The Stroller Set
Before I had my two kids, I had a lot of experience interacting with numerous strangers with babies in malls, on sidewalks, and in grocery stores. Most of the parents I recall interacting with were stroller-pushers and most of our interactions consisted of smashed toes, clipped heels, exasperated sighs, and impatient excuse me’s. Avoiding the ire of stranger is just one of the many reasons that baby carriers work. They make life easier and happier for baby, siblings, parents, and grateful strangers.
Reason #1: Convenience
For Parents and Caregivers
- You can do most things with baby in a carrier, most notably exercise, shopping, eating/drinking, and hanging out at the park with your baby’s older sibling(s). And how could we forget using the Blackberry to check email?
- Compared to stroller pushing, a carrier is more convenient when doing a status check: hungry? sleepy? in need of a diaper change? wants to play? needs a teether (the tell-tale sign of fist-in-mouth)?
- It’s easier to move among crowds with a baby carrier, which never has the clunkiness, the parts to wrestle with, or the potential to impinge on others’ personal space.
- You’ve only got two hands, and if you’re pushing a stroller, you can’t push a shopping cart. Besides, a baby facing outward in a front-carrier loves to help you push the cart and pick out the ripest apples.
- Your baby never has to resort to kicking, crying, or throwing toys out of the stroller to get your atttention. Right there with you, he or she can communicate directly. What a relief for both of you.
- Moving from sleeping to eating is a matter of a slight shift.
- Not to mention the comfort and ease of being next to mom or dad, most every baby’s favorite resting place!
Reason #2: Baby Loves Them
Your baby won’t just love riding in a carrier because of the convenience of sleeping and eating in the same spot (Hey, doesn’t everyone love a little room service now and then?).
There’s also the view to think about. If you’re a person of small stature, like me, you can empathize with your baby’s limited horizon. Facing in or out, baby can see the world, staying entertained by the surroundings, and enabling you to keep on doing what you’re doing with a contented baby.
For parents worried about getting baby “too attached”, consider that the more time you give baby to snuggle close during the day, the less desperate for your closeness she’ll be in the middle of the night. An infant, pediatricians agree, is incapable of developing bad habits.
Reason #3: It’s A Womb With A View
Kangaroo care is the term for the care premature infants in Bogota, Columbia received. With a high infant mortality rate, mothers were instructed to carry their preemies in a cloth pouch close to their chests for every hour of the day, every day of the week. It worked wonders.
In addition to benefits for preemies, using a baby carrier is beneficial for every baby and every parent. Babies love the rhythmic to and fro movements of riding in a sling or carrier while parents stroll around.
They get a pleasant sense of deja vu since the baby carrier is remarkably like the womb, with its closeness to the parent, snuggly “walls”, curled up positions, and movement in synch with the caregiver.
For us busy parents, who are in need of a couple extra hands, an hour to two of exercise, a low-profile way to get baby to sleep and eat when you’re on the run, and a way to get to know baby’s needs (or personality), there are two words that deliver it all: baby carrier. And two other words – thank you – that you may not hear, but will definitely be on the lips of strangers, whose heels and toes will live to see another day.
These are some of the reasons baby carriers work so well that raising an infant without one is hard to imagine. Have I forgotten some of their benefits? If so, please leave your comments and add to the list.