Tuesday 12 March 2013

10 Things No One Tells You About Babywearing

Everyone talks about the benefits of babywearing - the bonding, the health benefits for you and baby, the ease of life without a pram to cart round. I’ve been wearing my daughter since she was about six weeks old, and I love it. I wish I’d started sooner. There are so many positives to babywearing, but I wanted to share a few of the not so positive things I’ve noticed too:

1.Eau de Bile. Having a poorly baby is horrible, and in many ways babywearing is great for comforting an unsettled baby. What’s not so great, however, is when you’re out and about and they throw up in the sling. This happened to me recently as I was heading to the doctor’s. I ended up with vomit mushed into my top and a lingering smell of bile for the rest of the day.

2. You might go hungry. I don’t know whether this is a widespread problem, or if I am unfortunate enough to have a selfish and greedy baby, but I am often forced to go hungry as a direct result of babywearing. Despite my daughter being fourteen months now, we’re still really crap at getting out of the house on time, especially first thing in the morning. I often have to skip breakfast so I have time to get my daughter dressed, fed and ready to go. If I’m starving, I’ll grab something to go - some toast or fruit - and stick it in my mouth temporarily to free up my hands while I leave the house. During this 30 second lapse, I quite often lose my breakfast. It is snatched from my jaws by chubby hands. Sometimes she eats it herself, other times she throws it straight to the ground while exclaiming, “Dropped!”.

3. You will go bald. Despite no longer being a baby, my daughter is still rocking the bald look. By rocking, I mean she’s bald. Anyway, I think she suffers early onset hair envy, which is totally understandable when you see how bald she is. I can’t wear her in a back carry, because the few times I tried it, she almost scalped me. It’s just not worth the risk, so I wear her on my front. But even then, if the wind blows my hair in her direction, she will clamp on for dear life and pull until she has at least a thick lock (and attached scalp) nestled safely in her grubby hand. With the hair pulling and the postnatal hair loss, I am pretty much bald these days.

4. You will look like a knob in shops. Not at first, sure, in the early days shopkeepers will swoon over the sight of the tiny baby nestled into your chest. But then they stop being a cute innocent baby, and they become about 15 per cent evil, and then you will look like a knob. My daughter likes to play it cool, she innocently smiles at other shoppers, giggles to herself, perhaps shows off with the odd “Quack quack” reference, but then as soon as it comes time to pay, she makes me look like a knob. While the card payment is being processed, she sticks her hand out of the carrier, and pulls my debit card out. Payment declined. She once did this three times in one shopping trip. I don’t go to that shop anymore. Because they hate me.

5. No more hot drinks. This applies to soup too. If, like me, you are crippled with the disproportionate fear that your baby will be scalded by hot drinks, you will find the carrier forces you to live a life without tea. I just can’t risk it. What if I start drinking the tea, and a goose appears from nowhere, I crap myself, spill the tea and my daughter is scalded for life. No thanks, I’ll just have water. And hope this bloody baby wakes up soon. 6. Cradle crumbs. My daughter suffered from cradle cap, as many babies do. But she also suffered from cradle crumbs. If I eat anything while using the carrier, she inevitably ends up sprinkled in crumbs. Over the past year, her cradle crumbs have included chocolate, samosa, toast and crisps. The chocolate somehow ended up smeared across her bald head and, I fear, made me look like a terrible mother.

7. Umbrella stand. As soon as she became old enough to wriggle her arms free of the carrier, my daughter wanted to help. If it is raining, she will stick her hand out of the carrier and ‘help’ me carry the umbrella. Except it’s not helpful, because her hands end up going blue from the cold and, once again, I look like a terrible mother.

8. Storage boobs. Since I started babywearing, my cleavage has become surprisingly similar to Aladdin’s treasure crave. I am never certain what weird and wonderful things I will find in there after a day of carrying my daughter. I am often forced to pick rice cakes, raisins and other snacks out of my cleavage. And when I say pick, I mean scrape off, because these things get stuck in good and proper. Once, after I’d be been for a while, I found a whole rubber duck down there. That was not a good day. I’ve also found rattles, dollies, and leaves in my cleavage.

9. Stranger Danger. Strangers love babies. Especially old ones - the strangers, not the babies. They want to come over and squeeze cheeks, hold hands and exclaim well thought out and hard hitting facts like “His eyes!” and “She’s small, isn’t she?”. If your baby is in a pram, you have the liberty of taking a step back to get out of the stranger’s way. If you’re babywearing, you can’t do this. That stranger will be breathing the same air as you, until they feel they have had their fill of unknown baby for the day.

10. Fake laughter. My daughter has the best fake laugh ever. She has been fake laughing since she was about seven months old. If I’m talking with friends and we laugh, my daughter laughs too. But in an obviously fake way, because she’s rude. I tried to work out where she has learnt to fake laugh, and I’ve decided it’s a direct result of babywearing. Because, at least three times every single day, as I walk round, stranger say to me: “That’s the way to travel, eh?” and then laugh heartily at their own merry joke. Is it actually a joke if it’s not funny? I don’t know. But I fake laugh three times a day to that comment, and so that is where my daughter has learned to fake laugh.

Are there any things you think are missing from this list?

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