My mom used a baby carrier when I was an infant. I don’t remember it of course, but I can recall looking at a photo of the two of us, her looking happy with her 1980’s style glasses and teased hair, and a tiny me, only days old, snuggling contentedly inside her front pack carrier. Back in 1982, babywearing mamas didn’t have the abundance of carrier choices that we have today. In fact, only six years ago, when my first child was born, the babywearing market wasn’t nearly as saturated as it is today.
When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, one of the first baby care products I chose to buy was a baby carrier. Not knowing anything about babywearing, I figured a generic front pack carrier with tons of snaps and buckles, bought from a big box store, must be as good, or better than anything else on the market. Boy, was I wrong! That carrier was so uncomfortable–for me and my son both! I could count the times I wore that carrier on one hand, and each time, it seems I spent more time struggling into and out of the carrier than I did actually enjoying wearing my baby. I should have saved the $30 I spent on that carrier!
I also had a closed-tail ring sling with my son, but it wasn’t a whole lot better. It had far too much padding, making it just plain uncomfortable, and I had absolutely no experience with slings, so I didn’t know how to wear my baby correctly, making the sling quite uncomfortable and virtually useless. These two less-than-ideal experiences with babywearing caused me to give up. I figured that babywearing just wasn’t for me.
Fast forward three years, to the time when I was pregnant with my daughter. My son had recently been dealing with health issues, and I was terrified, thinking there was no way I’d be able to take care of two children at once. How would I ever keep up with housework? Would my son feel neglected? What if the baby wouldn’t let me put her down for naps? With these questions, among others, buzzing around in my mind, I looked into babywearing once again. I discovered the wrap-style carrier, and was very intrigued. It looked so comfortable and versatile! The more I looked at this style of carrier, the more I wanted one! Luckily, my birthday was a month before my due date. My mother bought me a wrap for my birthday, effectively starting me on the happier leg of my babywearing journey.
Over and over, after my daughter was born, I thanked my lucky stars for my baby carrier. She was a very intense baby, and although I love her more than life itself, that first six months would have been torture without my baby carrier! She cried more often than she did anything else; I literally feel, to this day, that my baby carrier saved my sanity. My daughter was only happy when she was snuggled close to me, able to listen to my heartbeat, and I was able to spend extra time with my son and get things done around the house, without having to put her down. For the first year of my daughter’s life, I probably wore that wrap carrier for 18 hours a day. She even took naps in it!
After my amazing experience with babywearing, I felt the need to share the wonderful gift that has been passed down from ancient times. A couple of months ago, my article, Babywearing: a Natural Fashion Statement, appeared in Natural Life. During my research for that article, I discovered so much about babywearing, including numerous brands of carriers that I am now in love with. I have become a baby carrier connoisseur, though I no longer even have a child who is young enough to be carried much. I decided to host this Babywearing Bonanza partly to celebrate my articles publication, but mostly to further promote babywearing. If even one parent benefits from my small amount of expertise, or even one mother is persuaded to give babywearing a try, I will feel like I have accomplished my mission.
I have a lot of great stuff in store for my Babywearing Bonanza. I hope you enjoy yourself, and please participate by adding your own babywearing stories below. I’d love to hear them!