I remember going to my local baby superstore when I was pregnant for the first time. Complete overwhelm.
A sales clerk told me I needed a baby carrier. It sounded like a good idea, so I just scanned the cheapest available. I didn’t even realize there were different styles, different positions, safety concerns and reason to babywear.
Five-plus years later, one of the first things I recommend to new moms is that they get themselves a soft structured carrier. And then we usually have a conversation about the merits and reasons to babywear. It’s a conversation I love to have with new and expectant mothers.
Looking back over my five years mothering two boys, I see how my understanding and reasoning for babywearing has changed and expanded overtime.
Early on, I babywore for convenience. It’s certainly easier to shop, prep food, take walks, or work around the house when you don’t have to run back and forth to a baby in a crib. Baby can be right with you and you know their waking, sleeping and feeding needs. While I never did dare to vacuum while babywearing because my children were both afraid of the noise, I know many moms who maintained a clean home because they wore their babies!
Later, I learned about babywearing for comfort and bonding. My first child constantly wanted to be held, and was very difficult to put to sleep. I can only imagine if I’d known more about babywearing then, that I’d have been more able to comfort him. Or been less stressed about the time it took to calm him down while being unable to do anything else that needed to get done around the house.
One aspect of babywearing I loved, was how wearing my babies provided us each a measure of protection. It’s amazing to me how bold strangers can be around babies. Even family and friends often assume you’re okay with them touching, poking, and grabbing your baby from your arms to play with and hold. I’ll admit babies are so adorable, it’s hard to remember they can have fragile immune systems. Or that parents simply may not be comfortable with the constant “passing of the baby.” Awkward situations can ensue. When I would babywear my children, it really cut down on people crossing my boundaries for our babies. I experienced fewer uncomfortable moments and my baby was protected from whatever seasonal illness was going around.
But my favorite reason for babywearing is probably the most intangible. Babywearing is an extremely special time between parent and child. You feel their every breat, see each expression, begin to breath in unison. It’s a very special dance between parent and child, to the sound of your combined laughter. A dance that is beautiful and all too short.
So dance that dance, mamas, and papas, and aunties, and uncles, grannies, and gramps. Wear your baby. Be there in each moment with them. It’s a closeness you’ll remember always.