Babywearing is one of the oldest modes of caring for one’s child. Like breastfeeding, eating organic and buying local, babywearing has been having a comeback in the last few decades, and is now thriving. In the United States there is a growing culture and community promoting the benefits of wearing your children. There are many local babywearing groups (like BWI of Greater Burlington) and online resources to get more information.
I am no expert, in fact until recently I have felt extremely inept.
My baby registry listed a black Moby. I didn’t really understand what the Moby was, I just knew that others were putting it on their lists. During my birthing class we were given the opportunity to bring in our “baby carriers” to get help on using them. My husband and I almost brought in our “baby carrier,” aka our infant car seat. It was during this class I learned there was something called an Ergo, or an “er-what?”
After Caroline was born I wore her using the Moby a few times in public at my lactation consultant’s recommendation. I felt good about it, but did not truly understand the benefits of wearing. Looking back, I would have been able to do so much more during the day if I had worn Caroline at home. Now that makes common sense, then it was a novel idea.
Fast forward a couple of months and another mama in a playgroup mentioned that there was a local babywearing group that met once a month. I went to one of their meetings with my mother-in-law and my eyes were opened to all of the different options available: stretchy wraps, wraps (linen, cotton, wool, bamboo, etc), soft structured carriers, slings, ring slings, mei tais, and I’m sure so many more. I also became very overwhelmed. When asking what carrier would be right for me, I was not given much guidance, and was just told that it depends on a lot of things… I walked out thinking, “someone please just tell me what to get!”
After doing a lot of research online I ended up getting a ring sling and Boba SSC (soft structured carrier). Why these two?
I followed my intuition and got what felt right for me and Caroline.
The ring sling is perfect for when I don’t need to hold her long, but want my arms free. I am able to wear her like a kangaroo so that she can be forward facing, which she loves and prefers. I’m also able to carry her on my hip, which allows her to see out easier. I now use our ring sling almost every day. Our dog gets so excited when he sees me pull it out because he knows it means we are going out in the backyard to play fetch. If I did not wear Caroline, I do not know how I would be able to keep Caroline safe and get our pup’s energy out. Believe me the days would feel soooo long if Copper didn’t get his energy out.
The Boba has been my go to carrier for when I needed to carry Caroline for longer periods. It was perfect for when she was little because it had an infant insert. The Boba has been great because it distributes Caroline’s weight across both my shoulders evenly. It was also the only way I could get her to go to sleep when we were out, like at the beach. My baby girl lived on a yoga ball when she was really little, and having her in a SSC allows me to walk and bounce with her and then hold her securely against my body when she is asleep.
In addition to the Boba I ended up getting a Bitybean carrier, which is also a SSC. This is my carrier to have in the car at all times, because it’s so light and compact. It is also really great in the summer, because Caroline doesn’t get nearly as hot. And I love it because it’s made in VT.
I recently sold my Boba and am upgrading to the Kinderpack (KP). A handmade SSC in the USA that are sought after because of their comfort level, the deep seat for baby that can be achieved, and beautiful prints. How do I know that I have been converted to loving babywearing? Because I am beyond excited (it’s annoying the heck out of my husband) right now knowing that my KP is in the mail as we speak.
Over time I have found that I now reach for one of my carriers over using a stroller, which just seem cumbersome and bulky. I do believe I have a balance of wanting to carry Caroline and knowing what she needs in the moment. I know some mamas wear their babies no matter what, but that would not work for Caroline. She is such a mover and a shaker and likes to exert her independence. If she is sleeping in her carseat I’ll click her in the stroller or if she really does not want to be in a carrier, then I carry her in my arms.
Carriers have helped me connect more with Caroline, meet her needs, and still feel like I can get things done. If you were at our Family Fun Day in August you may have seen me serving your food while Caroline was sleeping against my chest in the Boba.
I haven’t made the leap to trying to wrap Caroline, that is still an area that slightly overwhelms me. The sizes, the wraps, the types… I’m also afraid I might get hooked and then develop the need to have a stash (like many other mamas), which would just get too expensive. I do wish I had a close friend that wrapped that could walk me through it and help me understand.
For the future, carrying makes me believe having a second child is possible. I have visions of having a newborn in a carrier while chasing after a preschool version of Caroline.
Carrying makes me feel like I could be invincible or super mom!
Do you carry? If so, what your carrier of choice?
[…] did however know most of my friends had registered for a Moby and Bjorn so it just seemed like what you do. I didn’t really know the world of babywearing […]
I started with the boba wrap after doing some internet research. It seemed an inexpensive and comfortable way to start baby wearing. I had watched a video on you tube that made me feel comfortable about how to use it. Using the wrap feels softer and more natural than other carriers. When you walk, the wrap gives a bit so it feels a bit bouncy or swingy. I imagine it feels similar to the womb for the baby.
We bought an ergo carrier because my husband felt it was something he would be more likely to use. We both love it. It seems very secure and is comfortable to wear.
I remember you from playgroup! (The yoga ball bouncing stuck in my head). So glad you’re embracing babywearing! I too started with Moby and Ergo and in a matter of months I have tried ring slings, SSCs, woven wraps of multiple sizes and mei tais. It really is a journey, so don’t be deterred by the “it depends on what you like” statement – it’s true. And it depends on your mood and the nature of your wearing for the day – quick errands vs. extended wearing. Don’t be afraid of wrapping – the fabrics are so beautiful and soften deliciously when broken in. For me, a woven holds her close in a way that makes me feel like I’m still carrying her on the inside. When we outgrow wearing, I can have a lovey made for her. It’s truly special. That’s a feeling I can’t duplicate with a SSC and buckles. However, I just got a Kinderpack and it’s great! Enjoy yours and in the end it doesn’t matter how you wear. Wear all the babies!!
Great article! I read it while my 5 month old slept in the moby! We are going through a phase where naps are in the Moby only. I was a stroller fan with my first one, but with my second I was open to more options. I’m obsessed! I am flying back west for thanksgiving and I seriously thing the carrier will help on the flight.
I love baby wearing! All shapes and sizes. It helps me to get things done on a daily basis and I feel it has bonded my daughter in a way would not have been without those close loving snuggles. I own several different carriers. It really is a community… Ask any baby wearing mom for opinions or advise and you usually get it with a smile. We are all in this together, the parenting thing. In my book anything to make it easier is a win! I just went to the BWI of Greater Burlington meeting today and it is always awesome. Lots of help and just plain fun. The leaders are the best.
You do have a friend who wraps – almost any of the moms in the Babywearing International of Greater Burlington (they also have an extensive lending library of slings, wraps and various soft structured carriers – free to members, $10 for others)! They meet the second Saturday of every month from 10-12 at North Country Federal Credit Union on Swift Street in South Burlington, with the first hour being a demo or topic of interest and the second hour is time to try out the various options for yourself, get help and advice from the leaders or other moms, and gain confidence. It can be a little overwhelming, as the group is getting larger and there are so many options to consider, but if you need help choosing or using a babywearing device, there’s no better group. Check them out at http://www.bwiofgreaterburlington.com or on Facebook or Twitter. They’re here to help! Tell them Liz sent you. 🙂
Wearing my baby is a huge part of my day-to-day life and routine. I agree and believe baby wearing is one way to foster attachment parenting. I have several different carriers for different purposes. One of Fiona’s favorite is the Bjorn. She loves facing out while watching me cook. We make elaborate dishes, and I talk her though what I am making. It’s an activity I look forward to every day!
While I was working in Bali, babies do not touch the ground for the first 6 weeks of life. Babies are held or worn. Baby wearing crosses many cultures!
Oh I’m definitely doing this if we have a second. I gave up on carrying way too early. Ellie would have loved one of the SCC ones I think!! The pictures alone are worth it! Lol! You and Caroline are just precious out and about together!