Saturday, November 15, 2008

Guest Post: My Babywearing Journey

This is by Kim at PraireMama. It's fun when I run into a blogger that I have a lot in common with. With Kim, it's babywearing, homebirthing, knitting and living in Utah. :)

My babywearing journey started a little over 8 years ago.

When my sister-in-law had her 6th baby in 2000, she got this thing. It was some fabric with rings attached and she told me that it was going to be SO great for carrying her baby and getting things done around the house. I was a bit skeptical, but thought it looked kind of cool. I learned that this thing was in fact, a Maya Wrap. She used it a lot, and seemed to like it. So, 2 years later, when I got pregnant with my oldest, and she was done having children (so she thought), she gifted the Maya Wrap to me.

My first baby was born via c-section -- little sucker was footling breech and refused to move-- so I didn't have the mobility that I had hoped to have after her birth. I was amazed at how nice the sling was! I would wear her in it constantly. When she was about 2 months old I finally got wise and stopped taking her carseat into the store with me. For some reason, everytime I got into the store, she would start shrieking. She may have been asleep in the car, and on the way into the store, but we would start walking and BOOM! Wide awake and MAD as all get out. Surely, it is just my child who does that, right? No?? Ok, so then we ALL need slings! I would take her out of her carseat (leave that bucket in the car, imagine that!) and pop her in the sling. She'd sleep through the store and be happy as can be!

As she grew, so did our babywearing. I learned how to nurse her in it, wear her on my side, my back and how to switch positions when she fell asleep or woke up. It was great!

In August of 2003, I found out about the Ergo Baby Carrier. This was a new company that was making a backpack, but that was SOFT and with buckles! I was so excited. My Mom bought it for me as an early (very early) Christmas present. We used it a few times, going to the mailbox or what have you, before our sweet girl died very suddenly.

After her death, I packed away all of my babywearing gear, hoping to be able to use it again someday. Well, one month later, I found out I was pregnant again.

I was ready for this new baby. I had my babywearing gear, and I was happy that I would get to use it again. Well, my sister-in-law -- remember her? She was done?? -- found out she was pregnant a couple months after I did. So...she wanted her Maya Wrap back! AAAHHHH The HUMANITY! I was kind of attached to that wrap, as it was last worn by me with my sweet girl in it, so she let me buy her a new one.

Let me tell you, the two of us were H-O-T HOT wearing our babies! My son was born in June and her daughter in August. When she went into labor in the middle of the night, my baby boy slept peacefully in the sling as I assisted her. She wore her baby around the house for the next 8 days, and then that sweet girl was life flighted to Primary Children's Medical Center and diagnosed with 7 different heart defects. For the next month, that sweet girl was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, her life hanging in the balance. When she was finally able to go home, she was very prone to illness, and any illness could kill her. So, she was always in the sling. If her Mother ventured out, it was with the sweet girl in the sling.

During the last 4 years (and 3 children), I have found many different ways to wear my baby. Whether in a ring sling or pouch sling, a wrap or the Ergo, I love wearing my babies. When my 3rd child was born, my son was 2 years old. It was so nice to have my hands free when he needed me. I have been able to still lift my older child when the baby is in the sling, giving them both the love and cuddles that they need. It keeps my hands free to grab that sweet child that is running for the street. It also frees up my grocery cart for important things, like groceries!

This last May, my Grandmother died. I was 6 months pregnant and had an almost 2 year old little girl. She and I traveled to Nebraska for my Grandma's funeral. My sweet girl didn't know anyone very well, so when it was time for myself and my siblings and 2 cousins to be pall bearers, there was my big girl in the sling helping Mama.

Now that I have 3 children, ages 4, 2, and 2 months, babywearing has taken on a whole new meaning to me. I don't go anywhere without my sling or wrap. My baby girl is always in one of them when we're out of the house. She sleeps and I can take care of whatever needs to be done.

This week, we've all read a lot on blogs about different ways to wear your baby, and different reasons why. I'll tell you what I've learned in the last 8 years of babywearing. Wearing your baby is vital. It lets them know you are there. It helps them to develop a better sense of attachment to Mom and Dad. They feel free to explore the world, knowing that Mom or Dad are ready for them with the comfort of the sling. It is so nice to be able to get things done, even if you have a fussy baby.

The sling saves my life daily; as I cook, clean, take care of my older children, shop, knit and even sew more slings!!!

Go - find your own reasons why you love your sling or wrap or whatever you use. Experience the joy of hands free parenting, with your little one's head close enough to smell and kiss. Kiss that head, smell that baby, and experience the bliss that comes from babywearing.

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