” The question – if I should wrap my baby after 2 (3, 4…) years old is similar to the question if I should breastfeed. Slings and breastfeeding is not the same of course, but they are very close, wrapping provides emotional feeding. And when a toddling baby explores the world around, he still needs the “emotional feeding”, as he needs breast milk, which does not becomes “water” with a wave of a wand and after the words of pediatrician”, — says Ilona Yakimova — industrial ecologist, writer and blogger , social-non-activist, nearly retired slingmommy – writes, why she makes her dear baby even after his 2 years old be worn in “those awful rags”.
The former wrap-passenger may shout “No!” at the sight of sling and hunting after him mother, but when he is tired, he for sure will come to the wrap to calm down. So in my humble opinion: one should and must wrap up until it is necessary and makes pleasure to both sides, baby and mother. Actually, the time frame is limited by personal strength.
First we carry babies with us as it is much more comfortable and easier, then – because we like it, then – because we settle down to high-quality textiles and suffer from wrap-addiction. We change our requirements to wraps according to baby’s age and our own abilities: we start from 6 and 7 size, then we “shorten”, make wrapping easier, make less layers – we do it as fast as baby holds his head, sits, stands, gets to his feet, toddles and, at last, quickly runs from us. We change to 2 and then suddenly to 6 again. Anyway that was my experience.
So why we need sling after 2 years old?
For the same purposes as before indeed, with small adjustments for age and overall dimensions.
Sensitivities of your toddler goes nowhere since the moment he ends grabbling and goes by his own feet. The more he explores the world, the more he needs to come back to safe haven. And I don’t know as to you, I’d better rock a dozen of kilos in a wrap than in hands. When he meets me from work, when walking with his father – he nearly always rushes to embrace. And it’s quite logic, that I always wear short wrap…when I go to office as well. In order to pick Leo up, at the moment he needs the interaction.
My son has passed through different periods of falling asleep – wrapped, in his bed, in our bed, on my hands, in the rocking chair…and as a result for a day-time sleep he is cuddled to Double hammock of good cotton-hemp. And it’s the only variant for me to get him off to sleep quickly. And as to me, as a lazy mommy, I’d prefer comfort to everything else :-)
At the age of 19 months Leo had such an awful sore throat – with inflammation of tonsils and high temperature. And, falling asleep in his own bed before, unhappy and sick, he returned to Hammock – to be rocked, sigh, get a warm nearby myself. Ailing child always wants uppy, is there need to refuse, if the problem of weight and mother’s back damage may be prevented by a wrap usage?
Fear of big world
At 11 months my boy was gaily splashing in the sea, at 23 months he decided to be afraid of the same sea, shouting horribly. And 10 days of our vacation he spent in a wrap-pouch, looking at those awful waves.
How much time does it take to put cloths on a toddler? And then take him to the place, where you need, but not he? And if this is a very stubborn toddler? And if there is not ramp for a stroller? And if you, an awful mommy, have no stroller at all? It takes 5 minutes to take you baby to a baby club, and there is no need to worry that he’ll destroy the nearest shop, when you buy a bread. Somebody wrap to carry to a pre-school, I know. Probably, I’m going to do the same :-)
So, the main point, that’s just so sweet, without any doubts. That keeps up in the end, back musculs are pumped up, and you won’t wear cast-off clothing – wrap obliges!
But there is also a dark side.
Maternal hangups and fears
Ethics and mind of babywearing in Russia are in formation stage, let alone the deep learning of babywearing’s influence to the relation of “parents-child”, to child’s health, both physical and mental – it’s unaffordable luxury now. There is no statistics and history, no medical data, no two or three generations, who were worn in wrap and wore their own children.
Of course, we’re not afraid of “crooked legs and back”, but I can’t stop thinking, weather I discourage my child to fall asleep in his bed by himself, when I wrap him (and go to wash dishes). Frankly speaking, we train reflex – wrapped, fixed, hands inside the cocoon – that is equal to “fall asleep”. You cannot fix in such way in bed…Of course, it’s easier for me, but what if it’s harder to him? I’ve shared my doubts with my colleagues, and received an answer from a biologist, no deals with wraps, mother of a grown-up girl, which astonish me, but took my fears away:
“But we were rocking our girl till her six…”
By the way, I know that girl. Rocking till her six influenced on her not a bad way. And if I have to rock my Leo till his six, whenever he needs that – I’ll do it with a wrap. In this regard, I’d prefer the idea of overloved child then underloved. And … please, tell me in private, have you ever seen an adult, who cannot fall asleep by himself?
He’ll do it, when the time is due.
It’s no need to hurry children up – they are growing too quickly.
So wrap and wear you babies as long as your back and you baby allow, and may you be warm and comfy together.
Written by Ilona Yakimova.
Translated by Marina Zheleznitskaya.
Photos from the personal archives.