Last week I was thinking about all the ways we connect and bond with our children. Looking at the little rituals and and space we create that give us moments to express love on a daily basis I was reminded of times of sweet connection. For many of us, when we’re pregnant, we rub our bellies to sense our babies and demonstrate our growing love. After birth, skin to skin cuddles, kisses, nuzzles, and breastfeeding, to name a few, help us both to connect with our child and to communicate love. Caring for them and meeting their needs for warmth, shelter, food, and hygiene, bonds our families closer together. Including them in our activities, having them close to be a part of what we have going on and not passively set aside, gives us the opportunity to bond through shared experiences.
Babywearing did not begin to be an important part of our parenting until our third child. With our first two daughters, we relied heavily on our stroller and our arms. We had a carrier but it was horribly uncomfortable and it never felt right. When desperate I would use it so I could vacuum once in a while but the carrier hurt my shoulders, my back, and I couldn’t help but think probably my baby too. They just looked so awkward with their legs and arms jutting out and I was anxious they weren’t really secure. Through bath time, reading together, snuggling in bed, play time, and of course breastfeeding were our primary ways of developing connection. We added baby wearing with our third daughter when we discovered the ring sling and both The Piano Man and I regularly wore her at home and while out.
We wore our babies because they liked it. Not because of a parenting style, not because of a trend, and not because of a philosophical belief. Before we’d ever heard of attachment parenting, Dr. Sears, or even the term “babywearing,” we wore our babies. It just felt right. They were clearly happier closer to us and our own stress levels were reduced when they were content. Having them close facilitated a deeper connection making little kisses, conversation, and attention to their needs easier with juggling the demands of our older children, home life, and even working full time.
When our fourth was 8 months old we expanded our babywearing to include a soft structured carrier when some friends went in together to get us a Beco Butterfly II. They picked a print I loved, which I found exciting, but ultimately it was the comfort, ease, and practicality of the design that made the Beco my favorite carrier. But I wasn’t the only fan of the carrier.
By 10 months old Sugarbaby had become deeply attached to our Beco. If she saw it on the closet shelf she would squeal, flap her arms, smile, and radiate excitement. If we didn’t respond by taking the carrier out and wearing her, tears would inevitably ensue. After wearing her, when we would take her out of the carrier, she would pitch a fit even if it was obvious she wanted down and would only settle if we gave her the carrier to play with by herself on the floor. She was obsessed with the buckles and it wasn’t long before her verbal vocabulary was made up of “mama,” “dada,” and “Beco.” Her 3rd word. The Beco ranked pretty high in her life. There were times that I wondered if she was more attached to the actual carrier than she was to me. Reality was, as much as she loved that carrier, what made it so special was that it kept her close to her mommy and daddy and sometimes even a big sister would wear her. It was the bonding. For the longest time she would chatter about the Beco but nothing made her happier than being in the Beco on one of us. “Beco” was her third word because just as mama and dada meant love, so did “Beco.”
Today, 2 babies later, that carrier is still an important part of my ever growing wrap and carrier collection. It has held up through 3 babies now and been loaned out a few times as well. Some day I imagine we will enjoy carrying grandbabies and creating new intentional opportunities to express love with little ones. I doubt I’ll ever get rid of it because it represents one of the ways we bond with our babies and holds so many memories of connection, closeness, and love.
How do you enjoy bonding with your little ones?
In what ways are you intentional about creating connections to express love and be close?
I shared this story with my friends at Beco and they loved that “Beco” was Squiggle Bug’s 3rd word and meant so much to our family. In honor of Squiggle Bug and to help more parents and babies enjoy the bonding experience of babywearing, Beco is giving away 3 Gemini carriers (perfect for breastfeeding in) and 3 Beco Minis so your little ones can care for their babies like you do. Be sure to like Beco on Facebook so you can keep up on sales, news, and great baby wearing and parenting tips and information. To be entered in the giveaway, use the widget below.