Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We Love Babywearing

September 21 - 28 is International Babywearing Week!

Here's some other posts I've written about our babywearing adventures.

Before Peeper was born, I thought it would be a good idea to get "a sling," or "a front pack," but I had no idea of the huge variety of carriers out there, or how much we'd actually end up using ours.

When she was very young, and we were struggling with breastfeeding, DoulaK recommended wearing her (for more snuggly time) so we bought a Baby K'tan at Target, because it's what we saw there.

We couldn't begin to figure out how to use it, so when DoulaK came over for our postpartum follow-up (as if we'd not spoken a zillion times in the interim) she took a look at it, and really couldn't sort it out either.

But, she had a wrap with her, and showed us out to use it, saying that if we like that style of carrier, she had several more designs at home, and we could see them on her website, and . . .

"We'll take it!" we said - and bought the demo right off her back.

We didn't want to wait around for another one, and we loved the design, with the blue batik and symbols of religions of the world.

(Yeah, you might have seen it around the blog a few times ;-) )

The brand is Wrapsody (formerly known as Gypsy Mama), and it's a wrap or "simple piece of cloth (SPOC)" style carrier.

We also have a few other carriers "on loan" from DoulaK - a ring sling, a mei tei and what I call the not-an-Ergo, because it's a cheaper knock-off of the real thing, that she bought on Ebay.

We never actually use any of those, though, because we love the wrap so much.

I might go with the mei tai for back carries as Peeper get bigger, but I would prefer to stick with the wrap, even on my back, though. It looks cuter with her in a little bundle, and I don't know, I guess I'm just very attached to it.

I love everything about babywearing - the convenience (look Mama, no hands!), the cuddliness, and - if the truth be told - the conversations that I get to have when people stop us in the middle of Target or downtown to ask about it.

Every time I see someone pushing a stroller or carring a carseat, I just feel so bad for the parents who are navigating that big old stroller around obstacles, or lugging that heavy seat, and I feel bad for the baby, who's stuck in the seat, all alone.

Speaking of feeling bad - I feel really bad that Anonymama and Anonydaddy paid all that money to get us the "travel system" that we registered for, when we really don't use it.

If I'd known then what I know now, I would've just gone with a convertible carseat - you know, like the one we're going to have to buy within the next couple of months anyway, because she's approaching the weight limit of the infant carseat - and then maybe an umbrella stroller later on.

As Peeper gets bigger and heavier, we might find ourselves using the stroller, but she's pushing eleven months old, and we've used it a grand total of three times - the two train trips to the Children's Hospital and our first plane trip to Texas - and each time, it was just used as a luggage cart, while we carried (the first trip - before we had the wrap) or wore (the other two) Peeper.

Last winter, we did bring her carseat into the house to get her buckled in and bundled up (or out) inside the warm house, and we occassionaly did that elsewhere, too, so I guess it was nice for it to be easily removed from the car.

Other than that, though, I can probably count on one hand the number of times we actually took her in somewhere and kept her in the carseat.

Before we had the wrap (or maybe before we got a second lesson from DoulaK and I actually learned how to use it) I took Peeper to Staples alone, and put her carseat in the basket, and two or three times, we have arrived at a restaurant with her finally asleep, and took her in and let her sleep for a while, but that didn't last long, and as soon as she was awake, we got her out and held or wore her.

Even before we had the wrap, we preferred to just carry her in places in our arms, rather than the carseat, because it was so much heavier than she was.

I did quickly find that even a five pound baby can be uncomfortable to hold for long periods, so when I got the wrap, and was able to strap her onto me and have my hands free, it was just perfect!

When she was tiny, she would usually go right to sleep as soon as I tucked her into the wrap, and even if she was awake, she was almost always content. We could do just about anything with her in there.

As she's gotten bigger, she's still almost always happy if she's being worn. I usually wear her facing outward, so she can see what's going on around her, and she just loves it. She's able to see everything that I see, (and, now, grab for whatever I'm holding!) and loves interacting with the people that I'm talking to.

(Actually, they are usually talking to her, not to me!)

When she's tired, she rides faces in, and can snuggle up and go to sleep. This worked great a couple of days ago, when Shrike took her along on her dogwalk. She was able to sleep sitting up in the moist night air, which was great for her congested little sinuses, and was still snugging with Mommy!

More than once, we've been out and about when she's gotten sleepy and fussy in the middle of a store. I've found a comfortable spot to nurse her (like Target's patio furniture display, or the cafe at our grocery store) to sleep, then tucked her back into the wrap, cuddled against me, and we've finished our shopping.

When the three of us are out together, Shrike is usually the one who wears her. It's great because it gives them one-on-one time, and give me some "alone" time - both of which are rare commodities around here.

Funnily enough, the very first time that Shrike wore her (at Target, naturally), when we'd not had the wrap very long, and we're really used to it yet, we ran into DoulaK while we were shopping! (This is the only time we have ever randomly run into her.) "See!" I said, "We really are using it!"

Sometimes I feel guilty for alway suggesting that Shrike wear her when we're all out together, but then she reminds me how much she loves wearing her, and I just feel silly.

I've talked to lots of people who've said that they had a carrier of some sort (usually a ring sling or a front pack, which are the ones that are more readily available from "mainstream" vendors) that they didn't like, or it wasn't comfortable, or it didn't work after the baby got past fifteen pounds, or whatever, which is really a shame.

I think so many more people would be wearing their babies if they had access to a wider variety of good, comfortable carriers, and if they tried a few to find the one that works for them.

We were very lucky to have our own personal babywearing coach, and to find a carrier that we liked so quickly. If I'd started with a ring sling and no hands-on guidance, I would've given up on it immediately.

(The ring sling looks very simple and easy, but I am evidently much to stupid to use one. DoulaK has tried to show me several times and I just can't get the hang of it. Many people love them, though.)

The wrap, especially, is something that most people have never seen, so it gets a lot of attention which, honestly, I love.

I think we get a little less attention how that Peeper's being carried in a position that's similar to other carriers, but when she was just a little teeny face peeking out of this blob on my front, there were lots of, "Is that a baby in there?!" comments.

I actually carry a stack of DoulaK's business cards in my wallet, and anytime someone asks about it, I say, "If you're interested in getting one, I can tell you where. . . ."

Before Peeper was born, there were some things, like breastfeeding and cosleeping, that we definitely planned on doing, but babywearing is one that has snuck up on us.

I thought we'd probably want a carrier to use occassionally, but I never dreamed that we'd be wearing her exclusively, that we'd all enjoy it so much, or that I would become so evangelical about it.


  1. I had a Snugli bag for my first child, which I liked very much, but it had an unfortunate accident in the washer. Somehow one of the straps got wrapped around the washer's agitator, so tightly that it was impossible to remove it although we tried for an hour to dislodge it. Short of taking the washer apart, our only other alternative was...a sharp pair of scissors. Off came the strap, and the Snugli was a write-off. Too bad, because it soothed the baby like nothing else, and my hand were free to do mommy stuff.

  2. I wore both my kids until they were 18 months old. At that age each one decided walking would be more fun. Although I had a stroller I barely ever used it. The sling though I used constantly.

  3. I love our mayawrap (a ringsling) and ergobaby. The mayawrap was great when Alice was teeny-tiny. I was able to hop on the subway and go into the city to run errands, etc. When she got bigger, we switched to the ergo and that was great, too. We live in a very walkable neighborhood, though, so we use our stroller a lot! Alice also prefers the stroller now, though I still use the ergo if she falls asleep in the car on our way somewhere like the grocery store and I don't want to wake her up.

  4. We get lots of attention when we wear McBean in his wrap too (it's just like yours though we just bought a length of cloth to use). I love it and very rarely use a stroller (though lazyboo does a little more often). We also bought a pram that we've barely used.
    I think Peeper must be a bit smaller than McBean as we've been liking it less of late. As he's got bigger, we've found that the front wrap cross (which seems to be what you're using in the photos) has got a lot less comfortable. So I did some research and found a new way to tie the wrap on the hip that seems much better - easier to tie, more comfortable for me and gives him more freedom to move and look around. And when he falls asleep, I can pull the cloth up over him and he's completely supported. It's renewed my enthusiasm for babywearing! If you're interested, instructions are here:
    Oh and I really want an Ergo - do you like that one?

  5. I LOVE my Ergo. I've never seen a knock-off Ergo so I can't tell you what the difference is but I've never had back pain and Alice always sleeps in it.


What say you?