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Babywearing? No Thank You

By Nichole |

There are parts of parenting that surprise you and there are things that you keep to yourself because you fear that other people will judge you for them.

I have been keeping one such secret.

I haven’t admitted this to many people, but I’m about to come clean.

I truly disliked babywearing.

When we were pregnant with our first child, we read everything about babies that we could get our hands on. We collected information as though there would be some kind of a test before they handed our daughter over to us.

I researched slings and wraps and chose what I felt would work best for us. I practiced putting it on and getting adjusted to it before she was born, as I had read to do. I couldn’t wait to get her into it.

The day that we brought her home from the hospital, I put her in the wrap that I had so carefully chosen.

And she screamed.

And then she screamed some more.

The more she screamed, the hotter she got. The hotter she got, the more she screamed.

The more she screamed, the more I grew to dislike baby wearing.

We tried for days. Every time I tried to put her in it, she completely flipped out.

I tried positioning her differently, certain that there was a way to make her like it.

I asked for advice from friends and was told that it was the sling that I had chosen that was the problem. If I had gotten a wrap, then she would LOVE it.

So, I bought a wrap.

And she complained and squirmed.

The best it ever got was her tolerating it for short periods. She would put up with no more than 20 minutes at a time.

I had planned to wear her everywhere, but she arrived and showed me that she had plans of her own.

When I was pregnant with my son, I did some more research and decided to buy a ring sling and give that a go.

From the very first time that I placed him in it, he hated it.

It was a repeat of all that we went through with our daughter.

It reached a point where I only used it when I absolutely had to and he was miserable the bulk of the time that I wore him.

My kids simply did not like being worn. Held, yes, but worn, absolutely not.

It isn’t that we didn’t give it a chance. They just didn’t like it.

So, if I can share any wisdom with you, it would be to try to find some wraps and slings that you can borrow for a while. Or find a retailer who is generous with their return policy.

Then, go easy on yourself. I was so convinced that my babies should like being worn that I pushed beyond where I should have, all because everything that I had read told me that babies just love to be worn.

My children are proof that some babies feel otherwise.

They were still held and loved and they are well adjusted. I didn’t need to wear them to accomplish that. Once I realized that, we were all happier.

Now, I have a $40 sling, a $50 wrap, and a $60 ring sling.

Who wants to place bets on whether or not they’ll get use with the next baby?
Surely 1 out of the 3 of my children will love being worn?

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About Nichole



Nichole Beaudry lives in Sacramento, California with her husband Craig, their daughter Katie and baby boy Matthew. In her former life she was a college English professor, now she shares some of her small moments in her Practicing Gratitude column each week at SheKnows and works at AllParenting as the Assignments Editor. She was a contributor to Babble, and currently keeps a personal blog, In These Small Moments.

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0 thoughts on “Babywearing? No Thank You

  1. Katie says:

    I didn’t even try to wear Eddie because I had NO IDEA and sometimes I wonder if it would have helped. He LOVED the Bjorn and sometimes it was the only thing that kept him from constantly screaming his face off.

    Next baby? I am totally doing the wearing thing…i’ll buy yours off of you if they don’t work with your next baby :)

  2. Elizabeth Flora Ross says:

    I had a very similar experience w/my daughter. I tried all kinds of slings, wraps, etc. One was so complicated (and had come highly recommended by friends), it came with a DVD showing you how to use it. I never figured it out. The Baby Bjorn for short periods, ONLY if outside, and only once she could face forward was the best we could get her to do.

  3. Amy says:

    I tried soooooooooooooooo hard to get Darling Girl to take to being worn. I was gifted a beautiful wrap that I tried and tried and tried. It never worked. She was just MAD every time I tried, but being held or lying on someone’s chest she LOVED. I so hear you on this. So hear you. :)

  4. CDG says:

    bjorns, slings, carriers, even the Ergo… never mind the kiddo. *I* hated them all.

    never mind the kiddo.

  5. Lori says:

    This is how I feel about everything from natural childbirth to co-sleeping to breastfeeding. You have a plan. Yay for a plan, it makes us feel better to have plans.

    But life doesn’t really give two cents about our plans. Life might give you a breech delivery, a desperate need for a painkiller incompatible with nursing or a baby who hates slings. Or husband who can’t sleep with a child in the bed. Or a toddler that doesn’t respond to positive discipline. Or…well, the list is pretty long.

    So try the things you think are the better choices. Try hard, if they’re really important to you. And then forgive yourself, your baby and the complicated juggling act that is life if something makes you rewrite your plan.

    Cause endlessly screaming babies are much harder on your psyche than giving up baby wearing.

  6. Miranda says:

    Babywearing SAVED MY LIFE. I got a Moby when Joshua was 5 weeks old. His crying stopped almost instantly and OH MY GOD he was napping. Granted, I’d have to walk the mall while he did it, but naps were taking place and I was breathing fresh air.

    I’d still wear the kid if I could ever figure out a back carry in the Moby.

  7. Mama Wants This says:

    I have two slings that have been used maybe a dozen times when the Monkey was younger than 3 months. Beyond that, he just didn’t like it. We then got a Baby Bjorn, which he tolerated a few times, up until he was 6 months, and no go. So I had 3 things lying around that were a complete waste of money and time. Fortunately I managed to sell the Bjorn. I am keeping the slings for #2 when that happens. I’ll give it a go just because I have the slings.

  8. Monica says:

    I never wore baby until #4. I love wearing her. It makes it so much easier. I despised those baby car seat carriers because they were so heavy. When we were going over our options for #4 I just wanted to minimize. We are filled to the max here with stuff. The van is filled to the max. Okay, I could fit one more, but it would be tight. I hate the stroller in the back of the van because that’s all that fits. So I said we have to find another way. This is working for us. She doesn’t seem to enjoy being in the carrier with my husband, but for the most part she’s good with me. There are groups on Baby Center where you can buy, sell, and trade your carriers. So if you got one you didn’t like and wanted to try a different one then you can find someone to trade with. It’s of course not for everyone though, but you might want to look into that if you really think you aren’t going to wear baby. I started out with a cheap sleepy time wrap which I liked, but I knew I wanted to get a much sturdier sling and I now have a storchenweige which I love. My husband has the Ergo, but like I said my daughter doesn’t seem too comfortable with him. Not sure if it’s him or the Ergo. I’m researching lighter slings now though and ones I can use in the water so this summer I can take all of the kids to the pool with ease. I need something hands free for the baby so I can help my 3 year old in the pool. Don’t know that I could have kept my sanity this time around without the handsfreeness of baby wearing. Never even considered doing it with the first 3 though ;) .

  9. Alissa says:

    I loved wearing my son, but he had his own preferences too. He only liked the Bjorn, not the sling, etc. I would completely second maybe finding a friend to borrow them from and see which you and your baby like best…if any.

  10. KateTietje says:

    My daughter would not co-sleep…would not be worn…wanted to be independent from day 1. Seriously, I took her to bed as a newborn and she squirmed and cried until I put her back in her bed. About the same thing happened when i tried to wear her for any length of time. My son? LOVED co-sleeping, LOVED being worn. He would always snuggle in and sleep happily, until he was around a year (then he was convinced he was “one of the big kids” and did not want to be worn anymore — he’d push back against me and scream until I put him down). You just never know what you’ll get. :)

  11. Kate says:

    I love my Moby wrap but it’s way too hot to use it now. I have an old Snugli my SIL gave me but I’ve heard awful things about what it does to a child’s hips and posture. I think I’ll be buying an Ergo soon. My son (4mo) loves being worn when we go out but never, I mean never, at home.

  12. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) says:

    This sounds familiar. Everytime my husband came home, I’d have a new sling, wrap, carrier that I was sure my baby would love!

    The only thing he ended up loving was the bjorn, once he could face forward and see out. My daughter ended up doing pretty good with the peanut shell but it was never effortless or easy.

    Spent way too much money, just like you :)

  13. BalancingMama (Julie) says:

    I didn’t even try it! Bad mom? Some may think so… But my girl is happy, sociable, and smart. I think they turn out okay as long as they get love.

  14. Nicci M says:

    Same thing happened to me!! My sisters wore their children and so did a really good friend of mine and it thought how handy and adorable the babies looked. I wasn’t sold on the idea until I came across a great deal for a wrap. I bought it and planned on using it often. I had never used one for my son, but 8 yrs ago, no one else was using one either. After my daughter was born, she always wanted to be held, standing up, and rocked to sleep….I tried using the wrap, but she hated being in the laying down position and to top it off she hated being warm! So I put it in her diaper bag and left it in the car in case i ever needed it. She is now 9 months old and I tried it again…..she LOVES it!!

  15. Erin says:

    Uggh! I tried to wear both the boys, Thomas was almost 10 lbs at birth! And both boys seemed to feel like I was smothering them!
    Who knows maybe next baby will just love being worn! They do make adorable accessories to any family!! =)

  16. Haylie says:

    Oh I agree! It’s NOT for everyone and anyone who says otherwise, has just easier babies and had it work out for them.

    I had one with my 1st, but he couldn’t be in it until he was a year old due to medical issues. He did great unless he wasn’t sleepy or was sleeping, then he wanted out!

    With my 2nd, I went online and bought a used Hotsling, Eddie Bauer carrier and the all famous Mei Tai style wraps. Nothing worked and the wrap was just too much work to figure out all the time. I had to carry him myself all the time, because he hated the carriers. It was hard when I had laundry and stuff to do. Mostly I’d have to rush to do things while he was sleeping in his bouncer until I could manage better. I don’t have much hope with #3 on the way either, so sold off my other slings. I still have my Eddie Bauer and my Snugli to use if they work.

  17. Alicia says:

    I think anyone that thinks a mom is a “bad mom” for not wearing her baby is an idiot, plain and simple. This isn’t even a subject up to debate because it’s all about preference.
    Anyway, I tried wearing my son, but I was never comfortable with it. He’s one of those kids that is heavy even when he’s at a typical weight, so I was always worried the wrap or sling would let go. Plus he’s pretty strong, even as a baby, so I would have visions of him pushing himself out of it somehow! So it’s not something I like to do. If any of my babies wants to be held, I’ll just hold them since I trust my own arms more than a piece of cloth. That’s just me.

  18. BMommy says:

    I had the same experience. I was going to wear my son & never use a stroller. I purchased two slings when I was pregnant. when he arrived I did wear him a few times in the early days, but as he got a little older & bigger I had trouble getting comfortable (the slings bothered my back). It turned out he hated to be in the sling. He liked to be held though. When he ws older about 4mos I tried different carries & he was OK in the moby, but it was way too hot for both of us as soon as we got our warm weather so after about a month I gave up. He liked to see what was going on too & guess what he LOVED the stroller so that was the end of baby wearing. I will try again with my new little guy, but if he doesn’t like it that’s fine with me too.

  19. Yuliya says:

    There’s a store in SF (the name escapes me now) that lets you rent baby carriers, to try them out and see what works for you (if anything)…wouldn’t that be awesome for all baby gear? My kiddo loved the activity mat thing but hated the swing and barely tolerated her bouncy chair…every child is different.

  20. gayle says:

    Babyhawk Mei Tai – best thing ever. Nothing else worked for me and the little one.

  21. Shannon LC Cate says:

    After the infancy of my first daughter I thought a wrap was a can’t-parent-without-it absolute necessity. She lived in the thing until my back broke. We could go anywhere, anytime, because she would just nap or go to bed in it and I’d wear her around. She also loved swaddling and slept best that way until she was nine months old. She loved the baby hammock and slept in it until she weighed too much for safety.
    Second daughter HATED the wrap and all slings. And she was a preemie–supposedly in MORE need of being worn. Nope. Hated. Kicked off the swaddling, kicked off the double swaddling. Kicked in the baby hammock so hard that she nearly fell out, which we were sure was impossible with a tiny newborn.
    She has always wanted to be free to move her limbs and still doesn’t like being held in such a way that she can’t.
    Kids are all different. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  22. Celina says:

    We have 3 children and our 4th on the way. My older two are ages 13 and 8; we did not use any type of slings or other gadgets for them; just plain old holding them when we were out and about. Our youngest is almost 2. I got a sling when she was almost 1 and she was okay with it. It gave her the feeling of being close to me, however she is more comfortable with just being held. For our fourth I would love to sling him, but if he does not like it then I will not push him.

  23. Full Nelson says:

    I really don’t understand why Western parents have jumped on this nutty trend. Having lived in a developing nation, I can tell you that baby wearing isn’t something women do to keep their babies attached and nurtured and happy – they do it, very simply, to keep their babies out of the way while they go about the hard labour they need to perform every day to survive. They need to wash their clothes without washing machines, bake bread and make meals from scratch every day, carry water long distances, and contribute to the family’s economic well being through selling goods at market or through agricultural work. It’s a way to keep the baby out of harm’s way while they work their butts off. And when that baby is old enough to help, it will be put to work too. I really wish Western parents would stop romanticizing these practices as somehow better for baby.

  24. Natalie says:

    I wasn’t a fan either! I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one!

  25. Regina says:

    My baby loves the wrap. I tried putting him in the shopping cart @ 10 months at the grocery store and he HATED that! Never leave the house without a wrap.

  26. Heather says:

    I have worn my soon-to-be-three year old since birth. Still do. Wish I had known about it when my other two were small. My Ergo is my best friend in the whole wide world. Do I recommend trying it? YES!

    Is it valuable bonding time for us? Um,no. It’s all about convenience. It’s a tool for us the way strollers are for other folks. Do what works for you.

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