Following almost 6 years of baby carrying, here’s my take.
It’s been 2 kids and half a dozen baby carriers. Overall, I have to say that the Ergo Organic still is the best one for me. It is incredibly soft and cool (in this hot humid weather we have here) and is the most comfy for me, probably because of the material. We also have the original canvas Ergo but find it hotter and rougher on the shoulders.
For my husband who loves to back carry the 5 year old when he is tired, he swears by the Boba (1st gen). It has better back and hip support due to its thick and stiff waist band. The Boba is my go-to second and while it is hard for me to nurse it, it does support my back better and sits the little one higher. When he carries the little one, he does also prefer the Ergo Organic.
Bottom line is though, everyone’s body is different and their needs are different too. Ideally we should all try our carriers before buying (I didn’t). For my nomadic lifestyle where the kids go wherever I do on public transport, on my thin 5″8 frame, the Ergo Organic works best.
One thing for sure is, I have loved every minute of cuddling my little ones in our carriers and weaving through shops and supermarkets with ease. (Wish my back was as grateful though…)
Another case for unschooling and attachment parenting: The attachment you have with your child will determine their future ability to have and sustain healthy and happy relationships.
So forget about the reading and throw away the TV. Have some one on one time, cuddle time, or eye to eye time with baby instead. Show your baby he or she matters.
From Psychology Today (bold emphases mine, bold and italics from the original article):
First and foremost: The fundamental task of early childhood isn’t learning to read, or to “get ahead” for school, or to impress the neighbors, or to give the folks something to brag about. Encouraging children to surge ahead beyond their real developmental needs leaves them with some really sludgy clean-up to grapple with later on.
What kids need from the get-go is a parent who “gets” them, who pays attention to what’s going on inside them, and who responds to them in a way that’s actually related to what the kid is feeling.
The research on attachment shows that there are a number of benefits which last a lifetime, including but not limited to at least the following dozen:
- The ability to sustain attention
- Better management of physical reactions to emotions – leading to improved immunity and fewer stress-related illnesses
- Less anxiety
- Better relationships with childhood peers, and healthier relationships as adults
- Fewer behavioral problems
- Increased capacity for empathy
- Greater ability to regulate mood (for example, calming down from excitement, or not getting caught up in frustration)
- Enhanced skills in communicating emotions in healthy ways
- Greater confidence and self-esteem (and it isn’t just based on performance and grades, but rather a sense of abiding and healthy self-worth)
- Better able to generate alternative solutions to interpersonal conflict
- Enhanced insight into themselves, and others
- Better modulation of fear, allowing for a willingness to explore and take on growthful challenges
“Well,” a parent (or a video marketer) might say, “letting a baby or a toddler watch an educational video to help them read earlier won’t interfere with healthy attachment.”
Actually, it can. As a psychologist/neuropsychologist who has been practicing psychotherapy and conducting cognitive evaluations for nearly twenty years, as well as having researched the relationship between brain and behavior in both infants and adults — I believe that using television to “teach” young children is a big mistake, with significant costs down the road.
(I’ll say here that reading with your child is a solid, helpful, wonderful thing to do. Explicitly teaching them to read, especially by video, is what I’m grousing about here.)
I’d love it if parents who feel they’re giving their child a “gift” with an early reading DVD would consider the following questions:
- What’s the message when (by offering your child a mesmerizing “educational” DVD, and also showing them your pleasure at their achievements) you emphasize the value of learning to read extra early, over time spent with siblings, parents, or friends?
- What might your child be learning from developing the habit of spending time in front of a “worthwhile” or “engaging” video, rather than with someone who loves him or her?
- What are you telling your child when you’re putting them in front of the TV instead of showing them that you value interacting with them and want to be with them?
- How does it help a child to see a screen as their teacher, rather than a real person — what do they do when they have a problem they need to solve, and they don’t have the early, repeated experiences of asking an adult to help them?
- What are you saying to your child about the value of learning if you can’t spend the time yourself to do it with them? (In the commercial for Your Baby Can Read, the announcer asks one thrilled parent of three early readers, “And did you have to do anything?” The mother replies with joy, “I didn’t have to do a thing!”)
And another thing: Early reading doesn’t do much for your child’s success in school, and there’s evidence that it may even be detrimental.
Let’s take a look at a few points in that regard – and note that this list is only a few of many reasons why early reading is a lousy deal for your child.
- Louise Bates Ames, PhD, a superstar in child development and the director of research at the world-renowned Gesell Institute of Child Development, stated that “a delay in reading instruction would be a preventative measure in avoiding nearly all reading failure.” Leapfrogging necessary cognitive developmental skills — and asking a young brain to do tasks for which it isn’t truly ready — is asking for trouble with learning.
- The brains of young children aren’t yet developed enough to read without it costing them in the organization and “wiring” of their brain. The areas involved in language and reading aren’t fully online — and aren’t connected — until age seven or eight. If we’re teaching children to do tasks which their brains are not yet developed to do via the “normal” (and most efficient) pathways, the brain will stumble upon other, less efficient ways to accomplish the tasks — which lays down wiring in some funky ways — and can lead to later learning disabilities, including visual-processing deficits.
- The description of brain development on which the “Your Baby Can Read” program rests its questionable claims is remarkably flawed, confusing language acquisition with reading. They state: “A baby’s brain thrives on stimulation and develops at a phenomenal pace…nearly 90% during the first five years of life! The best and easiest time to learn a language is during the infant and toddler years, when the brain is creating thousands of synapses every second — allowing a child to learn both the written word and spoken word simultaneously, and with much more ease….” There is a huge and unsupported leap here from language acquisition – which is definitely an important developmental task, necessary for connecting to one’s outer world – and reading, which is a very different neurological and cognitive task, and one which is not developmentally appropriate for a baby or toddler’s brain.
- Does early training really get you anywhere? There is a classic study of twins which was done by another pioneer in child development, Arnold Gesell, PhD, MD. He studied a pair of toddler twins, who were not yet able to climb stairs. For the study, one of the twins was given daily practice and encouragement to climb stairs, and the other twin had no stairs to practice on. After six weeks of practice, the “trained” twin could climb the stairs, and the “untrained” twin could not. However, within one week of being given the opportunity to climb stairs, the untrained twin completely caught up with the trained twin’s stair-climbing ability.
- The whole idea that learning to read early gives children — or our educational system, or our economy — an “advantage” is not based on empirical evidence. If you look at the US and Britain, you see the trends toward earlier reading and increasingly less successful educational systems. On the other hand, the majority of children in Finland begin instruction in reading at age seven – two years later than here in the US (and even later than the folks at “Your Baby Can Read” would have you start). The outcome? Finnish students not only catch up to their earlier-starting counterparts, but they surpass the United States, other European countries, and Asian countries as well, with top overall scores in the world in reading, science, and math. Oh, and the Finnish do attend preschool, but it isn’t “academic” in nature — it emphasizes social development and exploration.
I’ve always been lazy about the teaching. I love reading books with the kids but I don’t force them to remember the words. They will learn on their own. I did.
When I was 7 (the proper developmental age for reading), I suddenly picked up a book and began to read. Within months I devoured all of Enid Blyton’s books and then moved to Carolyn Keene. I never stopped.
I believe kids will learn in their own time, as unschooling parents do. Wolf potty trained himself on his own time, and he is learning to count, in his own time. He rarely nurses in public anymore and some days never even nurses at all till bedtime.
It is tempting (and I do too for some quiet) to let Wolf watch a video on the iPod (since we have no TV). This article reminds me about the message I am giving him. Not a good one. I need to reframe my thoughts and yes, I need my downtime, but perhaps there is something we can do together that we both love, like look at dinosaur books.
(Just had an idea to sit with him and print out his fave dinosaur pictures, then cut and paste them into a notebook that we can read together. Yay activity!)
Most importantly, I want my children to love learning. They can’t do it if we keep shoving learning down their throats, years before the schools start.
I remember losing my love for learning when I entered school. But thankfully, my first 5 years at home gave me a strong foundation of that love and after I finally finished school, I began teaching myself again: to fix things, to write code, to sew.
That is the gift I want to give my children.
The years pass too quickly. I must remember to cherish every moment.
Since she turned one, almost overnight Kitten became incredibly attached to me. She would howl if I was out of sight and inconsolable till I picked her up.
I read on Babycenter that this is normal for her age (and vaguely recollect that her brother was the same). Funnily enough, Wolf is the same now too.
It is like they are feeding off each other’s emotions. Night time it is a competition: who can nurse more. But I take it in my stride.
Maybe 4 years of night waking has made me immune and/or I’ve learnt to cherish the late night cuddle time with my little ones before they grow up all too fast and I have to start bribing for a cuddle.
There must have been an invite I missed out on cos tonight is apparently a nightwaking party. Every hour the kids would take turns waking. Nurse them each to bed. Sneak off to comp. Howl goes another kid. Sigh. I think I know why my name wasn’t on that list now.
It doesn’t feel like I ever sleep at all. Maybe it is because I’d spent the last few nights up doing the migration and every hour running to the bedroom to nurse one or more children back to sleep.
When I finally hit the bed I pass out till one or more kids wake up and the night nursing dance begins again.
When will I sleep again, I don’t know. But it is someday and for now, I wearily sniff my babies’ sweet cheeks and hair and work on enjoying these precious moments.
I was on the receiving end of a couple of rude comments lately while complaining about the lack of freedom I have right now. The comments were along the line of “you chose to have children so you shouldn’t complain”.
Let me say this now: you are entitled to complain. It is a safety valve. Everyone needs to vent. You are entitled to complain. People who keep their frustrations inside either go mad and/or kill themselves or hurt others when they explode one day.
The argument against complaining is akin to saying:
You chose to work so you shouldn’t complain.
You chose to get married so you shouldn’t complain.
You wore a short skirt and got groped by a gross stranger so you shouldn’t complain.
Caring about someone means listening to him or her and sharing their pain and not being judgemental or taking it personally. Remember, you too are entitled to complain.
Yes, we are still tandem nursing and some nights like tonight, the kids literally take turns waking and by morning I would have barely slept at all.
I’m criticised a lot for this, especially in a society where most women don’t breastfeed past a month. Wolf gets the brunt of it for still nursing at 3+.
But as I read other blogs where moms practice peaceful parenting (well more peaceful than me), self-weaning is the natural way to go.
Critics had similar reservations about his potty training, even commenting he would be in diapers till he was 10. But one day he just decided he was ready for the toilet himself and he never looked back.
I believe for nursing it will be the same.
For now I will enjoy our nursing relationship as long as he cares to continue, knowing one day he won’t need to curl up in my arms to nurse anymore.
It is easy to be pensive and philosophical this late at night. The brain practically demands it.
Kitten is starting to mimic words. She holds up an object and I say the word and she’ll try to repeat it.
Today it was marker and book. She keeps saying book now, although tickle is her favourite word as it never fails to elicit a laugh from everyone.
My guess is her brother talks non stop so she’s babbling too to keep up.
I haven’t been posting much because I’ve been falling asleep a lot while nursing both kids to sleep. They both latch on and nurse till they sleep. Kitten usually unlatches first and rolls over to her crib and then Wolf rolls over to his side and sleeps too.
But when the nightwaking party begins, all bets are off. Sometimes one wakes and calls for me, waking the other if I don’t hear the escalating calls, and I’m back to tandem nursing them both back to bed. Maybe that is more efficient, because often after nursing one back to bed, the other wakes.
Still, I am grateful I have my iPhone and usually play some inane game or read some news offline to pass the time. I could look lovingly at them as I nurse them to sleep but it is too dark. Sometimes I do shine a bit of light on their sweet sleeping faces and think aww…
It is that developmental time again when babies start learning to crawl, even when they wake up at night, a little perplexed why they are on all fours, and that’s when they call for Mom.
In Kitten’s case it started about a month ago, I’d find her looking rather confused, on all fours, so cute in her baby night dress, just wavering. I’d take her in my arms and nurse her back to sleep.
Tonight, she even cried when she felt me move an inch away. But soon she was asleep again, till the next 4 legged wake up call, till morning when she discovers cute animals on her bumper walls and looks upon them in intrigue and amazement.