Babywearing was something I knew nothing about when I got pregnant yet it seemed so natural to me. I often wondered why more mothers didn’t wear their babies. From an outsiders perspective it just seemed liked the practical thing to do when it came to keeping your hands free and baby safe and secure. Little did I know how right I was but how far and wide the benefits and advantages of babywearing reached.
I have been babywearing my daughter since day one. Twenty-six months later, we are still going strong. Although I do not wear her as often now (something I dearly miss), it still comes in handy in many situations.
Please join me on a four part series where I take a closer look at all things babywearing. For the baby wearing newbies out there, I hope you enjoy learning about this beautiful and wonderful child rearing tool. For the more experienced babywearers, I hope that these posts reinvigorate you and remind you why you are a babywearer. In addition, if you would like to view some gorgeous photos of babywearing around the world, check out a recent post I published on my personal blog.
A Brief History of Babywearing
Blaffer-Hrdy also indicates the difference between baby carrying in foraging/nomadic peoples and pastoral/horticulturalists. For nomadic mothers, the decision has always been whether it is safe to leave her baby with another caregiver, and whether she will return in time to feed him. If she takes the baby with her, will she have the strength required to carry baby and enough food to make the outing worthwhile? “For a foraging mother to remain in close enough proximity to nurse could require carrying babies – plus supplies and gathered provender – back-breaking distances.” With more settled peoples, there are often many caregivers for each baby even though mother is usually nearby. While women were grinding cereals against a stone, “her baby might be held by an allomother, cradled nearby, or wrapped on to her mother’s back using a sling arrangement.”
But over the last few decades, the pendulum has begun swinging back the other way toward more nurturing parenting techniques. Along with that shift, babywearing is becoming vogue again. In 1981, a book called Babywearing by Maria Blois started a modern babywearing revolution. That same year, activist Rayner Garner created and began promoting use of the modern ring sling. The rights were later sold to Dr. William Sears who continues to make and promote them.