Should we stop using the term ‘babywearing’?

I am extremely lucky. I have had two pregnancies and I have two babies. I know other are not so blessed. My boys are my world and even though they are 5 and 2 they will forever be my babies. I have carried them through pregnancy, in my arms and in a variety of slings and carriers. I have also used the term “babywearing” a lot but now I am thinking; should we really use it?

The term Babywearing was first used by Dr Sears and is one of his 7B’s of Attachment Parenting. I never thought I would be an AP parent and until Henry was about 4 months old I had never heard of it or Dr Sears, let alone babywearing. As I come through the trials of new parenthood and we are now in the “big boy” categories of preschool and school age I looked back at how I choose to parent and I did what was natural and seemingly unconsciously based my parenting on what understanding of child development and psychology I learnt during my degree. Using a sling was just a) practical and b) what seemed like the best way of keeping my little one close while I carried on. I did not start carrying Henry because I wanted to be seen to be an AP parent, because I was a hippy or want to carry some form of fashion accessory.

Yet my website states I am a babywearing consultant; by using it am I somehow making light of what I do? Or why we carry our babies? Does it create an us and them barrier? Does it make people think I won’t help them with their high street carrier? Does it make assumptions that I want everyone to use wraps? Does it make people think if they do x, y or z that I won’t help them? These questions bother me but it’s a term that is becoming more widely known and recognised. Do I stop using it because it upsets some groups and individuals or do I carry on, after all my babies will always be my babies? Or should we use something different? Baby carrying? Am I simply a Carrying Consultant?

Finding an answer to these questions is not going to be easy. While I know some organisations refuse to use the term babywearing I am not sure where I sit. But life is not black and white. As an industry we may never find a solution either. So in the meantime I might just plod in as I am.

One thought on “Should we stop using the term ‘babywearing’?

  1. Susan says:

    I originally disliked the term because I felt it made it sound like my baby was a fashion accessory. But now I think of “wearing” as meaning keeping them close and that makes it jar a bit less. I think I mind the “baby” part more as it makes it sound like it is only for babies. I can’t think of an alternative term that conveys the same sense though.

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