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Bridging the Babywearing Gap

Have you noticed that babywearing is less commonly practiced in Western societies compared to many other societies around the world? We certainly did.


Various factors have contributed to this phenomenon in Western culture. Urbanization, industrialization, evolving family dynamics, technological progress, the commercialization of baby products and cultural shifts towards individualism and independence have collectively shaped the perception and practice of babywearing in contemporary Western societies. Let's delve into how industrialization and changing family structures have played pivotal roles in this shift.


Let’s explore why, despite its numerous benefits, babywearing has taken a backseat while strollers remain a top priority in child-rearing essentials.



Pram, stroller, baby, perambulator
In 19th century England, societal changes and new theories about human evolution created a gap between mothers and children. While babies were adored and displayed in fashionable prams, poorer children faced exploitation, and natural practices like babywearing were dismissed in favor of Western civilization's ideals.


Industrialization and Family Structure

Industrialization brought about significant changes in family structure, with more people moving from rural areas to urban centers to work in factories. This led to a shift in family dynamics, with extended families living further apart and nuclear families becoming more prevalent. As a result, traditional practices like babywearing, which were often passed down through generations in close-knit communities, became less common.


Industrial revolution also introduced new technologies, such as prams, strollers, and cribs, which provided alternatives to traditional babywearing. These new inventions made it easier for parents to transport their babies without physically carrying them, leading to a decline in the practice of babywearing.


Commercialization

With the rise of consumer culture and mass production, baby products became commercialized and marketed to parents as must-have items. Manufacturers of baby products promoted the use of cribs, strollers and other inventions as more convenient and modern alternatives to babywearing. This, coupled with the rise of consumerism and the idea of keeping up with the latest trends, led to a decline in the practice of babywearing.


Western Individualism

Western societies have experienced cultural shifts towards individualism and independence, where self-sufficiency and autonomy are highly valued. These cultural values have influenced parenting practices as well, with emphasis placed on babies sleeping independently and being self-soothing. As a result, babywearing practice declined as an outdated and low status societal practice.



Despite these changes, babywearing has been experiencing a resurgence in Western culture in recent years as more parents seek to connect with their babies in a nurturing and attachment-promoting way. Many parents choose to incorporate babywearing into their practices, recognizing it’s convenience and beauty.


Keep on carrying!


Yours,



Michaela


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