This post is recycled from my old family blog, edited and updated a bit to share here.
I wear my baby. And my toddler. I’m a babywearing mama. No matter my outfit, they match. The perfect accessory, they go with blue jeans, silk skirts, maxi-dresses, t-shirts and vintage jackets. Better than bling, they boldly proclaim my status to the world: I AM A MOM!
(Smunchie- 4 weeks in the Mei Tais and Squiggle Bug- 2 years in the Beco, on me, iPhone pic by The Storyteller)
Because people couldn’t already tell I’m a mom. Ok, so I don’t babywear to look cool or make sure my status as MOM is known. I’m pretty sure that could be made clear with the constant spit-up decoration on my shoulder, the massive diaper bag and the fact that I have 5 small people and 1 teen running around regularly calling me “Mommy!” apparently just so they can declare who I am to the entire world. Not because they actually have anything to say. Make that 4 small people, Sugarbaby isn’t talking yet. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when she does, children have an amazing ability to increase volume exponentially.
(Lolie wears her new baby in a kid tai by Sweet Slings)
No, I wear my babies for other reasons than making a fashion statement. Though babywearing does kind of save me from having to worry about fashion, nobody can tell what I’m wearing when there is a super sweet jelly kid on my back or front. In fact, people almost don’t notice me, just the tiny people that seemed to sprout extra long legs and a head. I put my babies in slings, wraps, Mei Tais, and soft structured carriers for far greater reasons than fashion. I didn’t have a kid (or 6) so I could look cool, even though I do.
I wear them for convenience. I mean, gosh, I need my arms, I can’t stand around holding a kid all day. Sheesh.
Sugarbaby as a newborn breastfeeding in the Moby Wrap
Alright, that’s actually true but that isn’t the only reason any more. It started out that way, to be sure. I have times when I wrap a little one on me so I can actually get the dishes done, vacuum the carpet (mom, stop laughing, I do vacuum… sometimes), or have a phone conversation but I keep my babies tied to my body with strips of fabric so I can be close to them and they can be close to me. There was a time when I bought the idea that we needed to make our little people as independent as possible from the get-go but over time and over the course of my parenting experiences, I don’t feel that way any more. I actually think it is a good thing if my baby is attached to me and I am attached to them.
However, I don’t call myself an Attachment Parent-er. Or whatever. I don’t like labels. I have a a label phobia. I’m label-phobic. Oh crap, now I’m labeled again! Gah. Anyway, there are principles of Attachment Parenting I love, The Piano Man and I do a lot of them instinctively but still don’t consider ourselves AP. It probably really does just go back to the label thing. We choose to wear our babies because though we started doing it for convenience reasons we noticed a few things about babywearing. For starters, we just like having them close, it feels good to them and to us. The stroller started to seem like a pain in the rear compared to the sling. Our babies were way happier on us than anywhere else. The easiest way to sooth an upset baby that didn’t need to nurse was to wrap her close to us. On cold days it was so cozy and we could know she was ok. We felt like we didn’t miss anything, smiles, talking, observing, all of it was right there. When we started thinking about it, it just seemed more pleasant for our baby to be up close to us being able to see what was going on around them clearly. I noticed that I talk to my babies more, interact with them more when they are on me and yes, talk to, not at. And the big one was just the contact, it seemed like an easier transition to go from the womb, to being snuggled up in a wrap, to hanging out on mommy or daddy’s back, and then exploring the world, knowing they can come back when they need to.
So we are big time babywearers now, it kind of just happened. Babywearing makes many aspects of my parenting life easier including breastfeeding, chasing after toddlers, and even my career. I get a lot of work done with a small person on me supported by one of our trusty carriers. All while feeling confident that it’s good for them and for me. I love PaxBaby.com for what they carry and Jillian’s one-on-one support, their Facebook page is also a wealth of information whether you’re brand new to babywearing or an experienced wrapper. Be sure to also check out Babywearing International and babywearer.com. My top 2 picks for getting started babywearing with a little one is a ring sling (please no plastic rings) and a Moby Wrap (another great source of support and information is the Moby Facebook page). For older babies and toddlers, I suggest starting with a ring sling or a soft structure carrier such as Beco, Ergo, or Boba. Woven wraps are my personal favorite for frequent carrying though they take some practice to get comfortably skilled at wrapping. I highly recommend talking with Jillian at PaxBaby to help you figure out which carrier would be right for you.
There has been some concern about babywearing safety, this post isn’t about that but check out some of these hyperlinks. We don’t use the types of carriers that were recalled, we prefer wraps, ring slings, soft structure carriers, woven and stretchy wraps, and Mai Teis and make sure we babywear safely. If you are a babywearing mama or daddy, check out my friend Shanna’s blog for ideas on how to respond to the inevitable “you know those things kills babies, right?” concern you’ll get now. I’m not in a hurry for my babies to grow up and not need me any more, most parents aren’t. Ok, sometimes I am but those come from a place of feeling overwhelmed and tired. But most of the time, I’m trying to savor the moments because I know they go by all too quickly. What better way to do that than to have my baby on me for as long as we can?