I know it’s no surprise I love baby carriers, and that I’m a huge fan of the Ergobaby.
Baby wearing is very in fashion… along with many other things that are…. being a baby wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, amber wearing mom is THE THING these days…. but at least in respects to babywearing, there are great reasons that support this practice.
Benefits of babywearing
There are actual studies that document the positive effects of wearing your baby..
- Research has confirmed the obvious: carried babies cry less. Many people will tell you that babies need to learn to “self soothe” and that by carrying them often you are making them dependent. However, research conducted by anthropologists (source) throughout the world, studying infant-care practices in other cultures have concluded that babywearing does not have this effect, and that on the contrary, it helps babies develop a more solid concept of security and trust.
- Because babywearing helps babies be more confident, these babies are actually at an advantage in regards to cognitive development and learning. A confident baby is much more likely to explore the world around them, and therefore much more open to making discoveries and learning.
- Babies that are carried spend more time in the state of quiet alertness, instead of crying and feeling upset. According to Dr.Sears, “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” (source).
- Baby wearing also improves learning for the baby because they are able to see, at adult level, what the adult can see and do. They are much more exposed to I retesting sights and smells. They are at eye level with other adults and therefore see and notice how people interact.
- The research behind attachment parenting (yes, it’s a research based approach), confirms that continued presence of the mother or another close caregiver – such as that which happens when babywearing – “provides the regulatory influence for the baby’s emotional, intellectual, and physiological systems to function optimal.”
(Note: although I say and believe all of this, I do NOT think that babies that are NOT worn miss out on all of this. Of course they don’t. Clearly, there are babies that do not like being worn, and there are mothers and fathers that simply don´t think it is comfortable, no matter how much they try. And because young children and babies are human, the fact that they are worn while young does not mean that they will have a marvelous future and development…. The same is true for babies that are worn… the fact that they are does not mean that they will enjoy all these benefits availed by research).
There are many positive aspects about babywearing, both for the baby and the adult that wears them. It is fun, it promotes learning and development, and in most cases, it is easy and convenience.
Most importantly, at least for us, it has saved us of so many situations while we travel, and there are places that we have been to that would have been a complete DISASTER had we not used a baby carrier.
Places where babywearing is a must
Surviving Siem Reap with a baby is absolutely possible if you take certain precautions and prepare well. One fundamental way to do this is using a baby carrier instead of a stroller.
First of all, depending on the season you visit, there may be lots and lots of crowds. Being in a crowd with a stroller is not a good idea at all. But wearing your baby in a carrier makes this completely doable. With your baby close to you, all you have to do is wrap your arms around them to make sure they are kept safe from the pushing crowd.
Siem Reap’s ruins are spectacular, but they are ruins… this means a lot of wobbly stone, intertwining passages, steep wooden stairs that have been added so you can climb up in a safer way. Seeing these temples without a baby carrier would mean suicide for you and murder for your baby.
Elephant Nature Park
This spectacular sanctuary is located about 60 kilometers from Chiang Mai. Many elephants live here, where they receive rehabilitation from the traumatic experiences they had at circuses and tourist attractions around Thailand. It is a beautiful project and it’s inevitable to fall in love with these beautiful elephants. The daily tour, which is the one I recommend, is incredible.
Throughout the guided tour you can feed the elephants, see them bathing, having fun and interacting with each other, as well as learn about the process by which they are rescued and how they are kept for, taken care of and rehabilitated at the sanctuary.
This is definitely not a place where you would be able to stroll around with your stroller. There is mud, dirt, uneven grass, rocks, etc…
Unless you can strap a pair of skis to your stroller or attach car snow chains to the wheels, leave the stroller behind!
In Harbin, we walked through snow and a lot of ice, and clearly a stroller would not have survived through this terrain.
Along with this… it is cold! While we were there we had up to -17 degree Celsius and I would not have felt confident that Ruben was warm in his stroller, no matter how many shawls and quilts I covered him with. He was much warmer in the baby carrier, where I could wrap a jacket or my arms around him
This seems obvious, right? However, I did see families with babies and strollers attempting to hike up the great wall. They mostly ended up having to stay at the entrance of the wall, after getting off the cable car.
Clearly, we were not looking to stay at that point for our neither of our two visits. Of course we wanted to go and explore! So having a baby carrier was absolutely a necessity.
Koh Phi Phi
Although you could take a stroller to Thailand in general, a baby carrier is an absolute necessity in Koh Phi Phi, from the moment you leave the pier towards the island, all throughout the stay, up to when you leave, you will need a baby carrier.
Getting off the speed boat ferry and onto the pier, the first thing you will do is board a taxi boat – a long tail boat made of wood. Your luggage will be thrown in their from the pier, and so will you – by the friendly and strong hands of the locals (for a modest tip). I did all this while wearing Ruben and had no problem at all.
While in Koh Phi Phi you should take a full day or half day tour on a taxi boat to explore the surroundings. To get onto this taxi boat you need to walk into the water until it is up to around your knees, then jump onto the side of the boat and slide yourself inside. Doing this while wearing Ruben was not a piece of cake, I admit, but I don’t see how else you would be able to do it. It took one or two times of practice, and by the third time I was an expert at boarding the taxi boats while wearing Ruben, one time even while he was having his nap.
Baby wearing is fun for so many reasons and has so many benefits, but for us it really has become a matter of making our trips baby proofed!
Have you been somewhere that you have needed a baby carrier?