I have written about “babywearing” before, but it’s been quite a while, so I think we’re due for a recap. One of the things that I have become extremely passionate about is “babywearing”. The back story on this is… I was pregnant with my third child and I may have been a little concerned about what the temperament of this new addition would be. I was absolutely certain that I needed a calm and gentle baby, so off I went in search of ways to attain my goal of “calm and gentle” baby.
My research brought me to numerous studies and tonnes of information regarding gentle birth as well as gentle parenting. At the time I didn’t realize that the parenting style had been coined “Attachment Parenting”, and I navigated through so much information trying to make the most educated choices I could. Basically, I did everything different from my first two children (my first two are fantastic little people, but they were not the calmest of babies, haha). I opted for an out of hospital waterbirth, was determined to breastfeed basically forever, and was interested in this thing called “babywearing”.
I didn’t know much about babywearing at the time, but what I did read stated that babies who are held or worn are typically happier! Well, that was enough for me. Nevermind the fact that the baby’s heart rate, temperature and breathing synchronizes with mamas while being worn, helping the baby to get used to this out of womb business. Nevermind the fact that skin to skin contact has been shown to dramatically improve the health of premature babies, even more so than an incubator. All I saw was “happy”, and I was sold!
My first carrier (aside from the “Bjorn-style” carrier I had with my first 2 babies) was a fleece pouch made by Hotslings. I had my third baby in there from day 1 and he just loved it. I would snuggle him on my chest and then slide him to my back when I needed to do something, trusting the way I could feel him resting on my back, and never worrying about any sort of mishap. He spent plenty of time in the pouch, but I continued to research carriers. The next carrier he was worn in was a Mei Tai. A Mei Tai is a traditional Chinese carrier that is used to tie the baby on to you. It has a body panel and two straps that tie around your waist and 2 straps that go over your shoulders, weave through the baby’s legs and tie off at your waist (depending on carry). After the first 2 initial purchases of carriers I may or may not have gone a little crazy with the carrier stash building. I proceeded to buy an Ergo, a few more pouches, a ring sling, a water pouch and a Didymos wrap, and it was around that point I started EcoBaby Canada (my brainchild that I shut down in 2013). It seemed like the right thing to do. 🙂
It was also around that time that a friend and I started the “Bridge City Slingers” – the Lethbridge Babywearing Group. I was also expecting my fourth baby at this time.
Okay, back up!! I think I may have gone on a little tangent there, so let me quickly get to the point. The idea of a happy baby when worn was so appealing that I invested my whole life to it. I wore that child everywhere, and you will never guess what? He was happy. He was gentle and calm. And our breastfeeding relationship was amazing, I noticed every little cue he gave and managed to feed him before he lost his little mind. I absolutely loved having him close enough that I could smell that sweet newborn smell and kiss the top of his head at any given moment. Now, I understand that babywearing does not necessarily equal a happy baby, but I know for certain that it (among many other factors) contributed to the happiness of my baby. And thus, contributed to my happiness.
And so that is where it began, and now I am passionate about teaching people how to safely wear their baby. I run workshops, co-lead informal babywearing groups, and provide one on one instruction. I love seeing Moms and Dads have that Ah-Ha moment when they get their baby snuggled in on their chest and watch him/her drift off to sleep. I also love reassuring the Moms and Dads who have a baby that screams every time he/she goes in a carrier, and helping them troubleshoot and figure out what needs to be tweaked to make baby more comfortable and happy. All in all, I love everything about babywearing and I have dedicated a good portion of my life to researching it, learning it, practicing it, and teaching it. Now if I could just find a baby to wear myself. 😉
He may be too big to be worn, but this one still likes to be close, close enough to kiss.