Adventures in Babywearing

Todler Wrap BC

 

Before I actually had a baby, I knew I wanted to babywear. (Side note: I don’t necessarily love the term “babywear”, but since that’s what it’s generally called these days, that’s the term I’ll be using). I had a few friends that babywore, and I luckily had the time to research the topic in depth during my pregnancy. I knew what kind of carrier I would register for, the basic safety guidelines, the benefits to both parent and child, and even some cultural history on the topic. Most parents however, do not go into it knowing that much… they learn along the way. And I’ve learned a lot along the way too. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about why babywearing has been so awesome for my family and me.

To put it lightly, my birth was less than ideal and I had an extremely hard post-partum period. Although I hate to admit it, I didn’t feel nearly as close to my newborn as I had anticipated I would, and of course that made me feel like a guilty mommy even though there was nothing that I had done wrong. Once I was physically able to babywear, I did, and that was such a turning point in my relationship with my baby. It helped us to get to that point that I thought we would be at the moment she arrived. It kept us in close proximity, and aided in nurturing our relationship to bring our souls closer. She liked being worn for short periods, but not yet for extended time frames.

 

Newborn Moby

 

The months moved on, and we continued to wear, and graduated to a different carrier. It allowed me to breastfeed her on the go, sleep with her on me hands free, get as many kisses in as possible, and allowed me to get a few chores done on those days when she refused to be put down. At this point, it was sometimes difficult to take her off, because she often wanted to stay in the carrier and stay close. I was also dealing with some back problems completely unrelated to babywearing, but chose to push through the pain, because I could feel in my heart that wearing her was more important than my own comfort. We eventually worked through it, but just like most things in life, there are ups and downs involved.

Toddler Wrap FC

 

Then there was a short period where she wasn’t into being worn because she was trying to develop her own sense of movements (crawling, walking). But we turned to wearing during transitional times when she would NOT go to bed under any circumstances, unless I wore her and went for a nightly walk with her on. [P.S. It’s a total misconception that wearing your baby will delay walking… she was walking by 10 months old.]

A few more months passed, and I realized that babywearing wasn’t just something that could be done when baby demanded to be close or when extra snuggles and bonding were in order, but something that could be used as a tool to share in new experiences and adventures together! This quickly became my favorite time to babywear. We attended events and did activities together including walks and nature hikes, festivals, ballet, jazz dance, square dancing, karate/self defense, bowling, miniature golf, pool time and showering together (in a water sling), visiting tourist attractions, museums, babysitting (tandem wearing!), grocery shopping, and much more.

Babywearing Collage

 

I generally don’t have to worry about my child running out in a parking lot into traffic because she’s usually in a carrier in those situations. I also generally don’t have to worry about someone snatching her or strangers putting their hands on her in public (while she’s being worn). And I definitely don’t have to be the person that says, “I can’t do that” because I have a child with me… I just pop her on and go.

 

Toddler Tula

My daughter is now nearing her 2nd birthday in a few weeks, and we still wear on a daily basis. Some days it’s only for 10 minutes after her nap, and some days it’s for hours at a time. [P.S. on other misconceptions- she’s super independent and loves to run around too, and yes, you can wear a toddler!]. What the 2-3 year range brings in terms of our personal babywearing adventures, I don’t know, but I’m sure excited to find out. I always knew I wanted to babywear… but I never knew quite how awesome it would be!

 

If you’d like to learn more about Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs), Jenn wrote an excellent post sharing her favorites for a variety of needs. SSCs have a low learning curve for beginners, are sturdy, and can be shared between both parents with just a few buckle adjustments. If you’re new to babywearing, a good SSC is a great way to start.

 

{Bio: Jenn Fletcher lives in Cobb County and is a mother, portrait photographer, and also runs a local parent and kiddo group called Anklebiter Adventures. The group provides a free lending library with a variety of baby carriers to group members, and hosts group babywearing events such as BW dance classes, BW hikes, and more!}

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Jenn Fletcher grew up in North Carolina and has been a Georgia resident since 2002, currently living in Cobb County with her family. She is a mother, portrait photographer, and also runs a local parent and kiddo group called Anklebiter Adventures.