Bolivian women have been carrying their babies in an aguayo—colorful Andean woven carriers that resemble mini hammocks—for ages. But a sudden shift towards modernity now has many new moms opting for a stroller instead of the traditional sling associated with indigenous mothers. “For young people, going out in the street with an aguayo on your back is looked down on,” La Paz resident Lourdes Condori recently told NPR.
Ironically enough, in the United States, mamis like Camila Alves and Jessica Alba were some of the first Latina celebs to push away the fancy stroller—like the once-coveted Bugaboo—in favor of so-called “attachment parenting”. The philosophy is that over-the-shoulder slings make babies feel more secure and create a stronger emotional bond between mother and child.
So what’s better, you ask? Convenience-wise, strollers, though bulky, are easier on a mom’s back and can often help carry groceries and other knick-knacks. Slings are small and hands-free, which means you can better maneuver busy sidewalks, stores and stairs, but babies can get heavy fast and the weight can take a toll on a mom’s spine.
On a developmental level, Dr. William Sears, who coined the term “babywearing,” says that sling babies cry less, learn more, are more organized, get “humanized” earlier and are smarter. Yet, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, consequences of using slings incorrectly can include skull fractions and “positional asphyxia.”
With so many options (and information) out there, what kind of baby transport do you prefer?