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July 31, 2019

Montessori and Baby Wearing - Some Quotes to Consider

The last couple of days I've been dealing with prodromal labor and a bunch of false contractions. Yesterday, it came to a head and I had to go get checked out at the doctor. Thankfully, like my last couple of pregnancies, the baby is snug -- my body is just confused and over-eager. Which makes sense - I do want to snuggle him ASAP, but 32 weeks doesn't seem like the best time to have a baby. It has got me thinking about bringing home a newborn and all the gloriousness of those cuddles, and that smell! I can't wait. 

Anyway, that's led me to want to share some about one of my favorite new baby past times - baby wearing. There are some in the Montessori community that discourage baby wearing claiming that it restricts movement too much and stifles independence. I personally, see it very differently. And, I believe Maria Montessori did too! I wanted to share a few quotes that I keep pondering as we get closer and closer to this baby stage again. 

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Montessori and baby wearing - thoughts on why the two are compatible from Maria Montessori herself

{Me wearing baby Gus in a woven ring sling - my favorite for tiny babies}

"It is evident that in order for children to develop language, the little child must be brought into society of adults who talk among themselves...Perhaps this is the reason why small children start out life without the ability to move; they will always need to be carried around by their mothers and therefore they are brought into the environment...You see this is a natural advantage to this immobility." Maria Montessori, 1946 London Lectures

"In the old days in our country, and nowadays still in countries like India, mothers carry their babies to the bazaar. The child looks at everything while the mother bargains - there are long discussions. Friends join in and converse with the mother so the child hears a a great deal of talking and the child hears the modulations of the language...when the child has absorbed all this in his subconscious, he will try, and will succeed, to reproduce the sounds that are the beginning of speech." Maria Montessori, 1946 London Lectures 

"We must take the child into the world and there he can take in all the impressions he needs...Well into modern times mothers took their children with them everywhere they went, because they breastfed them...All across the globe, children were attached to their mothers in different ways, some slung across their backs, some carried on their hips...Children in this position could see the world as well as the grown-ups...In this way children get accustomed to their environment, and when they start to walk they are already familiar with it, psychically speaking." Maria Montessori, 1946 London Lectures 

"It is natural for mothers to have their babies with them all the time...The logical conclusion is that in order to grow the child in this first period of life must see many things. He must look at the external world in order to be prepared for the future." Maria Montessori, 1946 London Lectures 

Montessori and baby wearing - thoughts on why the two are compatible from Maria Montessori herself

{Nora and I both baby wearing our babies - I was wearing Gus in a Boba Soft Structured Carrier

"The mother radiates invisible forces to which the child is accustomed, and they are a help to him in the difficult days of adjustment." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind 

"A feeling of retardation, of dissatisfaction, of mental hunger, must affect him harmfully...Often he is shut up in a "pram" where he can see nothing of what is going on in the world about him." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind 

"All the great human groups, nations and races have their individual differences; for example, they have different ways of carrying the baby...In most parts of the world, mothers put the baby on a small bed, or in a large bag; they do not carry him in their arms. In some countries, the child is attached by means of loops to a piece of wood which is then placed on the mother's shoulders when she goes to work...this satisfies her unconscious need to give her offspring the help of a full social life on which to construct himself, the mere fact of being with her brings him into contact with the world." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind 

"One observes, too, that the little one, going about with his mother, never cries unless he is ill or hurt in some way. Sometimes he may fall asleep, but he does not cry." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind 

Montessori and baby wearing - thoughts on why the two are compatible from Maria Montessori herself

{Gus wearing his baby in a child sized Boba carrier}

In my mind, these quotes make it clear where Maria stood when it comes to baby wearing your infant. She was clear that they were not meant to hide away in a nursery, stroller, or in modern times a car seat or baby container while parents went about their daily lives. Yes, it's important to give freedom of movement and some balance will need to be achieved. (I also think Maria would have different feels about constantly wearing a toddler - especially since she goes on at length about the need for them to walk and explore.) But for infants - it's clear, wear all the babies! 

Do you enjoy baby wearing? 

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