I have been looking forward to reading Why Babywearing Matters by Dr Rosie Knowles of the Sheffield Sling Surgery for as long as I have known she was going to write it. Babywearing and the reasons to do it, are an area which is lacking in ‘proper’ research. The books that currently exist leave a very large gap. They are either extremely anti-high street carrier or appear “too hippy” to warrant reading. I have many of them here.
Rosie’s extremely popular blog and article pieces for her own and other websites are frequently shared in the groups I am a member of. Rosie, like me, is keen to produce content that is educational, not sensationalist. We both pride ourselves on researching what we write. I was therefore not surprised when I found out that Pinter and Martin had asked her to contribute to their “Why it Matters” series. Rosie is a highly respected babywearing professional and I am honoured to call her a friend. Being friends, though, did not mean I would automatically agree with what she had written or enjoy the book; but do you know what. I loved it. I read it in just under 8 hours cover to cover, I could not put it down.
Why Babywearing Matters is 160 pages of well written, easy to read, perfection. The pocket friendly size and price are bonuses too. Rosie has written it in a way that as a sling consultant makes sense to my brain. It addresses the common questions, queries and myths I spend my days answering. It is set out in such a way that each chapter flows from one to the other.
Even though as a babywearing professional I knew much of the content in places this book had my in tears. The ability to combine the research, practice and real life accounts eloquently explains why carrying, whether in arms or in a carrier matters. Babies want and need to be held. In Why Babywearing Matters, this simple fact is kept central. The reasons using a sling helps are explained clearly in a way which is clear to understand. It is not preachy in the slightest. As Rosie explains on page seven; “responding to a child’s cry is an instinctive, natural activity”, by carrying our children we can respond almost instantly to that need and it can help make our life easier. There are number of real life experiences included. The one by Emma on page 24 describing the way life changes after having a baby in a way no one can possible explain sums up why babywearing helps.
“I remember the complete bewilderment when my daughter arrived. I can only describe it as clawing at the root of your soul when she clings on to be held. There is something so completely basic and human about carrying”.
The 11 chapters (including introduction and conclusion) include sufficient detail that babywearing educators like myself can learn something new, but also, it is written in a way that is completely accessible for new parents. There are a plethora of ‘parenting books’ on the market but none explain in so much clarity why that new baby doesn’t want putting down or why they are so happy in their mothers arms. Personally my understanding of how babies brains function, allowed me as a new parent, to ignore comments telling me I should or should not do something, it allowed me to trust my instincts and do what felt right. Society unfortunately does not have the same understanding and is all to often happy to accept: “well I did it this way and it did no harm”, or believe people when they say “you’re spoiling him”, “you’ll create a rod for your own back”. Why Babywearing Matters provides new parents (and wider society) with the clear explanations of why we aren’t spoiling them.
The chapters on Basics of Carrying and Getting Started provide new parents with a good understanding of types of slings. The linking to and referencing of the role Babywearing Consultants and sling libraries will help get the message about the skills we offer. I am a strong believer that if you give parents the skills to parent they will succeed. If you tell them they can’t do something, they will find it difficult. The day I was told ‘its ok, you don’t have too’ when I was sat sobbing because my eldest would not be put down was the day I became the mother I am today. I hope Why Babywearing Matters will give other parents the confidence to parent as they want to parent.
Rosie, you have written a truly wonderful book and you deserve the accolades it is getting. Well done. My only complaint, it wasn’t long enough. I am now planning on re-reading it again as it was over too quickly the first time.
Disclaimer: I was sent this book to review by Pinter&Martin but I was not paid to do so. The views are my own. My friendship with Rosie Knowles is well known and I have been lucky enough to know about this book from the beginning. However, I have not let this cloud my judgement. I have read Why Babywearing Matters in the same way I would read any book and would say if I did not agree or did not like it.