Some people have a preference for the cheap and practical others the unusual or whatever, it’s all good. Some cars are status symbols and people drive them for that purpose alone, but most cars are driven because people have to get somewhere. Cars are functional things that have varying degrees of style and collector appeal. I don’t begrudge someone because they drive a car I don’t think is as frugal or practical as mine, and if they want to talk about other cars like theirs I don’t necessarily assume they think less of me for choosing differently or spending less (or more). It’s just a car; it’s just a carrier. I have a pretty decent wrap collection but my interests are still pretty narrow in the babywearing world. I have never had a wrap-conversion ring sling or converted SSC, have never tried a tula of any kind and only just in the last month or two got a mei tai that I would actually think about keeping, they just never seemed like they were for me. So, you may see me around town in either the only ringsling I own that I wear for anywhere or anything (it’s old, used, linen and was never a wrap in a previous life) or you might see me wearing my baby in a super hard to find wrap that I spent months trying to get ahold of because for this one thing in my life I have developed a bit of a collecting hobby I just use whatever is handy, right for the wearing situation, and hopefully doesn’t horribly clash. Some people are really into purses, diaper bags, jewelry, clothes, shoes, cars, phones, video games etc. They are interested in all the latest versions of the thing they are into, devote some of their resources (money and/or time) towards acquiring or learning about said item. While I use almost all of those items, I’m not “into” any of those things at all. If I was around some mothers who were really into diaper bags or purses, I probably wouldn’t really be able to contribute to the conversation at all since I don’t own a single purse and I own one diaper bag that was purchased solely for it’s practical attributes and is solid grey, not much to look at 😉 I really can’t say if the purse people or diaper bag people would look at my diaper bag with scorn or not, and I wouldn’t really care, cause that’s their thing, not mine. Does this make any sense? I guess I am just encouraging people not to judge themselves on the behalf of other people they presume would be judging them but might not actually be doing so. Proactive hypothetical negative self-judgment seems to be something parents are especially prone too…

  6. Thanks to everyone for your Comments. The post is *not* a commentary on stash size or cost of carriers. =) It is a reminder that babywearing is an action, not a product. It is a reminder that we shouldn’t shame others, and that we shouldn’t shame ourselves (which is *often* the case). Buy or make whatever carriers you want and can afford, whether it is a collection of Pavos or one Infantino MT. Set the judgements aside. Parenting is hard enough without everything being a contest. And Babywearing is too awesome for anyone to miss out on it!!! ❤ Lizzy

  7. amen. so well said, am sick of being made to feel like a second class baby wearer because I can’t afford (and don’t want to) spend hundreds on highly sought after wraps. I just want to wear my baby close – in whatever is comfy for both of us and does the job best at the time!

  8. The best example of babywearing I’ve ever seen was a lady carrying her toddler on her back. The child looked really comfortable and happy and mum looked comfortable too walking along chatting to her friends. I was traipsing along behind thinking, “I wonder what wrap that is? I’ve never seen something with a pattern like that before. Will she think I’m crazy if I stop her to ask?”

    Turns out that yes, she would have thought I was insane. When I got a bit closer I realised the ‘unusual wrap’ was, in fact, a beach towel. This was on the school run, no beach for miles. Where we live is pretty diverse and you can occasionally see mums carrying babies in traditional ways like that. It made me laugh at myself. Women who wear their babies with whatever fabric they have handy so they can go to work must have a real laugh at silly Westerners obsessing over names and threads and resale value. If I had to choose who are the ‘real’ babywearers, well I’m not sure I’d win that one!

  9. I didn’t even use a sling when my girl was tiny. I carried her in my arms, then I carried her in a rucksack type carrier before moving on to an Ergo. Am I a baby wearer….hell, yes!!! My baby’s needs to be held physically close to me were met….how does not matter!

  10. Pingback: Adventures in babywearing… | TheNewStreet

    • Thank you for your comment! I couldn’t agree more! ❤ I am so glad you stopped by to enjoy this little collection of stories I curated during my time as a baby wearing mama. XOXO

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