Ryan Reynolds, and why he actually matters...
Recently, Hollywood heartthrob and new dad Ryan Reynolds exploded the twitterverse with the attached photo. It pictures a beaming Ryan carrying his baby girl James in a LilleBaby Complete ergonomic carrier. The coinciding text was funny and lovely from the baby's mother, Blake Lively.
The carrier Ryan is using is an awesome carrier. It is a favorite of celebrities. (http://lillebaby.com/index.php/celebrities) It is also fairly affordable at around $140.00. The Complete is designed to wear babies in 6 ergonomic carrying positions and is appropriate for babies 7-45 lbs. While I don't own a LilleBaby Carrier, I have seen and tried one on, and they are great!
The problem with the photo, and why twitter subsequently melted down, is that baby James is incorrectly positioned. A front carry is completely appropriate for a baby Jame's size; but her feet are straight down, putting her legs and hips in a not optimal position for comfort and development. She is also sitting a little low in the carrier, with her face obscured. However, Ryan may be able to look down and visualize a perfect airway, from this angle it is difficult to judge.
"Difficult to Judge" that is the key phrase. As parents, Childbirth Educators, Doulas, and babywearers maybe we should ALL find it a little more difficult to judge one another. Blake and Ryan are new parents. All new parents are going to make mistakes. It is the obligation of society to help guide parents through these learning opportunities. It is NOT our right or obligation to crucify someone for a simple, honest mistake.
As a Childbirth Educator and Doula I help parents find their way, sort out all of the new, confusing terms, and activities that accompany parenthood, and navigate the treacherous waters of the judgey mcjudgersons that troll the interwebs.
What happened to Ryan and Blake, when they innocently shared a lovely family photo, has happened to so many new parents. Usually, thankfully, not on such a global scale. If that happened to me I would be so embarrassed! I would want to crawl in a hole. But you see, my business is support and care. I happen to think there is a better way.
How about when you see a photo like Blake's on one of your friend's Instagram or newsfeeds, instead of making a snarky comment, or writing a thesis on a baby wearing page, send a private message. Reach out to that new mother/father in a positive, helpful way.
Say, "Hey, I saw your wonderful photo with Ryan wearing baby James in that awesome Lillebaby Complete. I'm so happy for you that your partner is open to baby wearing! It is really a lovely thing for both the parent and the child and creates a great bond."
"May I please offer you a bit of advice? The position I noticed James in inside that carrier was a sub optimal position. She and Ryan would both be more comfortable if her legs were frogged up. She would also be more secure, with no risk of falling through the waistband. If Ryan tightens the shoulder straps she will sit a bit higher and you can check off T.I.C.K.S (tight, in view, close enough to kiss, keep chin off of chest, supported back http://www.schoolofbabywearing.com/Images/TICKS.pdf).
"LilleBaby has some awesome instructional videos for this carrier. (http://lillebaby.com/baby-carriers/completetm/complete-all-seasons/lillebabyr-completetm-all-seasons-charcoal-with-berry.html?allseasons=Charcoal+%26+Berry). Let me tell you, the first few times I used my Moby Wrap with my newborn I had the hardest time getting it tied right and getting her in a proper and safe position. I got a ring sling the second time around and managed to mess that up the first few times too! Thankfully I had supportive friends who showed me how to properly use my carriers. If you ever have any questions or need any help I'm happy to help out. There is a great baby wearing education support group here in Columbus too! (https://www.facebook.com/columbusareababywearingsupport?fref=ts&ref=br_tf)"
"You and Ryan are doing a great job! I'm so proud of you for babywearing. You are awesome parents."
See, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively matter in the grand discussion of parenting and how we choose to support one another. The Prince of England and Kate matter in the grand discussion of parenting and how we choose to support one another. Why do they matter? Because what happened to them on a very public, very global scale, where they were reprimanded and maligned for simple parenting mistakes, happens, on a much smaller, much more personal, but still damaging and hurtful level, to new parents every day.
I vow to be part of the solution. I will positively support parents in their choices. I will help them find accurate, scientific, evidence based information. I will not tear down people. I will not crucify someone for a simple mistake or a parenting choice. I will respect parents and their journey and support them however I can. I hope each of you will do the same.