I've always been a huge supporter of using a baby harness. I first came across it in some random parenting blog. Admittedly my first reaction was "macam doggy" :p but after further reading and research about the harness, weighing in its pros and cons, Lan and I decided that we're going to get one.
We first started talking about baby harness a few weeks before our Jakarta trip. Ryan was around 19 months old then and just entering the "discovery phase" and I was seven months pregnant with his sisters. I know there is no way that I'll be able to get him to stay in his stroller for hours and letting him run free is not an option. It was my 4th time going to Indonesia and I'm fully aware how crowded the parks and shopping mall can get especially during the weekends and being heavily pregnant, I know I won't be able to be running after him all the time. I went straight to Mothercare after that and bought the cutest backpack-like cow harness for him.
The thing about using a harness on your baby means you have to be ready to deal with stares/people pointing and even snide comments. I've had someone said to my face "macam anjing", laugh at us, and whispered loudly "kesian anak dia" when they think I was out of their hearing range. Ignore them I say especially if you have your babies best interest at heart.Keep in mind that should anything happen to your kid because you lose your concentration for a split second, these same person would be the first person to turn around and accused you of being a bad parent. Parenting to me is doing whatever that works for you and your baby.
Some people thinks that using a harness is the lazy way of disciplining your kid. I actually read a comment on Babycenter, where this mother of 4 was chastising everyone who is even considering of using a harness. Quoting her "if you can't teach your kid to follow basic instruction like holding your hand and standing close to you in public than he/she should stay home until he/she learns". Maybe she is one of those lucky mothers with children who never misbehave but I find her response totally harsh.
Please understand that, using a harness is not a license to let your kids run around unattended. I still hold my children hands while using the harness and I don't tug and "pull" the harness to get them to stop running. To me a harness is just an extra precautionary step to ensure that I have all my kiddies within arms reach. If you've ever been in a situation where you need to run errands while holding countless shopping bags and at the same time is trying to ensure that your child is safely within reach, you will appreciate the handiness of the contraption.
Harness is very beneficial for toddlers, who is usually very curious creatures. They will run first and think consequences later and that is very dangerous. I would usually use the harness in an open area like shopping malls, theme parks or playground. Avoid using a harness in confined spaces and if you're surrounded by fragile items. Trust me you would not want to be in a situation where your little darling suddenly realized that they can now lift that gorgeous crystal swans off the shelf, keep them strapped in the strollers for this kind of situation :p
I love using the harness so much that we've continued the practice with the twins. Using harnesses with twins takes on another separate new skills because the " rope" do get tangled together which may caused both of them to fall or I may be caught in a situation where the twins are tugging me to two separate ways :p I also have to endure with the extra annoying attention because there is now TWO cute little girls walking hand in hand in the mall. Some of this attention is of the positive kind but it kinda scares Iman and Ranya when some random makcik suddenly physically zoom in to them. People should really respect other people personal space even if the subject in question is two cute little munchkins hehe
I guess I can relax a bit nowadays because I have an extra hands and a pair of eyes that will help me monitor Iman and Ranya. Big brothers are the best, huh? especially if you have one that is as cute and protective as Ryan :) Alhamdullilah....