Squished Part 2: Boney Bits

In this four-part series, I am drawing on decades of research to discredit the pernicious myth of the Obstetrical Dilemma. In the first part, I explain what the Obstetrical Dilemma is, where (and when) it originated and what some of the consequences of the myth are. In this second part, I take on the skeletal side of the theory, namely women’s pelvises and the skull of the infant, the combination of which is also referred to as fetopelvic morphology. In part three, I move on to infant development at birth to dispell this idea that human infants are born prematurely. And finally, in part four, I explain how the infant carrier has influenced the shape (literally) of the modern human by providing support for poorly clinging big headed hominids long before modern humans were on the scene. Continue reading

Does Babywearing Really Reduce Crying?

In 1986, a study was published showing that three hours of “supplemental” carrying reduced crying in newborns. The results were impressive: infants in the supplemental carrying group cried 43% less overall and 51% less during the evening hours than infants who were not given supplemental carrying. Contemporary babywearers often share these statistics as part of the benefits of babywearing to encourage people to try using infant carriers. But is that really accurate? Can the use of an infant carrier really reduce crying, or is there more to it?  Continue reading

Babywearing & Cerebral Palsy

This post includes excerpts from my post on the Iowa City Babywearers website in Feb. 2018. In the full post, I describe a specific case and how ICBW assisted a mother who wanted to safely “wear” her CP toddler, click here to read. 

About Cerebral Palsy

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. While symptoms become more noticeable with age the disease is not progressive. Preterm births, twins, and infants who experience difficult births, or head trauma during or after birth are most likely to have cerebral palsy. In some cases, it is caused by infection or environmental toxins during pregnancy and in very rare (2%) of cases, the cause is genetic. Nearly 80% of people with cerebral palsy have structural problems in the area of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture; and some will experience seizures. Continue reading

The World of High End Babywearing

Online communities can bridge nationalities and culture. They have their own lexicons, taboos, and beliefs. There are many online communities focused on babywearing, High End Babywearing is one that values carriers for their utility, as objects (even art), and for their monetary value. Carriers as investment pieces. Carriers as status symbols within their closed community. This interview was originally posted in Iowa City Babywearer’s blog, August 20th, 2015. Republished with permission of Kelsey Sandeno. 

Today I interviewed Kelsey Sandeno about the world of High-End Babywearing. We discussed the distinctions between High End (HE), Highly Sought After (HSA), and Hard-To-Find (HTF) carriers, as well as some of the jargon found in High-End Babywearing communities. Continue reading

From Baby Toting to Babywearing

Dr. William Sears claims credit for coining the term babywearing when his children were small. Dr. Sears recounts how his wife would put on the carrier in the morning and not take it off until she undressed at night.

“I remember one day when Martha fabricated a sling out of material from an old bed sheet and said, ‘I really enjoy wearing Mathew. The sling is like a piece of clothing. I put it on in the morning and take it off in the evening.’ Hence the term ‘babywearing’ was born in the Sears household.”- Dr. William Sears (askdrsears.com)

Though Rayner Garner invented the ringsling in 1981, branding it as The Baby Sling, Dr. Sears developed his own versions (albeit with enough padding to resemble a duvet and prevent the user from adjusting the pouch effectively) and has sold it as the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder and The Original NoJo Babysling. 

The use of infant carriers wasn’t a novel concept in North America in the 1980’s but it had a stigma of poverty or transience attached to their use in the West since the European Middle Ages. The post-war (WWII) Baby Boom seems to be the impetus for changing attitudes about infant carriers over the following half-century. Patents for infant carrying devices were filed in quick succession after WWII ended. Even though traditional infant carriers were known of and in use, North American parents wanted innovated forms made of new materials for their modern lifestyles. Yet even then, many people were suspicious of use infant carriers and the implications for the relationship between parent and child. 

Continue reading