My babywearing journey began while hiking with friends at Enchanted Rock State Park in Texas. My friend Melissa cheerfully loaned me her eight month old son, and her Baby Bjorn carrier. Our group hiked up inclines and down rocky creek beds for hours. That day, I fell in love with babywearing. Carrying a baby in a place no stroller could go, was thrilling. By the end of the day, I also decided never to own a Bjorn. The ache in my shoulders and back from that particular carrier was not something I wanted to repeat.
Years later, my husband and I welcomed our first son. During my pregnancy, I proudly purchased a Moby Wrap and an Ergo Baby buckle carrier from Craigslist. I was going to be such a cool mom wearing my baby! Ha.
My amazing baby was the child who refused to be put down. He cried in a co-sleeper, crib, bouncer, boppy, regular swing, cradle swing, bassinet, stroller, and car seat. He was happy nursing, or happy in my arms. The baby carrier soothed him, but I was nervous I could wear him “too much.” What if he was five years old and forty pounds, and still needed me to wear him all day?! But he didn’t give me a choice. If I was going to get the laundry done, or get him to nap, the Ergo Baby it was. Soon I was wearing him almost all day. His crying ceased, and I found my sanity.
Since I wore him through all his naps, and the better of part of my day, I needed a carrier that really functioned for me. The Moby Wrap was too hot and too long. The Ergo Baby fit well, but I grew tired of buckling the clip behind my back between my shoulders. I purchased a Beco Gemini, and later an Olives and Applesauce, both of which I loved.
As he grew, I continued wearing him. It made him happy, and it allowed me to get things done around the house.
My worries about too much babywearing proved unfounded. He learned to nap in a crib. He slept through the night in his own room. He learned to crawl, walk, and talk. Eventually, I didn’t need to wear him all day.
As he grew, I learned more about his personality and needs. He was (and is) extremely affectionate. Attention from those closest to him (parents, aunts, grandparents), is deeply meaningful. He never wants to be alone. A close, connected relationship is his deepest need. Security and safety are also deep needs.
When I understood these things about him, I realized this incredible thing. Every time I wore that baby who cried when I put him down, I had been meeting his deepest needs.
When he was fourteen months old, a friend introduced me to wrapping, and the wide world of Facebook baby carrier swaps. I began buying and selling carriers, searching for a better fit for us, and enjoying the beauty and versatility.
By the time my second son arrived, my firstborn was almost three. I had amassed a small collection of carriers. My husband and I had our own separate carriers that fit us well. I was excited to try all sorts of things with a newborn, that I didn’t know existed with my firstborn.
My second baby’s needs and preferences were different than my first, as I expected. He was more independent, and didn’t need to be worn constantly. However, he had difficulty nursing, and would rarely nurse to sleep. He would finish nursing, then cry because he was still tired. I put him in a carrier and bounced him to sleep, then transferred him to his crib for naps and bedtime.
Some of his greatest needs are to be accepted, and to participate in what is happening. Babywearing was a way to keep him happy, and to help me get things done, especially since I had another child to care for.
Babywearing has been a gift for me and my children. It provides us with cuddles and connection, easy and peaceful sleep, hundreds of baskets of folded laundry, days with cooked meals, and more.
Parenting will never be a carefree journey! But a happy, carefree baby – that is possible. And a relieved parent with two free hands – that is possible too! These are the joys I hope to help other caregivers find, through this website.
Happy Carefree Babywearing!