Thursday, February 7, 2013

Does Babywearing Ruin YOUR posture?

How much do I love shoe shopping? Oh let me count the ways ... size 11 EEE? And nothing drag queen spectacular or orthopedically correct ugly, please. Just normal shoes. Forget it, I'll just go to the men's section...

This is why I only attempt to go shoe shopping once every few years. The rest of the time I limp around in crocs. But the baby, now ten months old, is getting heavier on my back and my feet crying for more support. So I started wandering into shoe stores, baby in a wrap.

In one store the salesman suggested I stand on a digital foot pressure reader, which would map my feet and suggest what sort of inner sole support would correct my feet's ailments. I had used these before with success, so I stepped right on the foot pad reader.

"Er, could you do it without the baby?" the salesman asked.

"Um, no," I replied. "She's usually attached to me this way."

"Oh. Okay." Clear puzzlement in his voice. Why would anyone want a baby glued to their back?

The foot reader made its colorful little map of my feet, and soon a dozen boxes of shoes were brought out for me to try. About halfway through the baby decided she was tired of watching over my shoulder and gave my hair a good hard yank. I quickly unwrapped her, and I took the opportunity to suggest a re-read of my feet without the baby attached to me.

The foot map was practically identical! How much pressure (weight) was different, but it was distributed across my feet the same way, babywearing and not wearing.

The salesman was mystified. How could I be standing the same way, with and without an extra pack, especially a live wiggly one, on my back?

"It means this is a good carrier," I suggested. "My posture is the same; I don't have to compensate with my balance when I am carrying my baby."

I left the salesman pondering this as I happily walked out with several pairs of not-too-ugly shoes, including a pair from the sale rack that complemented the colors of my wrap. However I was happy beyond the shoes. I knew my feet were happy carrying the baby because my balance was the same whether I was carrying her or not. I may be functioning on mommy brain, but by wrapping my baby I did not need to re-learn how to walk!