When Minnesota meteorologist Susie Martin took to the airwaves on Friday, she had an adorable surprise for viewers: her two-year-old son was strapped to her back.
Referring to him as her “handy assistant,” Martin brought her son on air with her to promote “babywearing,” the act of keeping a baby strapped to your body as you engage in regular daily activities.
This wasn’t the first time the director of operations for Minneapolis weather company Praedictix surprised viewers with her baby. Last year, he made his television debut, once again strapped to Martin’s back, as she delivered the forecast on Spectrum News Kentucky.
“Babywearing has been a passion of mine since my son came into my world,” she wrote on the Praedictix blog. “It has been an invaluable tool for me as a mother and helped me and my son bond during the early stages of infancy. Not only that, but it was and still is incredibly liberating to be able to comfort my child whilst doing other tasks, which has helped me be a happier mom.”
Her recent appearance on the air with her son was to raise awareness of International Babywearing Week, a week-long advocacy event to promote awareness of the practice. According to the event’s website, three hours of daily babywearing has been proven to reduce crying by 43 per cent (and 54 per cent during evening hours alone). It also helps promote health in premature babies, builds confidence in parents and helps reduce anxiety from separation.
Martin’s decision to wear her baby during the broadcast was predictably met with mixed response. While most people voiced their support and lauded her company for making allowances for working mothers, others called the move inappropriate and questioned her professionalism.
“t’s not appropriate to have your baby with you unless you’re there and not being paid to do your job that day,” one viewer said. “How can you concentrate on your job and be an effective employee when you have your baby with you who needs taking care of and will take priority over everything that happens.”
“Unimpressed,” another commented. “She should focus on her job and stop instrumentalising [sic] the baby to draw unnecessary attention to herself.”
Despite some negative reaction, however, the network supported Martin’s decision even further by posting a how-to video to its blog showing parents and caregivers how to properly and safely wrap a baby.
“If I could inspire at least one parent to try babywearing and if it helped them even a fraction as much as it has helped me and my family, it would be well worth it,” Martin wrote.
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