By Tracy G. Cassels
One of the simplest yet most effective aspects of Evolutionary Parenting is baby wearing. I’m also pleased to say it’s one of the ones making a rather large comeback after years of a stroller monopoly. These days you walk down the street and see many parents – moms and dads – carrying their babies in bjorn’s, ergo’s, wraps, etc., something that was rarely seen even just ten years ago. So why is baby wearing making a comeback? And why is it a good thing?
Oddly, I don’t actually believe the answers to these questions are related – the primary reasons baby wearing is good are most likely not the reasons people are doing it. In fact, most of the people I know who baby wear are completely unaware of the benefits to their child’s well-being or their relationship with their child; the reason they do it is simple – it’s easier. For anyone who’s lugged the stroller around, you probably know what a pain in the ass it can be. Just try getting into a store – you try to open the door while holding the stroller as the door then falls closed again or hits the stroller, waking up your little guy or simply hitting his arm which is hanging over the side. You eventually end up going into the store backwards because it’s the only way to both hold the door open and maneuver this large contraption though it’ll still hit the stroller or your child on the way in. And what if people try to help you out? They end up squashed against a wall with the wheels of the stroller going over their feet one at a time ensuring it’ll be a while before they extend that courtesy to anyone else. And heaven forbid you have to ride the bus – the dirty looks you get for having to take up valuable seat space for the stroller are enough to keep any sane individual off the bus as much as possible. Of course, you can always drive and pack your stroller in the car, but then where do you put all the things you go shopping for? Your massive stroller takes up all the space in the trunk. All in all, it’s enough to give anyone a headache.
In contrast, the simplicity of baby wearing means you avoid all of these hassles. You can open doors, cook, clean, walk, shop, talk, nurse, hold a coffee, eat a muffin and so much more all while holding your child close and getting to where you need to go. You can sit on one seat on the bus, thus avoiding the wrath of the masses. A carrier takes up a fraction of the space of a stroller, thus enabling you to bring it places with little to no inconvenience (note that the cloth wraps are particularly great for this – fold ‘em up and they’ll fit in a diaper bag). This is particularly helpful for traveling where you can now end up paying obscene amounts of money to check oversized items (like strollers). All in all, life becomes much easier when your child is attached to you instead of some gizmo with wheels.
But ease was only part of the evolutionary story. The other parts consist of safety and what’s best for babe. Previously, one of the only ways to ensure your infant’s safety was to make sure they were with you at all times. In former (and current) hunter-gatherer societies, infants spend considerably more time attached to their mother (or another person, but primarily the mother) via a baby wrap