What To Expect When You Wear Your Baby to Paintball (Now with Absurd Coda).

I was flitting about the Internet, trying to find out whether I might be wearing my Ergo improperly (I have never been quite clear on where, precisely, it should buckle about your midsection), and I found a site all about babywearing. Now, I love wearing baby. And my baby loves being wore! Why, just last weekend, I was able to enjoy an afternoon at the museum, with only minimal shrieking, thanks to the soft carrier holding Twyla snugly against my person.

Still, I have never tried to climb a tree while infant-bearing, nor to stoke a fire or play a game of touch football (to be fair, I haven’t done the latter even without a baby attached). I’d have thought the imprudence of these endeavors was self-evident, but according to the page devoted to babywearing safety, perhaps I am overly optimistic.

“Never jog, run, jump on a trampoline, or do any other activity that subjects your baby to similar shaking or bouncing motion. ‘This motion can do damage to the baby’s neck, spine and/or brain,’ explains the American Chiropractic Association.”

“If you shouldn’t do it while pregnant because of an enhanced risk of falls, you shouldn’t do it while carrying a baby. For example, your risk of falling increases when you climb a ladder, ride a horse, ride a bicycle, or go skating. Your risk of falling also increases on slippery surfaces like the ones you encounter when you go bowling, sailing, or spelunking. When a baby is in his mother’s womb, he has built-in protection, but a baby in arms or in a carrier does not have that protection.”

“If you should wear protective gear while doing an activity, you shouldn’t do it while carrying a baby. Baby carriers do not provide hearing protection, eye protection, protection from projectiles such as rocks flung from a lawn mower, protection from fumes or dust such as occur during lawn mowing and some household cleaning tasks, or protection from falls.”

Okay, so…Okay.
So far, we have: Jumping on a Trampoline, Horseback Riding, Ladder-Climbing, Bicycling, Ice-Skating, Bowling, Sailing, Spelunking, and Lawn-Mowing. According to the experts, none of these are suitable activities for a person wearing a helpless infant strapped to his/her chest. I hope you are all taking notes.

And because you can never be too careful, I propose we add the following to the list of Non-Recommended Activities:

1. Lion Taming
2. Rugby
3. Snorkeling
4. Acting as ‘Lovely Assistant’ to Amateur Knife-Thrower
5. Diving, Cliff
6. Diving, Conventional
7. Trapeze
8. Big Game Hunting
9. Bullfighting
10. Beekeeping
11. Stilt-Walking
12. Wrestling
13. Undergoing Whole-Body Seaweed Wrap
14. Pole-Vaulting
15. Re-enacting “William Tell” with Friend Who Has Recently Taken Up Archery
16. Surfing
17. Skiing, Water
18. Skiing, Downhill
19. Zumba
20. Luge

Be safe out there!


When I first posted this on Wednesday night, the picture above did not have a Modesty Rectangle. In my defense, when I looked at it on my phone I didn’t much notice my HEAVING BOSOM in the lower portion of the frame, a fact which seems a impossible to me now. I blame the wee size of phone pictures and also Baby Goggles (i.e. “Look at my nice baby! I wouldn’t notice if this picture also included a nude stranger/spectral image/ROUS, so fixated am I on said nice, nice baby”).

But a friend (TJ) made a comment, and I investigated, by which I mean I pulled up my site on my computer, gasped, and made a strangled sound that was half horror, half amusement. Okay, 70% horror, 30% amusement. Scott was passing by and I turned the computer to him. “This is bad, right?” I asked, just in case I was overreacting. He didn’t answer me, as was laughing too hard.

I made a very hasty Modesty Rectangle and reuploaded the picture. Alas, as soon as I pressed ‘PUBLISH,’ my site crashed. I knew I hadn’t done anything code-wise that would cause such a thing to happen, and so for a little while, I was legitimately concerned that I had been shut down because of the photo.
“Maybe I got flagged as porn?” I fretted to Scott, retreating to the kitchen for some restorative potato chips.

Scott helpfully reminded me that the Internet is not exactly known as a Boob-Free Space.

“Have you SEEN the Internet? You could put porn on your blog. Not that I am suggesting you should, but you could, and nothing would happen.
“No, I don’t think its allowed! By my host or whatever. I’m not, you know, zoned for porn.”


Anyhow, it turned out there was a server problem unrelated to my cleavage, so all that sturm und drang for nothing. Except that my site was down for hours, up briefly, and then down for another day, and apparently my pre-Modesty-Rectangle boobs are still out there in people’s RSS feeds. So that is fun for me.


  1. JP says:

    Excellent suggestions. I’ll be sure to bookmark this sage wisdom and send to expectant friends.

    You know what they say: warning signs exist for a reason.

  2. celia says:

    Don’t forget walking. I tripped and fell with the baby today because our toddlers firetruck rolled under my feet. We are fine. The firetruck is toast.

    • Alexa says:

      I trip so often while simply walking around the apartment, I occasionally wonder whether I have some sort of inner ear problem, but I suppose it is just all the maneuvering around things like firetrucks, etc.

  3. KeraLinnea says:

    Twyla’s eyes look very green in that photo…are they really that color? It’s really neat.

    You know, the fact that they felt a need to list things like climbing a ladder or horseback riding indicates that some fool has tried it. That makes me shake my head.

  4. Joyce says:

    Excellent! Where do we stand on fencing?

    For the record, my OB/GYN said that bicycling was fine when I was pregnant, but that running was not fine, even for non-pregnant women, because “the risks of uterine prolapse far outweigh any potential health benefits.” (It is fair to say she was something of an outlier on this point.)

    We were very big on garden and cocktail parties, baby and I. Tie a big hat on her, and nobody needs to know she’s nursing.

    Enjoy the wearing of her!

  5. Alexicographer says:

    Funny, I ran into the opposite problem when babywearing: everyone’s idea of a ringing endorsement of a well-structured carrier was, “I could even vacuum while wearing this!” (And the persistent use of cotton, organic or otherwise, for making the things drove me nutty; has no one who crafted a backpack made a baby carrier? There’s a reason we no longer camp in canvas tents, I’m just sayin’.). Thus was I led to propose the relay sport of extreme babywearing, which I think would dramatically improve the quality of gear available, however, for the record, I was envisioning something lending itself more to … one should be able to put the baby on solo, remove ditto (including without disturbing said baby from sleep) … breastfeed while carrying, tie shoe while carrying, walk two mild-mannered yet obstreperous dogs while carrying, climb into a rowboat, and perhaps traverse a well-structured zipline. Nothing crazy!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Well, your boobs were not in MY feed, just so you know. There was just one of those “you can’t see this picture that was on Flickr” anymore things. It was a sad sad day.

    • Alexa says:

      Good to know. Alas I DID get the following text from my mother:

      “For some reason RSS feed still has boobs pic but when you click to “original article” it has modesty cover. Close and it is boobs again…”

  7. Jenny says:

    Holy hilarity. The robots at Twitter suggested to me this morning that I start following you, so I came to check out your blog first. The robots at Twitter are onto something! Great blog. After reading this entry in particular, I couldn’t believe Babywearing International actually mentioned spelunking, so I went over THERE to check THEM out. There I discovered the #1 rule is that I have to make sure my baby can breathe. Thank God they told me.

  8. Kara says:

    “Fun for me”?? Don’t you mean fun for THEM?? Ha!

    That’s awesome and SO something I would do. . .you know, if I had a blog or were on Facebook or anything like that.

  9. Alexicographer says:

    Haha. I only saw the modesty rectangle version, but I feel your pain; I attached to an email I sent out sharing news of my son’s birth (happily, only sent to a few select friends) a similarly immodest pic. Ooops. I totally blame, “Look at my nice baby!” syndrome. Also, while the coda is great, the text from your mother takes the cake.

  10. Kylie says:

    Not sure if you have watched much Seinfield, but your boob story reminded me of the episode in which Elaine inadvertently sends out Christmas cards with her nipple exposed – not sure which is harder to retract, a card or a photo on the web!!

  11. Rhi says:

    One of my goals for 2013 is to try a new activity each month with my toddler. Now that I can’t baby wear and lion tame, I’ll need to go back to the drawing board for our January activity.

  12. Nancy B says:

    If it is any consolation, I read this post and saw the picture before you added the modesty rectangle…. and I did not see or notice your exposed body part…. I was likely reading the blog on my iPhone so you may be correct that the photo size on tiny screens made the error easy to overlook. Granted, I was more interested in looking at adorable Twyla than looking for accidental boobies caught on camera. However – now that I’ve seen your added coda, I have to say that it made me laugh out loud. Sorry for your horror, glad you got it fixed, but it’s still pretty comical that it happened!

  13. Mina says:

    Hi. Delurking. :-)
    I have to tell you that I read once about a hicking mum that strapped her infant to her chest or back and went rock climbing. Granted, it was in the Daily Mail, you know, world renowed garbage disseminater, still, as Mel from Stirrup Queens says, it is pure comedy most of the time. So yes, there was this mad woman, defending her choice of going rock climbing with her daughter, saying that she did not want her daughter to be limited by anything in her life and so she gave her an example of how one could do anything they desired. There were also pictures of her wearing a helmet and the baby tied to her back not wearing anything at all. They were hanging from a cord. The cord was hanging from a rock. A big one. If I weren’t sick to the stomack just thinking about it, I could even make it rhyme and put it on a earwormy tune and belt out a hit, huh? The world is full with fools, I’m telling ya…
    Congratulations on your cute baby. It’s very nice she matches her big sister in adorableness. So sorry I missed the premodesty variant of the picture. Now that you talk about it, it makes me curious, of course.

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