I love carrying my 4-month-old son Kai. I love having him with me wherever I go, whether I'm cleaning the house or out shopping. I love being able to look down at his smiling face. I love being able to lean my head forward to kiss him on his tiny face.
I have three older children, and there are always things that need to be done. Between loading the dishwasher, helping with homework, cooking dinner, and doing laundry, I don't have time to sit on the bed and rock my little one to sleep. I have to babywear to get sh*t done, but to be honest, I actually enjoy it.
But of course, there are some drawbacks to wearing my baby 24/7. For starters, babywearing hurts my body. Like, a lot. Once I take my baby out of the carrier, my lower back is in a tremendous amount of pain. My husband tells me there's no reason to keep him in the carrier so often, and that I should stop, but I still think babywearing is the best choice for me.
For centuries, mothers have been wearing their babies, and as attachment parenting has gotten increasingly popular, modern parents are starting to catch onto babywearing as well. There are some proven benefits to babywearing: for starters, it promotes breastfeeding, and there's some evidence to suggest that it reduces the chance that your baby's head will become flat from constantly lying on her back.
I've been babywearing Kai basically since he was born, but to be honest, I probably shouldn't have started doing it so much in the first place. When I was a child, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, which means that my spine is slightly curved. I wore a back brace in middle school, but the problem never fully resolved itself. Most days, my back didn't hurt and I could easily forget that I had an issue. But when I over-exerted myself during exercise, it almost always led to back pain.
I wonder if I should carry him around so much, or if babywearing will have a long-term impact on my health.
When I was pregnant with my son, I never told my doctor about my medical history, nor did I ask if it was OK to wear him. (After I did some research on the internet, though, I found out that some moms with scoliosis do babywear by using a soft structured carrier and making multiple adjustments.) But he did tell me that I might experience some issues during my pregnancy. I didn't have any pain while I was pregnant, but now that I'm regularly wearing my baby, the problem has resurfaced with a vengeance.
When I have my son in the carrier the whole day, my back hurts like hell, as do my upper arms. Even sitting down with him and rocking him back and forth hurts. Sometimes I wonder if I should carry him around so much, or if babywearing will have long-term adverse health effects. While everything I've read indicates that shouldn't be the case, and that I should just start carrying my baby on my back when he gets too heavy, I can't help but worry.
Recently, I've started wearing Kai less often. I only use the carrier in the house when I absolutely need to get something done, or if I can't get him to go to sleep. Some of my friends have said that I should give up wearing him altogether, but I can't bring myself to do that. The truth is that I really like wearing him.
Yes, my back hurts and my arms hurt and sometimes even my legs hurt from going up and down the stairs with him on me. But Kai is my last child and I want to soak up as much time with him as possible, because I know as my kids get older, I won't be able to hold them close to me as much. So for the time being, as long as my body will allow, I'll continue to babywear.