The Semantics of Babywearing

June 17th, 2010 by Dionna | 33 Comments
Posted in Feed with Love and Respect, natural parenting, Use Nurturing Touch

2009-12-11 03

Kieran doing some babywearing

I’ve heard babywearing called a lot of things:

  • convenient 1
  • a way to promote bonding 2
  • an excellent way to breastfeed 3
  • educational (for baby) 4
  • even trendy 5

But offensive? Disrespectful? 6 How so?

According to Janet Lansbury, the term “babywearing” is an outrage. The term is disrespectful to babies because it objectifies them. In other words, she does not like the image associated with wearing a baby like one would wear a coat. She encourages caregivers to “wear the sling, not the baby.”

Ms. Lansbury also takes issue with Dr. Sears’ use of the word “humanizing” with respect to babywearing. Babies, Ms. Lansbury points out, are born human. We do not need to teach infants how to be human, regardless of whether they are in a sling.

She also takes issue with Sears’ assertion that “babywearing enhances learning[, because] baby is intimately involved in the caregiver’s world.” She argues that passively carrying a baby around does not “intimately involve” the baby in the adult’s world. Instead, intimate involvement is attained by giving the infant full and loving attention.

Semantically Speaking, I Agree (to an Extent). But . . .

Talking about babywearing does not objectify babies: I understand Ms. Lansbury’s point that objectifying babies by “wearing” them like a fashion accessory is potentially . . . dehumanizing. But let’s look at the reality of the situation. Babywearing in the United States (at least) is practiced in large part by parents who are slinging their infants in an effort to get closer to them. To bond with them, to learn their rhythms, to calm them, to love them.

And to give Sears a little bit of credit, he specifically says that the term babywearing was born when his wife remarked: “I really enjoy wearing Mathew. The sling is like a piece of clothing. I put it on in the morning and take it off in the evening.” So the intent behind the term is that the sling is worn, not the baby. “Babywearing” is shorthand.

To accuse parents who bandy about the term “babywearing” of being guilty of objectifying their infants is excessive; maybe even a little insulting. When I think of objectification, I think of the way abusers reduce their victims so that they can hurt them without remorse. I think of the way women are portrayed in the majority of pornographic movies. I think of the way that closed-minded individuals reduce non-heterosexuals to some lesser/abnormal status so that they can belittle and damn them.

In other words, to objectify a person or group of people is disrespectful. It is demeaning. It is often intentional. And, ok – the above examples are extreme, but so is calling the term “babywearing” an outrage.

If you want to find parental behavior worthy of being called an “outrage,” I have a few friends who work in social services who would be happy to give you some examples.

Babywearing does involve babies in everyday life. Yes, full and loving attention lavished on babies is indeed “intimate involvement.” But it is also engaging and involving to give an infant an eye-level view of what is happening in the world around her. Ms. Lansbury’s argument in this respect does not have anything to do with the term babywearing, but with the practice – why would anyone argue against parents allowing babies the chance to interact with their environment?

The point Sears was making is that 1) babies who are in arms/sling cry and fuss less; 2) calm babies spend more time in a state of quiet alertness; 3) being content and quietly alert has been shown to be an optimal state for babies to learn; 4) therefore, babies who are in arms/sling may learn more. I simply don’t understand how arguing against babywearing results in a more beneficial outcome for babies. If they are being carried/worn less frequently, their parents will still have to go about their day – so instead of involving the baby (passively! yes, passively!), the baby is . . . where? On the floor? In the crib? In the swing?

And that’s better how?

I will also concede that Sears’ use of the word “humanizing” was probably not an accurate choice for what he wanted to convey. By “teaching them to be human,” I suspect that Sears was simply referring to the process of socialization and learning the “rules” of their particular environment. Babies, toddlers, and kids learn things passively – by quiet observation – all the time. Sears says:

Carried babies become more aware of their parents’ faces, walking rhythms, and scents. Baby becomes aware of, and learns from, all the subtle facial expressions, body language, voice inflections and tones, breathing patterns, and emotions of the caregiver. A parent will relate to the baby a lot more often, because baby is sitting right under her nose. Proximity increases interaction, and baby can constantly be learning how to be human.

I find it hard to agree with any conclusion that babies who are left in their cribs or swings will get more attention or will benefit from the decreased proximity to their caregivers. And again, “learning how to be human” may just be another way of saying that babies are learning how to interact, how the world works, and how their parents live life. If one is at all familiar with the rest of Sears’ work and parenting philosophy, one would be hard pressed to conclude that he thinks babies are less than human.

An Exercise in Semantics

What it ultimately comes down to for me is this: in general, parents who follow an attachment/natural parenting philosophy have a deep desire to live and parent responsively and consciously. Parents who spend time preparing for their pregnancy and birth, who nourish their baby with love and respect, who respond with sensitivity and provide loving, positive care, these are not parents who run the risk of treating their babies as objects.

Ms. Lansbury offers a variety of terms to replace babywearing: babyholding, babybundling, babysnuggling, babynuzzling, babyjoining, babykeeping, babyembracing, babycradling, babynestling.

And maybe if she had suggested one of these terms several years ago, it would have caught on (although many of her suggested terms do nothing to differentiate the fact that the baby is in a piece of fabric secured to an adult’s body, instead of simply in arms).

Ultimately, I am fairly confident that the children who have been worn are in very little danger of being seen as less than human by their parents.

Get back to me if you want to discuss the disrespect and objectification of children by parents who abuse.
  1. Laura Simeon, “10 Reasons to Wear Your Baby“: “When you carry your baby in a sling, you can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a stroller. Plastic “baby buckets” are heavy and awkward for parents and they sure don’t look too comfortable for the baby being swung around at knee level!” It also allows parents to be hands-free for domestic/work tasks.
  2. Paulus Wanandi, “Babywearing: A Dad’s Experience
  3. LLLI, “The Benefits of Babywearing“: “Breastfeeding mothers who practice baby wearing find it easy to nurse their babies more often. This may help babies gain more weight. The shorter the time between feedings the higher the fat content in mother’s milk. By wearing baby, a mother can easily respond to his early feeding cues.”
  4. Dr. Sears, “Benefits of Babywearing“: “Sling babies spend more time in the state of quiet alertness . This is the behavioral state in which an infant is most content and best able to interact with his environment. It may be called the optimal state of learning for a baby. Researchers have also reported that carried babies show enhanced visual and auditory alertness.”
  5. The Baby Website, “Babywearing is Trendy
  6. Janet Lansbury recently left a comment using these words re: babywearing on one of my (unrelated) posts, which led me to find her article on this topic.

33 Responses to:
"The Semantics of Babywearing"

  1. MomAgain@40   karentoittoit

    I am calling it my “sanity bag”: When baby cries and nothing else helps!
    Great post!

  2. the Grumbles   thegrumbles

    great talking points here, you’ve said it all. it the grand scheme of things i just keep thinking- really? she’s upset about THAT?

  3. This is a great article (I came here via a link on Facebook). I absolutely believe that harping on the semantics takes away from the real benefits of baby wearing. My son was very colicky and my sling kept both him and me sane during those first months. Later, I got an ergo baby, and I kept wearing him (on my back) until he was 30 pounds and I was too pregnant with my daughter to wear him anymore. Now my daughter is nearly a year old and, in terms of moving around outside of the house, we only take the stroller out maybe once a week. She much prefers to be carried or worn and see what is going on in the world around her.

    This is another great article written by my friend Becca, about when she had to stop wearing her son for a while after hurting her back, and how his behavior changed:

  4. I don’t even think that “humanization” is a faulty word or descriptor. In my opinion, a newborn baby is human by possibility–not by most of our standards of humanity (consciousness, linguistic ability, etc.). I mean (and I know this sounds awful, but it’s true, and it was true for my babies as well as other babies!), can you really say that a newborn baby has as many “human” qualities as, say, a dog? Not really. It’s all about possibility and potential.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Welllllllll if we’re going to argue semantics ;) I don’t think there’s any question that babies are human beings. Social skills? Social responsiveness? A developed personality? Now those are things that babies grow into; I don’t think you can grow into a human – you either are human or you aren’t. A dog can never grow into a human being (in my reality anyway).
      ;) Thank you for making me think about it!

      • Rebecca

        Wellllllll if we continue the argument of semantics, and look to Websters as a source of definition, one could argue that there is are multiple interpretations and definitions of human which differ from the definition of human being (as a phrase). The phrase “human being” deals with membership of the genus homo and especially of the species homo sapiens. Therefore the phrase “human beings” deals with the immutable quality that makes a person different than a dog, in so far as a biological make up. If we look to the definitions of the singular term human and to the term humamnize we see that those terms deal more with the behavioral aspects of social skills, responsiveness, responsibility, than the phrase version of “human being.”

        To “humanize” is to represent or endow with the characteristics of a human or the attributes of a human, or to make humane (which is defined as characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion or characterized by an emphasis on humanistic values and concernss. Those humanistic values being a doctrine or attitude concerned chiefely with human beings and their values, capacities, and achievements. Or a cultural or intellectual movement that emphazied secular concerns as a result of the study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient greece and rome). Humane being those things characterised by kindness, mercy, or compassion.

        Both the original commenter and this response assume that the word humanizing takes its base from the word human rather than the word humane, which based on the published definitions is not particularly accurate. The definition itself would indicate that the word is actually a verb tense and form of the word humane, which describes the items that Heather is talking about.

        Interestsingly enough, there is no definition for humanize which discusses endowing the immutable characteristics i.e. genus and species of homo sapien. Because you cannot endow those.

        A dog for instance can never be a “human being” and so cannot be humanized with the term human alone as the base, however a dog can show compassion, bravery, or other humanoid characteristics, which might show that the dog had been humanized as discussed in the definition of the word humanize.

        How is that for obnoxious

      • Dionna   CodeNameMama

        Rebecca, I love you.
        Also, last night we were “interviewing” Kieran and asked him who the president of the US was. I’m scared to tell you his answer . . .

  5. Maman A Droit   MamanADroit

    Is babywearing a perfect term? No.
    Is it the best term to describe the practice of carrying babies in slings/wraps on their parent? Probably.
    I think the people I’ve met who actually practice babywearing are the least likely of everyone I know to objectify their babies. They treat their babies like they ought to go everywhere with them and be part of their day/life. I’ve certainly met people who treat babies like accessories, like they should look cute and be showed off and bragged about, but not like the babies actually have real emotions and needs. But those people are the ones who put their baby in a stroller or playpen whenever it’s inconvenient for the parent to care for the baby. I think it’s pretty stupid and pointless for this woman to be attacking an imperfect but functional term for a great parenting practice.

  6. While I can’t say I agree with Lansbury’s assertions, I have to confess that I dislike the term ‘babywearing’ and rarely, if ever, use the term. I simply refer to what I’m doing as ‘carrying my kiddo in a sling’.

    • Rebecca

      I generally just say slinging, though I anticipate that would also be deemed inappropriate, because well, that would indicate that I am actually hurling my child about as if she were in a sling aka to fling. Or that I had placed her in a drink of brandy, whiskey, or gin which was sweetened and usually lemon flavored. Or even that I was letting her swing loosely and freely…which is totally different than all of my experiences with slinging or babywearing or whatever else one decides to call it on any given day.

  7. Rebecca

    You need to enable more layers of comments :) Cause I cannot reply to yours.

    But now, now I am curious!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      You can just reply in the most recent comment that has a “reply” button, then it should keep nesting downward.
      At any rate, when I said “who is president of the United States?”
      He said, “I don’t know . . . Auntie Rebecca?”

      Oh Lord, how Tom and I laughed.

      • Rebecca

        Oh how no one wants that at all!

        That is hilarious, however. (though, I am surprised he didn’t choose uncle george).

  8. kalamitykristen

    Janet Lansbury strikes me as the “anti-woman” type. Instead of using the time she spent writing her article on the horrors of the word “babywearing” to do something that actually benefits kids & their parents, she sits around harping about semantics. It is ridiculous. The last thing that women, & mothers in particular, need is some blogger calling innocent terminology an “outrage.” I am outraged that she even has the time to be writing such nonsense.
    She asserts that babywearing is demeaning to babies, that they are ignored in the sling, & that mothers use babywearing as a false way of bonding so we don’t have to actually spend time with our kids. Or, maybe I need my hands to do the dishes & my son wants to be held? What universe does this woman live in??

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I have to admit – I felt pretty hypocritical taking time to respond (because I think there are much more important things to educate people about than the semantics of the term babywearing), but I honestly did feel the need to defend the intentions of most babywearing parents. Plus, unless I was reading her incorrectly (and many of the comments on the article), it seems there is more to her dislike for babywearing than semantics alone.

      To give Ms. Lansbury credit, I understand that our word choices DO carry a lot of subconscious meaning. I didn’t write that in the post, because I didn’t have time to find some concrete examples/analogies – I would welcome anyone to respond to that topic here!

      I am looking forward to reading Janet’s response – I emailed her and let her know that I’d posted on the topic, and I assured her I wasn’t trying to spark animosity between us or disrespect her particular parenting philosophy. (And I’ll take this moment to ask anyone else who comments here to please be respectful, even if we don’t share Ms. Lansbury’s views. I honestly did not respond to her article in order to get people riled up at her – it is simply an interesting debate.)

      Obviously we’re not all going to agree when it comes to parenting.

      • Rebecca

        I don’t think she is anti woman, or any of that business, and realistically, I looked at a number of other posts on her website, and many of them I agree with.

        Though like many things, blogs and other sources of information, I think it takes a kitten killer advocacy approach, (though less than many things I have read). In fact, in support of the idea that words have meanings and those meanings are different both overtly and covertly, much of what I believe to be kitten killer advocacy is written by well meaning folks under the guise of education. It happens on the news and in real life all the time, among the many reasons one should not discuss religion or politics with their family (or at least not with my family).

        That’s great. Words by design either make us feel good or bad, secure or insecure, there is little neutral territory in the world of words. Look at an MSNBC and FOX article on the same topic, I would guarantee that they say very different things about the same thing. An example of how this happens can be found here:

        I would say that you are correct that her issues with babywearing range beyond the word babywearing, which is not to say that I don’t agree with some of her contentions on babywearing and other parenting topics. But, the word is just one part of it.

  9. Heather   xakana

    Personally, I like the term babywearing and will continue to both wear my baby and use the term. That woman can suck it up.

  10. Rebecca

    On a similar note, a sesame street fact

    On South Africa’s Takalani Sesame, “Bert speaks with a black South African accent and Ernie with a white one, sending a message of collaboration and harmony to post-apartheid South Africa.

    Its not only the words that you say, but how you say them.

  11. Daisy   TooTooDaisy

    I am outraged that so many mothers are outraged with Lansbury’s outrage. I don’t think Lansbury is anti-woman at all, and I liked her article. There are lots of benefits of using slings, AND it is becoming a trendy thing for urban moms to do. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive at all. Babynestling would have been a great alternative. To say that bothering with semantics is a waste of time denies the power of words and labels in society. Negro vs Black, Handicapped v Disabled, Babywearing vs Babynestling — labels do matter and are worth talking about.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I agree with you – I don’t think that discussing semantics is a waste of time (I don’t recall making that assertion…?), I realize that there are pretty powerful contexts in which semantics play a major role in attitudes/perceptions/etc. I completely agree that our choice of language has an impact on our thinking.
      I guess what surprised me is the way she chose to start the discussion.
      “And yet we use an expression that perpetuates the objectification of babies. This is an outrage. Carrying babies is one thing. Wearing them like a fashion accessory is quite another.”
      Again, I think “outrage” is extreme. It is my opinion (and it is only an opinion, it is not backed up by anything other than anecdotal evidence/personal experience) that, at least among the majority of the babywearing subset, the term “babywearing” does not perpetuate the objectification of babies. And among that same majority (at least the ones I’m familiar with – those being people who wear their babies because of the benefits espoused by Sears et al.), babies are not worn as a fashion accessory.
      Would it be an interesting discussion to have about whether the term babywearing objectifies infants?
      But the way her article came across (to me!) was that she was *accusing* parents of it.

  12. Michelle @ The Parent Vortex   TheParentVortex

    Although I don’t have any problem with the semantics or practice of babywearing, I think it’s interesting to look critically at attachment parenting and think about the reasons why and how we practice it.

    I’ve read some of Janet Lansbury’s blog (her debate with Annie @ phd in parenting about crying and attachment parenting inspired this post of mine) and I don’t think she’s anti-woman at all. I think she believes that babies are very autonomous and benefit from time spent alone to explore by themselves. I don’t think that has to necessarily be in opposition to having a strong attachment, either – babies need time with their caregivers and time alone too (although that time may be very short, depending on age.)

    Anyway, thanks for the well-written and interesting post on this topic!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you for pointing me to those posts! I agree with you (and Rebecca and whoever else visited Lansbury’s site and sees merit) – I have read several articles on Janet Lansbury’s blog, and while I don’t agree with everything she says, I think she makes some very fabulous points about parenting. Then again, I don’t agree with everything that any parenting expert says, so that’s no strike against Lansbury. :)

  13. janetlansbury   janetlansbury

    Hi! Thanks for taking the time to read my post and hear my objections to the term ‘babywearing’. Although I do not believe infants should spend the day cooped up in either a sling, or a stroller (and I don’t recommend swings, saucers, walkers, bouncy seats or any other restraining devices AT ALL), I support parents to make whatever choices feel right to them.

    There is massive support online for the Attachment Parenting/babywearing point of view. My site offers an approach that is similar in some ways, but very different in others. There are Attachment Parents who read my site and often agree with me, but debate me head-on on certain issues and I WELCOME THAT. In fact it has taught me a lot about AP.

    I’ve been a parent educator for 17 years with the mission to convince parents and others that infants deserve respect, that they should be treated as unique individuals ready to actively particpate in a relationship with us from the beginning. Many in the world objectify infants, which is not to say they don’t love them, but that they view them as lovable, cute objects, pass them from person to person to hold, throw them up in the air, tickle to get a rise out of them, etc. Respect for babies is my battle.

    Believe it or not, I heard the term ‘babywearing’ for the first time when I began my blog 8 months ago. I was stunned, and you are right that maybe ‘outrage’ is the wrong word to use, and I regret it, especially if you are going to compare it to things that I agree are far more shocking and outrageous. Disbelief and dismay are probably more accurate.

    I realize that when we use certain words regularly, they become familiar and come to “mean what they mean to us”. We don’t hear them with the same objectivity.

    After hearing from several AP parents, and debating the subject in a 46 comment thread on my FB page, I don’t think AP parents MEAN to disrespect babies at all. In fact, I think you have enormous respect for infants, but simply have a different view of their specific needs than I do. THAT’S OKAY! But the term ‘babywearing’ gives the wrong impression. It does AP parents a disservice in early childhood education communities and in the world. And it affirms the widely held view of infants as “things” that I am fighting against. Really, is it possible to wear another person?

    The words we use do matter, ESPECIALLY when used to describe a particular philosophy, or a central tenet to a philosophy. I honestly don’t know why Sears would not think that term through. For me, it is almost impossible to see beyond the offensiveness and thoughtlessness of Sear’s choices of words to want to learn more about his philosphy. And that’s why I think it does genuinely caring and mindful parents like all of you an injustice. In my opinion, AP parents need a better flag to wave.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      An excellent point that a word might mean one thing to me and another thing to a listener, especially because I have been exposed to it more often.
      And I am with you 100% on respecting our babies instead of turning them into objects of cuteness or hot potatoes. (In fact, you might agree with a post I did on tickling for API Speaks, which I was shocked to find out was a controversial claim to make in many circles – respect kids by stopping a tickle game when they say stop? How dare I suggest such things!)
      And thank you for agreeing that different views on infant needs is acceptable. It is refreshing to have a logical, calm conversation about parenting while agreeing to disagree. And just because I identify as “AP” does not mean that I strictly adhere to everything they do – not many AP (or any parenting philosophy) parents could make that claim.
      I appreciate your thoughtful response, Janet!

  14. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    I agree that the term can be seen as a little flippant. If Janet had stopped there in her post and her response to comments, I’d be fine with calling it into question, just as I and others have pondered the implications of terms like “extended breastfeeding” and “intact.” It’s fine to think about semantics, because they do have an effect on how we think.

    I just want to say, and I don’t feel like wading into the comments at Janet’s article, that there’s no way I’m going to be 100% focusing on my baby all day. So when I have something else to do that doesn’t allow for my baby to sit by himself, out of my sight, why can’t I pick him up and use a convenient piece of cloth to tie him to me so I can get that task done? How is that not better for him than being left alone? I don’t think babywearing is an either/or, like either you wear your baby in a sling ignoring him OR you give him focused attention and time to explore. My baby had both.

    Speaking of baby, a lot of the commenters at Janet’s place seemed to be saying, “But my baby likes to walk,” etc. Babywearing a newborn is much different than babywearing a toddler. Newborns in the first few months are still just getting used to the world, and the sling can be like a second womb. Toddlers can make choices about whether to be worn or not, and frequently do. Mine loved it.

    I don’t wholeheartedly agree with all of Jean Liedloff’s ideas in The Continuum Concept, either, but I wonder what Janet’s views are on Liedloff’s idea that pre-crawling babies are meant to be carried and ignored. It’s hammered home in TCC that parents in the tribe she observed did not interact with their newborns but went about their business as usual. Only after a baby has learned to crawl is he allowed to explore as he likes. Frankly, I can’t keep myself from interacting with a newborn, but it’s clear there are multiple and divergent views on this issue.

  15. Lisa C   edenwild

    I wish I found this post a couple days ago when I was in a ranting mood but really just wanted to read someone else rant. Although this may be too civil to classify as a rant.

    Anyway, I love the term babywearing. To me, it is endearing. In one word it paints the picture of someone wearing their baby in a sling. Let’s just note that the people who use the term most, are the ones wearing their babies the most, and those are parents who love their babies very much and are utilizing the sling to benefit their child.

    As for “humanizing…” Can’t we say “Learning what it means to be human”? Social creatures DO need to learn how to behave like their own species. Of course we are born human, we just need to learn how to behave like one. I call it “socialization.”

  16. Amber   AmberStrocel

    I have two children. I love both of my children. I respect both of my children. I strive to parent them thoughtfully, gently and compassionately.

    And yet, I find the idea that I am ought to actively engage with a newborn to be perhaps overly idealistic. When my second child was born, he spent a good deal of time in the mei tai. I pretty much wore him like an accessory. I was attentive to his physical needs, but I didn’t give him the same kind of undivided time that my firstborn got. I simply couldn’t. Like most second children, he was incorporated into the life we were already living. He came to my daughter’s swimming lessons and her gym classes, and he didn’t do baby time at the library like my first did.

    I don’t believe that passively observing life from my back or chest was harmful to my son. He is no less assured of my love, no less developed, no less cared for. He has never napped alone, in fact, because of babywearing in large part. But I did other things as I wore him. When you have only one child, spending a lot of time actively engaging that child is possible. When you have more than one child, it’s not so much. Yes, I strive to meet everyone’s needs, but that looks different now. And that’s OK with me.

    I don’t believe that the needs of babies are actually that intense. The idea that we ought to be intellectually stimulating our newborns is very cultural. Many cultures would find the concept laughable. Debating terminology is cool. Choosing words that work for you is cool. But we need to keep in mind that we are doing this through a lens of culture and circumstance, and not based on universal truth.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      That is an excellent point, Amber. And, of course, the reason for putting little ones on backs to begin with was so the parent could continue to live life. It was probably a second child who sparked the idea for the original carrier ;)

  17. Maman A Droit   MamanADroit

    I wasn’t going to re-comment, but since HoboMama featured this on her Sunday Surf and you’ll probably get a bunch more views, I just wanted to clarify that I think perhaps “petty” was the word I was looking for rather than “stupid and pointless”. It seems to me like she has a bunch of fairly well-thought out arguments against babywearing (even though I disagree with them) and then sort of tacked on “oh yeah, and it has a lame name, too!” I think it distracts from the overall discussion of whether using baby carriers is a positive thing for babies and mommies, which I think is much more important. I’d also like to add that thinking a specific semantic discussion is petty does not mean a person thinks all semantic discussions are unimportant, and that Janet Lansbury seems like a fairly intelligent woman who is trying to do the right thing but disagrees with us AP types on what that is.
    Phew. I think that about covers all the little thoughts that popped into my head as I read other comments. Lol.

  18. Natalie   babywearingitup

    Is this an appropriate place to say that if we’re going to be discussing the drawbacks of “babywearing” that we must cease using the term “piggyback”? I mean, isn’t it rude and insulting to call someone a piggy because they’re riding on another person’s back? If I am taking a ride on my husband’s back because I sprained my ankle, say, is it not adding insult to injury and characterizing my as a piggy to use that term?! I insist we stop immediately! ;)

  19. Jen   diplomom08

    Frankly, what saddens me is that now it seems that even “babywearing” isn’t good enough. Not because we aren’t spending enough time with with our child, but being criticized for using the wrong terminology? I completely understand the issue, but given all of what is not right in the world today, I don’t to see the point in this at all, other than to make parents feel as though they are failures on yet one more level.

    Why is everything, including the way we describe our parenting, made to seem like a competition? If we don’t do it the ‘new experts’ way, we are doomed to fail and our children will be miserable? Why can’t we just rejoice in the loving time spent with our children instead of picking every aspect of it apart?

  20. I actually LOVE the term babywearing because it so specifically joins baby to what mama (or another caregiver) is doing. The term babywearing does to an extent imply that they’re a part of the caregiver and their activity for that space of time and I think that’s great because it so clearly makes a baby NOT something that you just need to find somewhere to put. Babywearing is so much more personal than what I’d term “babylugging” with an infant in a carseat.

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