It happened again when I was out with the baby yesterday.
“Oh my God, look at THAT”, I heard. This time it was from across the street. There have been whispers, looks of shock, gasps. Once a woman stopped dead in her tracks passing the baby and me, and started smacking her husband on the arm saying “Do you see that??”
Granted, the babe and I were doing something most people have never seen before. Many even consider it weird. But still, the reactions always astound me. It’s just babywearing people!
Haha, bet you thought I was going to say breastfeeding, didn’t you?! Guess what, so did I. I’d heard the stories before I had Little Man and I was fully anticipating meeting resistance when I nursed in public. But for whatever reason, I seem to cause much more of a stir when I babywear.
I’m not sure if I’m just lucky, or if it’s different up here in Canada, but the worst public reaction I’ve had to nursing was a teenager (clad in a mini skirt and halter top) who moved a few seats away from me when she noticed me nursing. Then she started texting furiously, presumably about me. The anti-nursing crap I’ve had to put up with has all come from family, not strangers. From strangers I’ve had lots of smiles. Often from little old men, actually. And I don’t think they were creepy, staring-at-my-boobs type smiles. Probably because there’s really no boob to see while I nurse. I wear an F cup bra, but still, there’s not much see when you’re nursing. Mostly though, people just don’t notice a nursing baby. I’ve nursed in coffee shops, on benches in the middle of the mall and at busy conventions. Once I had to nurse on the only bench in the Keele St subway station at rush hour. Two hundred people walked past me, but as far as I could tell, only one noticed me nursing and she smiled and said “Ah, the little ones love the breast, don’t they?”
But babywearing seems to make a ruckus. Don’t get me wrong, the comments aren’t all bad, there’s just a lot of them. Grannies, especially the Italian ones you find around here, exclaim about how cozy he looks under my winter coat. Middle aged women lament that there was nothing like that when they had babies. But more often people are incredulous: surely your back is killing you in that thing? And I often get the ‘doesn’t he get bored facing you all the time? You should at least point him outward’ comments. Then there’s the whole ‘your baby is going to suffocate and DIE in there’ issue.
What really gets me though, is when people tell me I’m doing my baby a disservice by wearing him, then in the next breath compliment me for having a baby who seems to be so content all the time. My Grandma does this. She calls me almost daily to ask me if I’m still ‘hooking him up in that thing’ because she’s worried he’s being spoiled, or getting too hot, or going to end up bow-legged. Then when we see her, she just can’t get over how confident and easy going he is or how well he was holding his head up at 6 weeks, or how he’s walking now at 10 months. Now, I know that babywearing isn’t wholly responsible for his temperament, but I find it really hilarious that people see how well something is working but continue to insist that it isn’t working.
Oh well, I’ll keep causing a stir with my crazy babywearing and maybe the marketing will start to kick in and more people will give it a whirl and reap its benefits.
Do you babywear? What are some of the reactions you’ve had?