Monday, October 25, 2010

The Truth About Babywearing

When you wear your baby, you can just go about your day and be able to do everything you use to be able to do.

And you also can't.

That was something I ran into when I started babywearing with Margaret. Everyone had said, "Just pop the baby in the sling and go!" But it's not quite like that. For example, laundry has a special place in hell because sitting down and folding it while wearing Isaac isn't possible. If he's being worn, I need to be moving, not sitting.

A lot of my cleaning is tidying up and picking up things: toys, piles of laundry, whatever else fell on the floor. I usually use my other hand to steady Isaac in the carrier, so it's not as "hand free" as it sounds.

But the chore that gets the inner circle of hell is dishes. We don't have a dishwasher, so we have to do it by hand. I'm pretty good at being on top of it and I've finally come to a place in my life where not having it done doesn't put me in a downward spiral of "the house is filthy and you aren't as good as all those other 'put together' moms out there." I really don't care anymore. It's nice to have it done, but having it completed 100% of the time is for a different decade of my life. Maybe never.

But I digress. Dishes with a baby in front:

Lots of reaching and it's awkward and hurts my arms after a few minutes.

Baby on the hip allows me to be closer to the sink and not worry about getting Isaac wet. Unfortunately, I really only have one hand.

Because using two means more reaching:

Swinging him around to my back is the best.

You can also reach down into a washer with a baby on your back, so that's helpful.

He looks content here, but he'll get fussy and want to snuggle...

...because I don't have breasts on my back.

Now, I love babywearing. I do. And I do it a lot around the house- almost all day.

And it's true: I can do most everything I used to do- except I do it slower because I am also focusing on our balance. And there are interruptions by 2 year olds and babies who want to nurse. I went into babywearing as a new mom with Margaret expecting to be able to do everything and fit it all in my day.

But I couldn't. Why? Well, because babies take a lot of your time- babywearing or not. You can't do everything you did before because your work load has increased. Babywearing can make it easier to do many things- especially if your baby needs to be held a lot. Babywearing does mean I can take Margaret to the park easily. And it means I can grocery shop and vacuum and do my laundry and dishes. But if you're trying out babywearing and finding it's not making your life the bliss you expected it to, that's ok. It takes practice and experience. I can do things faster than I did when wearing Margaret as a baby. While it's easier than not babywearing, it's not as easy as it used to be before I had children.

Babywearing is a great way to be there for your baby, but relax and do what you can and don't stress about not getting it all done. It's ok. I promise. You won't even remember that you didn't have all your dishes done by this weekend 10 years from now.


  1. Cute sling!
    I remember when my 4 yr old was about 6 months old and I was wearing her in a bjorn front carrier while trying to make dinner. . .she kept trying to grab the knife I was cutting vegetables with.
    Now I have a moby wrap and it offers more options, and it's possible to tuck the baby's arms in out of the way. My only complaint about it is how bulky it is and the time it takes to tie it on. But I like how versatile it is and the extra warmth it offers in the winter.

    Though I don't really wear either child anymore.

  2. i hear ya! i love wearing my babies but it doesn't mean i can get the same things done as i would not wearing them. i feel like most of the every day cleaning i need to do involved lots of bending over, and thats just not easy while wearing a baby. everything takes way longer to do.

  3. Yeah, I've always been frustrated by how little I can get done compared to how much I wish I could get done. I'm going to start experimenting with back positions now that my baby's bigger. And I nursed him in a store while in a sling for the first time ever! Thanks to your example I didn't feel weird at all!

  4. I don't think I would get anything done without the rucksack back carry in a wrap. It's my favorite for "chore time". Of course, I would rather just veg on the couch with a book while nursing all day! :D But, you're right; I was surprised when I found out that babywearing isn't all "pop 'em in and go"!

  5. I so appreciate your honesty here! I was definitely one of those that heard all the wonders of babywearing and thought it would be the greatest thing in the world... and it wasn't. I enjoyed it sure, but it wasn't that "bliss" that you described! I was shocked that it wasn't as perfect as I thought it was supposed to be. I thought I was doing something wrong. I realize I just need to do it more often. My little ones are usually so content to play alone for a little (or long) while that I think I take advantage of that too often and don't provide enough in arms attention. I will work on that. I usually use my carriers (homemade wrap and a Mei Tai) for outings only. I rarely babywear around the house. That's my new goal: to wear my baby more at home! :O) Thanks Heather, you're always an inspiration!

  6. This is so true. Dish washing was something I could not do while babywearing because the reaching caused my back to hurt. And depending on the meal, I couldn't do a lot of cooking. But, I could vacuum (slowly), I could sweep and I could fold laundry while standing at the dining table. I loved it for grocery shopping until she was about a year and started twisting around in the sling.

  7. I've actually been meaning to ask for awhile now and since it fits in perfectly with this post... What are you fave carriers for babywearing? With our first on the way I've been trying to decide what to get, but there are so many brands and so many styles to choose from. P.S. Other readers please feel free answer too, if there was a sling you tried and loved (or hated) I'd appreciate knowing. Thank you.

  8. Lisa- I'll do an Inquisition Monday post next week for you. :)

  9. Lisa, my fave is a ring sling I bought from I like how the pleating really spreads the fabric over my shoulder. I also have an Ergo and really like it for a bigger baby, say 10 months and up.

  10. Great post :)

    I love your sling! and the mei tai in your other recent posts... very lovely!

  11. Lisa, I love my Baby K'tan. It's very similar to a Moby Wrap but without all the extra fabric. Very versatile and easy to throw in the wash!

  12. Awww! Cute post. He looks so much bigger in the pictures. lol!

    Is it wrong that while I was skimming through your slinging-dishwashing adventure I thought: Isn't this what husbands are for???


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