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Exploring in a Baby Carrier

My infant daughter loves her baby carrier. Just the sight of seeing it being pulled from the closet puts a big grin on her face. She raises her arms, waiting for me to pick her up and hold her close. It's always been like this, ever since she got her first taste of the big outdoors a few weeks after birth.

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Exploring in a Baby Carrier

Crying from colic, we were tired of rocking her, tired of the 3AM trips in the car, and decided to give babywearing a shot. Buying the most visible of carriers, the Baby Bjorn front pack, I tried it out. Screaming, frustrated and red in the face, I cuddled her close as we walked outside. Not only did she immediately stop crying, she nestled comfortably onto my chest and fell asleep. We were hooked.

I never imagined what a joy the next couple months would be. As my daughter's colic lessened to just a couple hours in the early evening, we took her out every chance we got. Luckily for us, our neighborhood has a variety of walking paths through small suburban parks near a river. A ten minute walk became twenty, which became glorious afternoons along the riverbank. Though usually asleep, as the weeks passed, I began to see the quiet and alert curiosity and a sense of wonder growing in her eyes.

Babies are born explorers. It might not seem so at first, as they either sleep, eat or seem to gaze at nothing in particular. But they're learning, and their innate curiosity will soon enough lead them to many adventures. As a new parent, you might get frustrated by their antics, such as dropping food off their highchair and throwing toys to the floor. They don't do this to tease you - they are genuinely intrigued by the fact that letting go of something will cause it to move downward and splat on the floor. Wow, interesting indeed! What if I do that again? And again?

When we became parents, everything old became new again. Everything we take for granted we see in a new light, simply by sharing the sense of wonder in our infant's eyes. Older now, and riding on my back in an Ergo backpack carrier, she can see the world as we see it, and she is always discovering the wonders of nature around her. The leaf of a tree? Normally, we would never think of such a mundane object. When we go for walks, we pass by trees without a moment's notice. Our daughter joyfully discovered that by reaching out and pulling hard enough, a leaf can be picked from a overhanging branch, and she would study it intently. Green with tiny yellow veins, the circulatory system of a life. Slightly sharp, ticklish corrugated edges. Easily pliable and with a slight texture. One side slightly fainter than the other. Yucky taste.

In a world full of strollers, we see babies and infants passively watching the world, gazing at the knees of adults whisking by, hearing people talking but not really seeing them. Up in a baby carrier, baby is an active participant in the world. She is involved with our conversations, and can clearly see and study the expressions of other people. She interacts with us in a stimulating social environment, constantly learning this complex but vital activity.

There's still some people who think that wearing a baby will spoil them - my mother being one of them. Don't hold her too much, she'll become clingy! Don't respond to their every need, she'll manipulate you! At this time in their young lives, it's impossible for them to have developed such concepts. The reverse is actually true - carrying your baby increases their self-reliance later in life. This is because they grow with a strong basis of feeling secure and loved, making them more resilient later in life. Even at ten months, everybody we meet are amazed at how happy and socially active our baby is. If something scares her, she knows she has a loving base of security to return to. This reassurance allows her to grow, play and explore with greater confidence. There is nothing clingy about that.

I can't imagine a child who wouldn't love the outdoors. They see it as one huge laboratory of discovery and play.  I can't wait to try some neat outdoor activities with her. In the meantime, we have some fun and simple activities while going out for walks.

Activities we play while wearing our baby

Name the world - We often point out and name everything we come across while walking. The sky, the trees, a dog, buildings, you name it. Though baby is, of course, too young to understand you, they love to hear your voice, and they learn the rhythms and cadences of sounds and speech. Comment on an external noise, such as a barking dog or the rustling of trees, and show baby the source, be it the myriad motions of leaves or the dog by a passing house. Our baby always examines what we point at, and studies it with fascination.

Talking to passersby - I quickly came to realize how expressive my daughter acted when I talked to other people. Smiles, intense concentration, and the occasional yelp of joy and excitement. She's already bursting with the need to talk and interact with others. Observing others and their expressions allows her to develop social cues and recognize patterns of social behavior. She is acutely aware of the moods of others, and if they don't look like they're smiling and happy, she will do everything in her power to change that!

Interacting with nature - If there is low-hanging branch, we stop and let her reach up to feel the roughness of bark. When we're near the river, we encourage her to run her hands through the tall brush of the bank's wetlands. She has caught the blowing seeds of dandelions, attempted to grasp a butterfly, smelled roses, and babbled at twittering birds. She loves the world and the wonder of it all, and is so happy to be part of it.

About the Author: Chris Molnar is a successful freelance writer, new dad and editor of .   Find out more about newborn baby carriers, tips on wearing your baby and how to work out with baby in a carrier.

Posted to Baby Years | Parenting Articles


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