So this month or this week or something is national put your baby in a sling week or month or something. Whatever. It's a hippy awareness thing, and as a big non-joiner hippy myself I'm not going to bother looking it up.
We registered for a side sling before Harvey was born. Some friends very generously got together and bought it for us - at around $100 it wasn't cheap! I was wooed by the idea that I could cradle and snuggle my baby while I walked about the house, did laundry, etc. So when Harvey was born we tried putting him in there. And he screamed. And we tried again later. And he screamed and screamed. And another day. More screaming. Also, my one shoulder hurt, and it was pretty hard to reach for anything with a big baby hanging in front of me. So I threw the thing in the closet.
Look, it's not like I didn't hold my baby. When we were inside I spent pretty much every second of my maternity leave holding him. And doing nothing else. If we didn't get enough skin-to-skin contact during Harvey's first year, it wasn't for choice of hardware. It's because I friggin went back to work.
But outside of the house we did use a carrier, the baby bjorn, and I loved it. So small, so easy to use, every inch of it functional, and no large strap to push up a fat bubble around your waste. Nevertheless, my love for the bjorn puts me at odds with my hippy community. Some hippies even scolded me with wild tones they usually reserve for refined sugar: "NEVER use a popular front carrier! It puts pressure on the baby's HIPS and could damage his DEVELOPMENT!"
Oh man! There goes his future in interpretive dance!
Actually, there's no scientific evidence to back up this claim (and this coming from someone who chose home birth based on scientific evidence. Trust me - it's not just bias viewing of evidence. It's lack of evidence.) I mean seriously, does the entire country of Germany have hip problems? They've carried their babies in bjorns since the 1970s. I'm willing to accept that tofu is bad for you now, but not this. I think it's just reverse classism.
Indeed, the prejudice against bjorn is summed up succinctly in this post on a mothering board:
It seems like some of the criticism of front carriers is merely aimed at them because they are popular, used by upper middle class mainstream people, and don't look as natural/alternative as a sling.
I agree. Who said hippies were non-judgmental?
The truth is that your choice of baby hardware is not just about the well-being of you and your child - it's also about fitting into a tribe and advertising that membership to other mothers. In fact when we bought the Ergo carrier (for when Harvey grew out of the bjorn) the tag-line on the box said "Matches your lifestyle!"
Which is enough to convince me not to buy anymore baby hardware, because seriously. I call myself a hippy because I'm committed to living out some difficult choices for the sake of environment and community. Not because it's a more fashionable for of consumption.
Notice to baby shit makers: My values are not expressible in brand form.
So anyway, come baby number 2 I'll probably once again use the the baby bjorn, and if that makes me look like a yuppy from waste up, so be it. No one in their right mind would look at my pants and think I was a respectable member of society, anyway. Now I just need a customized hippy wrap to put around the thing when I go out in public. I'm thinking of a big quilted flag or something. Something that says "I gave birth at home, bitches. Back off."