I’ve always been looked at funny. As a kid I wore what I wanted, as a teenager and a young twenty something I was a goth. I dress somewhat “normal” now, but I still get stared at. Why? Because I have two heads. Well, not really but it looks that way. There’s always my daughter, right there, snuggled on my back. She’s social, she chats to me, to people walking past and she tells me about everything she sees. She sees the world from my point of view, from my height. She is included in everything I do.
My babywearing journey started out of necessity. I had a baby with reflux and I was on crutches or in a wheelchair, you really can’t push a buggy then. My daughter was only comfortable upright so I had to find a solution. I bought a cheap high street carrier and although it kept her upright and my hands free it wasn’t comfortable for either of us for long. My friend lent me a stretchy wrap and I never looked back.
I have two degrees and, maybe for that reason, I like to know a lot of normally useless information, but my greedy brain absorbed the world of babywearing. The benefits for mum and for baby and the pure and simple ease of it. I tried more carriers and wraps that I can even count and learnt everything that I could. I am finally happy and confident in my abilities and have seen the benefits of baby and toddler wearing first hand.
I believe that my daughter is more sociable as a result, she is more confident and independent, if she is ill or scared slinging her provides instant calm. Public transport and shopping are so much easier and convenient and crowded places induce far less panic for her when she is worn.
Sadly information on baby and toddler wearing isn’t found in the mainstream yet (although it is becoming more so with time) and most people have to have an interest and actively seek it out. Knowing this and how it has changed our lives myself and my friend Kat decided to set up a sling meet for our area. We hold meetings once a week in various places and allow people new to the babywearing world to come and try wraps and carriers and get instructions on safety and correct usage from those more experienced.
My top 6 tips for babywearing:
- Wraps are great for naptimes. My daughter is warm, snuggled and safe, cuddled up to mummy and I have my hands free and the ability to go anywhere without having to wake her! Win, win!
- Wearing my daughter for the majority of her life has created an amazing bond between us, she is happy and confident and more independent than I had every imagined. This picture, to me reflects how amazingly happy babywearing makes us both.
- Babywearing isn’t just for England, for cold weather, there are wraps and carriers manufactured especially for warmer climates. Babywearing on holiday was amazingly easy compared to hauling a buggy around and airport and also meant that myself and my daughter could explore places that a child can’t go in a buggy.
- Who says front carries are just for little babies? Toddlers can have front snuggles too
- It’s not just wraps, there are many carriers available out there for those who aren’t comfortable with the idea of a long piece of fabric. This is a mei tai and is a quick tie on carrier fantastic for newbies and for quick carries, oh and it’s amazingly comfortable (and a bit pretty).
- Babywearing with a disability isn’t just possible, it is, in my opinion the way forward! Sometimes I can walk, sometimes I can’t, sometimes I have to have help, sometimes I’m wheelchair bound. Myself, my daughter and our babywearing abilities have adjusted around all of my limitations. Wearing her when I’m in the wheelchair allows me the freedom to be independent, propel myself but know that my daughter is safe also. She’s older now and knows to sit still but normally still chooses the wrap anyway!