Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth


Our Babywearing Evolution

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)
 "This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about babywearing practices. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!"   

 I have memories of my father carrying my sister in a backpack when we lived in Europe and did a lot of sightseeing.  In fact, there was a time when I convinced my sister she was adopted because there are so few pictures of her.  Since she was comfortable and asleep in the backpack, my parents, like many parents, chose to leave the baby sleeping instead of waking her up - for a tourist photo.   

 I think that it was a gift from my aunt that put the babywearing seed in my mind.  She gave me a hip carrier that would work when a child was able to sit up on its own (usually 6-months old+ to hit this developmental milestone).  After reading the insert, the allure of being able to carry our child hands-free was appealing.   

 We added a Baby Bjorn to our registry so we could use it before baby was sitting up.  We got one of the ones that are “not recommended” nowadays since they dangle the baby’s legs instead of allowing the baby to assume a seated position.  At the time, the educational diagrams I lined to below were not widespread.  It would be years before we met our chiropractor who advocates for the carriers that allow for the hips-knees to emulate a seated position for the baby.   

 See the diagrams and read the explanations here 

 I also registered for a sling since it looked interesting in the store.  Although it was a plain gray color, the mom and baby looked happy (advertising!)  It was our first baby and what did we know?  Not much as it turns out.  While the big padded shoulder pillow that was attached to the sling seemed like a good idea, it turned out to be a bit awkward to work with.  Since I did not know enough to know that there were different options, I got accustomed to it and learned to make it work.   

 I found that I loved wearing our baby.  I loved her sweet smell.  I loved how she snuggled into me to sleep.  I loved being able to talk to her and show her what we were looking at.  I definitely think it shaped our breastfeeding relationship.  I knew her and I could read her cues.  A baby dive-bombing for your breast is pretty hard to confuse with a baby who is gnawing on her hand just because she is curious.  Speaking on gnawing the hand, I also learned to tell the difference between “curious” and “I’m getting hungry”.   

 After I started babywearing, I noticed that there were other moms out there doing the same thing.  I started to have carrier-envy.  Some of them had pretty slings in pretty patterns that looked a lot less cumbersome than mine.  As we had more children, I noticed a greater variety in styles: carriers that looked like the baby was tucked like a kangaroo in a pocket, back carriers, wraps…the variety seemed endless.  I saw other people using Bjorn’s so at least we were not alone in using the wrong carrier for our child.  I thank God that children are resilient – I know our little one does not seem to have suffered permanent damage to her limbs and joints – hopefully the other children are okay, too.   

 My knowledge in this area grew as our family grew.  With our second child, I ordered two lightweight cotton slings with long tails that had pockets on them for my keys/wallet/whatever little thing I needed to tuck in there.  With our third child I used a rebozo from Peru – my mom brought it back with her from her Peru adventure.  It’s the Spanish word for a wrap-style carrier. I learned how to tie a really tight knot!  Our fourth child wanted me to grow again.  She wanted nothing to do with slings or wraps and by this time we knew better than to put her in the old-style Bjorn.   

 My new favorite is our Beco Butterfly that allows me to carry her in the proper seated position.  We have a couple more months in the front-facing position – I just love that snuggle bug.  We do not even use a stroller anymore – it’s just so much easier to strap on the carrier and go about our errands.   

 Learning to nurse a baby that is sitting up in the front carry position was definitely challenging the first few times.  I persisted through the learning curve - having seen other moms accomplish this feat I knew it was doable.  I practiced at home first, and now that I know baby and I have a system, we can nurse discreetly in public, too.  Sometimes so discreetly that people who pull back the hood to see the baby without asking get to see her nursing :)

 I am getting braver about trying the back carry.  I miss seeing her face, although she is repeating history…baby seems to fall asleep quickly and for extended periods of time when I carry her on my back!  The back-carrying cultures of the world know this – something about the rolling of the mom’s gait seems to rock children to sleep.  I love seeing the different ways mamas carry their babies on their back while moving through their day.   

 Do you feel that sharing traditions across cultures unites us?  It’s a yes for me.  Just like I thought about all the women who had gone before me when I was laboring with our children, knowing that we chose to carry our children like other babies are carried in other parts of the world gives me a sense that maybe we are closer to that elusive dream of world peace.  If not world peace, at least we are all agreeing on some basics.   


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