I think most of us can agree that babywearing has helped us immensely over the holiday season in some way. Whether it’s wrangling kiddos while shopping, helping baby adjust to a time zone change, or keeping baby from becoming over stimulated which is definitely easy between family and those blinking lights! Unfortunately, not everyone is down with babywearing. I asked our fellow educators what kind of interactions they’ve had with family and for their best advice for dust-settling comebacks.
“Put that baby down!”
It’s common for family members to think baby’s development will be hindered by babywearing. That maybe baby will walk late, sit up late, or won’t be as social. For those of us who have worn previous children or have toddlers know that this isn’t true. My favorite response to comments like these was, “When I am old and my children are grown, I will never look back and wish I had held my baby less.” Surely Grandma and Grandpa could relate to that! This family member could also just be pining to hold the baby and feel like as long as baby is in the carrier, they’ll never get a chance to hold him or her. Try making arrangements with them. “Let me feed and change her and then you can hold her! If she gets upset, maybe you could try out the sling.” What a better way to convert someone, right? Do you remember the first time you tried on a carrier and how amazing that feeling was?
“She only likes you because you hold her all the time!”
Yikes. Unfortunately this one came up a couple of times as well. It seemed as if the comments came after baby was removed from the carrier and handed to a family member they hadn’t met or don’t see often and became upset almost immediately. One of our educators put it gently, “Baby is just unfamiliar with you. give her time to warm up and I’m sure you’ll be buddies in no time!” A great solution is to keep baby in the sling and spend some time interacting with this family member. Have the family member interact with baby from the sling and after a couple of smiles and giggles, you could try letting that family member hold the baby again.
“Baby is always so happy!”
I knew this post could easily be a downer so I wanted to mention that a lot of families had some really positive interactions as well. It’s really common to hear how happy your baby is! Take the opportunity to share a babywearing benefit. “Did you know that babies who are carried more, cry less? Babies who cry less spend more time developing and learning.” That’s my favorite one to share because I think it makes so much sense. “Thanks! He is happy and that makes me happy!” And let’s be honest, we all know what happens when mom isn’t happy…
“You’re still wearing her?”
While I never received these comments from family, I was very familiar with this one from the public and I know it can be really difficult to respond positively. Try rehearsing, “You bet! Thanks to wearing, I am spending a lot less time chasing her and keeping her out of things! That Christmas tree at home is full of temptations!” Be prepared for followup questions or comments both negative and positive which usually depend on what mood your toddler appears to be in. You could mention how much easier it is to connect with such a busy toddler or how much more convenient your vacation to visit family will be thanks to your carrier!
How does your family respond to you babywearing? What interactions have you had? Tell us in the comments section!