Baby wearing has always been on my radar.
But it’s not something that I knew would be a big part of my parenting journey.
When Isla was born, I wore her in a sling and then later in an SSC because it was convenient.
Beirut is not stroller friendly at all. This is the sidewalk we take to school every day. Sure, I could take another road that would be a bit easier with a stroller. But it’s so much more convenient to strap on the baby and take the quickest route.
It’s also convenient because Lebanese love babies… and show their love by kissing and squeezing them. For my kids this is a normal way of interacting with small children, as evidenced by Isla regularly pinching Luka (“ya2booooorrrrni habibi!!!”). I’m not a germ-phobe by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m more than happy to pass my baby around to all my friends. But the kisses from random men on the street right after taking a big drag on their cigarette are just a bit too much. The wrap puts a small barrier between my baby and the stranger’s mouth. Though that doesn’t stop the most persistent ones who are determined to kiss his head, it is a deterrent to most.
Adding another baby to the family made babywearing necessary. When it was just Isla, and she needed to be touching me in order to sleep, I sat on the bed with her in my lap and read a book or did work on the computer. That’s impossible with a 2 year old running around needing attention.
Without babywearing, my babies wouldn’t get naps, dinner wouldn’t get made, older sibs wouldn’t get much attention.
It’s nearly necessary for navigating the streets of Beirut. Never mind the lack of smooth sidewalks, now it’s figuring out how to cross the street with three kids. One in the wrap, and one holding each hand. So much easier than trying to hold hands and push a stroller at the same time.
It started out as convenient and quickly moved into a necessity. But more than that, babywearing has become a huge part of my parenting style. I believe it has huge benefits – both for the baby and for his relationship to his parents.
Babies who are worn develop good attachment. Being so close to mom means their needs for comfort and safety are immediately met. I’m much more in tune to my baby’s rhythm – his breathing, his temperature, his cues of when he needs to sleep or eat or snuggle or retreat from overwhelming stimuli. Babies who are worn cry less (43% less, according to one study!) and at least two of mine definitely slept more because they were worn.
A friend of mine has a dream to see all babies in Lebanon worn. I’m so excited to partner up with her and offer Beirut’s first ever babywearing meeting this week. We’ll talk through the different kinds of carriers and let everyone try them out. You are welcome to join us if you are in Beirut and interested in learning more about babywearing!!