If you had told me four years ago that babywearing would become a topic dear to my heart, I would have told you that you were crazy (not that I would have known what you were talking about). I always associated babywearing with third world countries and my hippie mother who had a mei tei back in the early 1970's.
Along came Pk. She was colicky and high needs. She never slept and we paced hours with her, trying to settle her down. A good friend of my husband's gave us a basic pocket sling, a model that they had used and really liked with both of their boys. I never got a great fit with that sling but Dh used it a lot, those many evenings when he would pace downstairs with her for hours at a time while I cried upstairs, beside myself at not being able to console my baby. Gradually, Pk began to be really happy in her sling with daddy and it became a lifeline. I bought a ring sling and never felt comfortable with the fit in that, either.
When Pk was about four months old, I joined several attachment parenting lists (another thing I had never heard of before Pk but thanks to Dr. Sears, who offered me the only comfort in my desperation, I quickly learned all about it). On the lists, there were two particular kinds of carriers that everyone discussed - a wrap (which looked too complicated for me) and an Ergo carrier. My mom offered to buy me an Ergo and I fell in love. We have two dogs and do lots of walks with them and Pk spent hours in the Ergo with me. We hiked, we walked dogs, we cruised the mall, we did grocery shopping, all with her riding happily on my back. Even better, my impossible-to-get-to-sleep little girl would fall asleep in the Ergo in less than 30 minutes and it became my go-to for getting naps to happen in the afternoon. Some of my happiest memories of us spending time as a family took place with Pk riding on my back.
Just under four months ago, Baby Bean arrived. This time, I got brave and decided to order a Sleepywrap after I kept hearing such great things about it and about the Moby. I was nervous about tying it but it was easy and oh, so comfortable. Baby Bean thought so, too. Luckily, with him, we didn't have to deal with colic but he still had the evening fussies all babies seem to suffer from and he and I would wander the house cleaning, with him just hanging out in the Sleepywrap. It helped him sleep, it gave me my hands back and most of all, again, it gave me precious time with my child.
While I am not quite as rabid about babywearing as some, we do own a stroller and I do use it, there is just something so wonderful about wearing your baby. Even as I type this, I find myself yearning for that warm, complete, relaxed and cozy feeling of wearing my child. I love being able to wrap my arms around my child, kiss the top of a head and feel my child breathing against me. After 9 months of deep connection with this life, wearing my son was the closest I could come to that kind of connection. I will really miss this stage of our life together when it passes.
Yes, I know that there is controversy about the safety of some of the carriers on the market but, as someone who did own an Infantino Slingrider, it never felt safe to me, hence why we didn't use it. I don't think that we hear stories of children in cultures that traditionally babywear suffering ill-effects and I, for one, am convinced of the safety of wearing a baby (in fact, I always felt that my baby was safest with me - I could feel his or her breathing, I knew exactly what was going on in his or her environment and I could immediately lay my hands upon his or her body). Babywearing is gaining in popularity and I sincerely hope that by the time my daughter has her own children, that it becomes something that is "the done thing" and that a good baby carrier (or two or three) becomes a must-have on every registry list. I know that it's been on of the most important and precious things that have joined us on our parenting journey.