Our babywearing journey so far

When I heard that this week was International Babywearing Week, my first thought was that some people take pieces of cloth a little too seriously. A public awareness week for slings, carriers and such things? Really?

But actually, I can’t believe how passionate I’ve become about the subject myself. What began as a mode of transport has become a lifestyle for Talitha and me. She has, quite literally, attached herself to me.

Back in April I asked for a woven wrap for my birthday merely as an alternative to the pram. When it arrived, a gift from my parents, I admired its beauty then put it aside and, characteristically, forgot all about it.

Then my tiny baby arrived. And needed to be held. All. The. Time. Like, seriously.

Severely lacking in all things technical I asked “the adult” to try her in the wrap figuring he could work it out seeing as his sailing background had taught him a thing or two with knots.

More than once, we each cast the thing aside in frustration. How could a piece of cloth be so complicated?* Then, in desperation, I asked the people in the Born shop in Gloucester Road about slings. They explained that it’s often easier to start with a stretchy wrap when you’re just starting to learn the skills involved in babywearing.

With that, I bought a Moby. And proceeded to neglect that as well because I was scared of it. Of course the technical one picked up the instructions, tied the cloth, stuck the baby in and looked like some hippie papa au natural. He made it look so easy.

Every time I wore Talitha I worried that I was messing with her spine or cutting off her air supply. I felt uncomfortable and was even concerned that other, more experienced babywearers were looking at me and secretly tutting that I was doing it wrong.

I’m not sure when any of this changed but at some point I got the knack. I began to trust myself. I started to enjoy the closeness of my baby and the fact that being snug against my body made her comfortable enough to sleep.

For me, this hasn’t just been about getting her to drift off or returning my mobility. Wearing her has allowed me to carry her a little longer in an external womb.

I couldn’t protect her by giving her the birth I’d hoped for. I couldn’t protect her by breastfeeding as much as I’d desperately wanted to. But this was something that worked out for us. I carried her for her first three months, gently introducing her to the world.

Now for the past month she’s insisted on sticking her head out whenever she can, hungrily taking the world in and I feel that I’m still giving her a sense of security as she explores. When she’s tired, she still has somewhere familiar to retreat.

So, this is in praise of the cloth I’ve become so obsessed with it’s comical. Happy Babywearing Week!

* We’ve since worked out our woven wrap, just about, and it is lush. Tomorrow I’m reviewing an altogether different kind of carrier: The Baba Sling.

Image: Lorraine MacMillan

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  • Aww this is such a lovely post. I have a baby carrier because, a bit like you, I was afraid about all the knots and ties and Amy falling out but with this one you just have to click some straps into the right postition and the baby wearing can start. You wouldn’t believe how much Amy loved being carried around the airport in it. Misses Nosy was more than in her element…

  • There is a theory that babies need an extra 3 months inside but our pelvises couldn’t birth their heads so we are supposed to keep them in womb like conditions for a 4th trimester

    Wearing saved my sanity with Littler – without the sling I would have gone nuts, with the sling I could deal with the incessant feeds on the go and you know do stuff – slings can be lifesavers

    And I just love that picture – how sweet!

    • I hear you. I literally bought the Moby out of desperation. I was going mad! From a lot of what you say about Littler, sounds like a high needs child and a sling is perfect for them. Thanks, the pic was taken at my uncle’s 40th last weekend. He and my aunt were telling me that they didn’t bother with pushchairs until later on either. I hadn’t pegged them for babywearers so that was interesting to hear.

  • aww Adele that is a beautiful photo 🙂
    i never used a sling with either of my two. i really wanted to but by the time I thought of buying one they were each too heavy and i didn’t think i would be able to carry them on my person for very long. but I wish I had tried it because i think it looks lovely when i see other mums doing it and it might have helped me get them to sleep more easily. oh and more cuddling up time of course 🙂

    • Thanks, hon. I think you really need to start from when they’re little so your strength can grow with them. I hardly notice Talitha getting heavier. It’s been great for naps though she’s recently so wired even that doesn’t always work!

  • I’m a big fan of baby wearing. At the begining I was afraid to trust the carrier and I still held onto my baby all the way. Hubby said that defeated the purpose and I guess he was right., In the end I relaxed and Angelo and I enjoyed our Ergobaby.  He’s now at at age were he needs to be worn on my back but I’m do scared to put him there and commute on public transport. Yet another fear to overcome, lol.

  • My mom gave me a sling from the states but I never properly learned to wrap it.  We used our Baby Bjorn a lot but it is more of an active carrier and doesn’t have the same snuggle affect….I definitely plan to use a sling with the next baby.  I’ll look forward to your Baba Sling review, or view on which is the best in terms of comfort / functionality.

    • I meant to do loads of posts on babywearing this week but life got in the way. The baba sling review will have to wait to the weekend. I’ll also be doing a woven bs stretchy post next week. Hope some of that helps. The snuggle effect is a definite plus. Hope you get to enjoy it with your next baby!

  • I love that you say the word “lush”. You’ve been living in Bristol too long my dear!

    I had a sling that I sometimes used for F but never completely got the knack. I seemed to spend most of the time holding her in one arm, in the sling, because I didn’t trust that she was properly supported. This is definitely something I’d like to correct if baby number two comes along.

  • my yummy mummy 4×4 pram is gathering dust in the cupboard- i don’t actually know how to use it. it just looks way too complicated compared to my baby carrier, which I LOVE. two minutes in it and cranky baby conks out.
    this is the one i got http://www.wilkinet.co.uk/

Further reading

Win a KangaWrap baby sling

I am one of those crazy babywearing mamas who gets all emotional when I see babies in slings. Learning to carry a newborn in a sling is one of the most freeing, empowering and connected experiences out there. I tentatively grew to love it the first...