This post isn’t for parents. It’s not for parents-to-be. It’s for Grandmothers. And Grandmothers-to-be. Welcome to the golden age! Little people who adore you. Little people who can’t wait to be with you. Little people you can send home!
Becoming a grandparent can be fraught with more diplomatic stoushes than your average session of the United Nations. Everytime you offer some well-intentioned advice to your child or child-in-law, it turns out that everything is different “to what it was then”. As a grandparent who’s been around the baby-rearing block, this probably comes as a surprise. After all, as far as it’s possible to tell from the outside, the basic garden-variety baby hasn’t changed much over the last few decades.
Where does that leave you, the grandparent? Well, the good news is, if this article was shared with you then your child or their partner think you have a vital role in their child’s life, even if they do things radically differently to the way you did. One thing you both want is a strong and healthy relationship with your grandchild. That’s where babywearing might help.
What is babywearing?
Luckily, it’s not the latest must-have fashion accessories for the hipster parents of the new generation. Put simply, it’s wearing a baby or young child in a sling. Comfortably.
Babywearing has several advantages for the grandchild/parent bond:
- It lets you get close: while taking a walk, chasing older kids across the playground or getting the shopping done.
- It can help settle an infant who hasn’t quite worked out that a half-hour’s babysitting whilst Mum is having vital dental work won’t end the world. It’s a great alternative to attempting to put an upset baby down for a much-needed nap outside their regular routine.
- It will save your arms and your back! A lot of people are concerned about slings and carriers because they (rightly!) worry that carrying a heavy weight like a child for an extended distance may over-extend their capacities. The good news is that a well-designed carrier will make it easier to carry the baby, keeping him/her close to your centre of gravity and help avoid injury.
- A baby cuddle is a wonderful experience: something many grandparents wait decades for. Enjoy it. You did all the hard-yards of parenting already. You deserve it!
What about spoiling a baby?
A lot of people are concerned that carrying a baby too much will “spoil” the child- making it impossible for the baby to settle themselves, play happily without constant attention or develop a healthy sense of independence. The good news on this front is that current thinking indicates that it is impossible to spoil a child by offering attention through touch and closeness. Babies who are carried a lot meet all their developmental milestones normally too. They will learn to walk. Probably too soon!
Want to try?
If this article was shared with you, it’s probably a not-very-subtle hint. If you think it’s something that you might like to try, pick up that sling or carrier the new parents in your life seem to drag around everywhere. They’ll be thrilled you’re willing to try.