Having read this article on the connection between business and the mommy wars, I’ve been thinking about how so many posts on parent blogs are geared towards getting people to BUY stuff. I’m therefore starting a little series called “Don’t get…” offering a light-hearted look at some of the things new parents perhaps don’t need quite so badly
New parents are suckers for marketing. We buy into everything: hypnobirthing? Yes, of course I’ll have a completely pain-free labour without medication! Breastfeeding? Cracked nipples happen to other people! Electronic rockers? Ah, an electronic robot that rocks my baby to sleep is naturally going to be so much more effective than my own arms! Deep down we’re all terrified of our baby’s arrival (I blame the nuclear family) and any product that promises to keep our babies happy and quiet becomes an immediate must-have.
At the top of the list is the WRAP. It’s just left of the mainstream to make parents feel they’re ahead of the game but not quite as hippy dippy as a sling. The advertising pamphlets are golden: clean, vomit-free mothers with perfectly styled hair cradling sleeping infants against their chests. Turn the page and you see a smiling toddler, cutely peeking out over his mother’s shoulder. Turn the page. What’s this? A father wearing his baby in a wrap. How progressive – the salmon-coloured wrap matches his pink converse sneakers.
The WRAP may look like just a simple piece of jersey cloth, but NO! It has been carefully designed to ergonomically (always a good word!) hold and protect your baby against your body. It can cure everything: no more tears, no more colic, just calm, content, sleeping babies. Look how soft it is, how caring, how sensitive. You might feel wary about your impending motherhood but armed with the WRAP all those maternal instincts will just come gushing out.
Then the wrap arrives via post and the baby via stork and you realise the following:
- It really is just a piece of material. In fact it is a very very large and very very long piece of material.
- All this material means that the wrap is HOT. Perfect if you live in Norway and are doing skin-to-skin in your living room, not so good when you are out and about.
- Putting the wrap on is time-consuming and requires at least another person. Very often baby is already tired/hungry/asleep while you’re still making the first fold.
- Your baby doesn’t necessarily want to be strapped to your chest 100% of the time. Sometimes she wants to sleep, sometimes she wants to nurse, sometimes she wants to move!
- Taking your baby out of the wrap is easy, but you can’t just put her back in. You first need to unwind the wrap, organise over 5 metres of material (while holding an infant in one hand) and then put it on again!
- Steps 3 to 5 are exhausting to repeat more than once, especially once you’ve tracked the wrap through puddles in the car park.
- Final realisation: your baby is still a baby and suffers from crying, lack of sleep and colic just like babies in strollers, except that the stroller mummies aren’t all sweaty and bedraggled from putting on their wrap.
Trust me, it all ends in tears, the wrap ends up stuffed in a drawer and the parents swear never to try anything hippy dippy ever again.
Sigh. You know what I’m going to say, right? Okay, okay, I’ll just whisper it…. (get a ring sling).
Or, since this series is supposed to be about how you don’t need stuff, try simply carrying baby instead.
As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Did you buy a wrap and love it? Can you convince me to change my mind?
This time last year: Notes from the trenches