Before I really knew anything about it, I was completely naive and truly believed that babywearing was something that indigenous people did in under-developed countries. It was nothing that I had ever heard of prior to having children- and its not that I wasn’t exposed to infants and young families in my “youthful” years, it truly was not common or even seen throughout the community. At the end I will be listing some great links for the benefits to baby wearing and resources, but thought first I would share out story of how this passion came to be.
My passion into babywearing and the oh-so-many benefits began when Mr. Max was an infant and had outrageous acid reflux. He had a long stretch where being upright was the only position he was happy in and frankly my arms needed a wee bit of freedom once in a while. A friend had given me a Snugli and that carrier brought us amazing comfort, freedom and occasionally- well needed rest. But with Max being my first child, I had the opportunity and desire to hold him hours on end and only brought out the Snugli for walks and those few necessary instances.
While I was preparing for Cooper’s arrival, I knew that we were going to need something that would allow for a bit of arm sharing. He was going to be worn for longer durations and wanted to find something that was more ergonomically supportive and comfortable for both of us. I had received some suggestions and opted to begin his days up and cradled in a ring sling. Let me tell you this was the beginning to a whole new relationship!
Shortly after Cooper’s surgery I realized that the added weight of his helmet wasn’t going to support his little neck when he was in the sling, so began to source other carriers. I had found an Ergo with a hood that snapped over, that added just the right amount of neck support from that helmet and added that bit of isolation from the outside world when it was nap time (because at 4 months old, there is FAR too much to be seeing to nap you know!)
It wasn’t too long after this that the world of babywearing as I knew was about to change forever. I had attended a “Rock Your Bump” Exhibition and witnessed Nancy, who’s amazing talent I would and continue to admire for years to come with UppyMama and now with her own studio as West of the Fourth Weaving, effortlessly weave tiny threads of cotton to create phenomenal art- art that could be worn!! I had to have – and more importantly wear, this art.
Fortunately, a few weeks after I had won the draw to purchase one of UppyMama’s glorious wraps- a linen “Aurora”, our local baby wearing group hosted an introduction session on babywearing. I had found a wonderful library of YouTube Videos’- but another person critiquing, helping and educating was something that I cannot be gracious enough for. Our Central Alberta Babywearing Group has get -togethers quite a bit and even has a lending library to try out different carriers to see what you like/don’t like before investing the money into something of your own- this to me, is a tremendous resource in our growing community.
It has been nearly two years now since I invested in my first wrap, and there isn’t a moment that goes that I regret any of it. Cooper was ill quite a bit for his first 18 months, and babywearing allowed him to be close, comforted and secure against my body. Like Max- it also allowed him to be upright when laying down became a painful struggle. I also believed that wearing Cooper allowed Max and I to interact a lot more- as he would be often sleeping on my back and Max would be content playing tractors in the sand with Mom. I’m in no way saying that we wouldn’t have been close, but time spent nursing or putting Cooper to sleep was often on the go with Max leading the way.
This past week was International Babywearing Week, and while I had decided a few months ago that our time of babywearing had come to an end and the stash had to go (let me assure you there were tears with this realization); I brought a few pieces out again that were bundled up to sell. I am not done wearing my little guy, and he’s not ready to let it go either.
So in the meantime- I will wear my babies, let them explore the world around them from the security of Mom’s body, allow them to rest when they are tired and most importantly let them find comfort in leading this weaning- I’ve done all the weaning so far in his little life, it’s his turn to decide when he is finished.