I thought it might be fun to do a series interviewing babywearers on why and how they got into babywearing and what it does for their lives. I’m going to start with myself, just for fun.
My first son was born in 2007 and I had seen babywearing recommended in a parenting book that I had read. I thought is sounded like a great tool. My son needed to be held constantly. He was the kid that was either in a swing or I was walking up and down halls with him. There was no babywearing group or community in my area at the time so I was on my own. I bought and returned every carrier they sold at the big box store near us. We used a few here and there that were less than ideal or safe but we got through. I remember one time going into the baby superstore and asking an employee if there was something that would allow me to wear my son while I bent over and picked up toys. He said no, no such thing.
My second child came around in 2009, and I was connected with a local babywearing group during my pregnancy. I remember my first meeting very well, at the time just a gathering of a few moms near the play area of the mall. I watched these women put on mei tais and wraps and almost cried. It was everything I had so desperately tried to find and wasn’t able to. Several of the women that were at that first meeting are still my friends years later.
I now have four children and lead the descendant of that same babywearing group. I wear because it allows me to keep my baby close and still feel like a human being. I am able to put my baby on my back, sit on an exercise ball and eat with a knife and fork while he sleeps. My third child did not sleep unless he was on one of our bodies for two and a half years. I can’t imagine what I would have done without this skill. I wear because I can calm a distressed toddler in a minute flat. I can get my crazy kids to the car, sometimes two of them strapped to my body when we need to get going in a hurry. I’m the first one out of the car for school drop off since I’m not struggling with a stroller or car seat carrier. I can take my kids to the botanical gardens and go up and down the stairs without a hassle! During growth spurts when my baby wanted to nurse all day long, I was able to nurse in a carrier at the zoo and keep my two-year-old happy wandering around looking at things. My marriage ended when I was pregnant with my fourth. Wearing allowed me to bond and cuddle my newborn while learning to manage my household as a single mama! What a lifesaver.
Early parenting is a difficult time. I’ve met so many mothers who are beyond exhausted, they are into that state that I think only a young mother knows. They can’t remember the last time they took a shower without rushing, ate a full meal, or slept a whole night. Babywearing allows moms to be able to do the tasks that make them feel like a complete person again. Go for a long walk, put on some make up, cook a meal, it feels good. Babywearing helps moms avoid postpartum depression by helping them feel like they can handle it.
It may seem that it’s all about the pretty fabric and the fun of having something cute like a new diaper bag. But as someone who has been teaching this skill for 6 years the look of relief, the eyes filling with tears, and seeing the shoulders of a new parent relax for what might be the first time since their child was born is worth so much more.
I’d love to hear some of your stories and what babywearing has done for your family! Respond in the comments and I may contact you to be featured in a future article!