The Sling and I

Peace and greetings sweetie-pies!

Urbndervish here. Yeah, I know that its been a while since my last posting but hey…Better late than never, right?

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of wearing my baby! Yeah, your favourite raggamuslim daddy actually wore baby Z in a sling! For those of you who don’t know, a sling is a sturdy piece of material used to wrap and tie a baby to the parent. Pretty simple, right? Well, there are some rules to baby-wearing which I will get into later.

Anyways, eternitysojourner and I ventured out to the super…eh, I mean, hypermarket this weekend. We had to pick up some supplies that we couldn’t find in our small village. So, we went to the capital city to stock up. The ride was pleasant as it always is with eternitysojourner (and now our new “star” trekker, baby Z). When we arrived to the hypermarket, I insisted on wearing baby Z in the sling. I was happy to do so, not only to take some weight off of eternitysojourner but also to share in the experience of carrying a precious bundle of life on my person! I was also hoping that by baby-wearing in public, people would see that a family unit consists of “bearing the load” together and that there’s nothing wrong with a man wearing a baby. I figure if a woman can “wear” a baby for 9 months, at least the man can wear a baby for an hour!

Of course, we received stares from the curious and enjoyed the status as the anomalies–me wearing the baby and my wife pushing the grocery cart. Some people smiled others just inconspicuously tapped their companions to show them the strange baby-wearing man. Of course, with this being Asia, no one commented or asked us about it.

Baby Z seemingly slept comfortably despite the sounds of creaking grocery carts and occasional cacophony over the loud-speakers.  

All of that being said, we decided to post some of the benefits of baby-wearing. There are a plethora of reasons that you and/or your mate should wear your baby.

1. Baby-wearing on the outside allows for your baby to gradually adjust from being worn on the inside. By that we mean, that your baby just spent 9 months in a warm, nurturing environment inside of mommy’s tummy. The baby was curled up in a comfortable sack receiving all of the nutrients and care that she needed. All of a sudden, she enters into the cold world and is distanced from the world that she once knew. Wearing the baby will give the baby the familiar feeling of being enveloped in a warm sack. This is something a stroller cannot accomplish.

2. Baby-wearing gives your baby the much needed body heat that she needs. Being wrapped so close to the parent’s body allows for the natural body heat of the parent to be distributed to the infant without overheating her–unless of course, the parent is a hot-blooded Latin! 😉

3. Baby wearing frees the parents hands to do other things. If a parent was to strap on the baby, s/he could complete many of the manual functions of the day. Just look at the rice-picking mothers in some Asian countries! They strap their babies on and pick rice without any problems.

4. Baby-wearing gives the baby a needed sense of security. Being so close to the parent ensures the baby that the parent is there and that they are protected.

5. Babies that are worn cry less. This is because much of the baby’s needs are provided by being so close to the parent. The motion of the parent soothes the baby so that she is comforted. Also, the baby is able to hear the heartbeat of the parent. These motions and sounds are familiar to the baby as we mentioned in #1.

6. Babies that are worn develop faster. This is because if it is proven that babies that are worn cry less, it thereby follows that that energy spent trying to get the parents attention can be used to further the baby’s cognitive development. Insteading of crying due to lack of attention and proximity, the baby can focus on the various sights and sounds and improve her alertness. It follows the anthropological principle that one who has less to fear has more time and energy to develop.

7. Baby-wearing satisfies the baby’s need of touch and proximity. Babies, much like any stage of human, are greatly dependent upon human touch and warmth. Babies are in even more need than any other age because they cannot satisfy this need themselves.

Some Possible Concerns with Baby-wearing

1. “Won’t Baby-wearing make my baby too dependent?” On the contrary, babies who are worn are able to develop their skills of independence on their own. They do not have to be forcefully torn away from their sources of security and warmth.  Once left to naturally develop their sense of security, babies will gradually seek independence from their parents. A “clingy” baby is a natural baby. You are their only source for life.

2. “Aren’t slings dangerous? What if the baby falls?” When tied and worn correctly, slings provide even greater security that being held in the arms. This is because the arms are subject to tiredness due to isometric tension. That is to say that when you hold a limb in the same position for a long period of time something that weighs 9 lbs can feel like 30 lbs. The sling cradles the baby so that the arms don’t have to.

3. “Baby-wearing is so primitive! We should utilize modern technology!” Although, it is true that baby-wearing is an ancient practice, it nevertheless, remains the most effective. It has remained the practice of indigenous people because it works. It is also fastly becoming a trend in “modern” societies. The purpose of technology is to manipulate matter to make the life easier. After reading the benefits above, what technological advancement is better than the sling?!

4. “What if people look at me funny?” People will look at you regardless. Their glances could be out of surprise or envy. Whatever the case, your priority is your baby.  Your action may spur others to consider baby-wearing!

5. “Won’t baby-wearing strain your back?” If you have back problems, maybe you should ask your physician about baby-wearing. However, if you just have a weak back, baby-wearing can gradually strenghthen your back muscles. Remember, the baby will gradually gain weight, so the more you wear her, the stronger your back will get. Also, keep in mind that the mother has been carrying this load for 9 months. Her back should be accustomed to the load.

If you decide to practice baby-wearing, please consult the relevant manuals and resources regarding proper wear.  The wrap pictured above is called a Maya Wrap.

Take care,

urbndervish

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3 thoughts on “The Sling and I

  1. Pingback: Nurture While You Work « Raggamuslims’ Weblog

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