I don’t wear my babies anymore. I often miss it, although I cherish the memories I have with my little ones tied on to me. I wore my youngest until I physically could not wear her any longer, and even now at age seven, she would want to go in my Amauti if I let her. I run a dayhome for my day job, and I am blessed with the sweetest little toddler that loves to be worn. Yesssss… I can still wear babies. And any of my friends that come over will no doubt hear me say at least once, “I can wear your baby”. I love it, okay?
I am pretty passionate about babywearing for numerous reasons. With my third baby, I was determined to figure out this whole “calm baby” thing that I had heard of, yet never really experienced myself. I needed a calm baby, because I was already at the edge of losing my sanity. I love my older two immensely, but I also found them extremely challenging. I spent so much time researching, and a common theme I came across was that a worn or carried baby cries less. SOLD.
All I cared about at the time was my baby’s temperament, but some other amazing things came with babywearing! For instance, the baby’s heart rate, temperature and breathing synchronizes with mamas while being worn, helping the baby to get used to this out of womb business. Dr. Nils Bergman does extensive research on how skin to skin contact dramatically improves the health of premature babies, even more so than an incubator. On a somewhat side note, Dr. Bergman’s research on Kangaroo MotherCare is what inspired a friend and I to book him as a keynote speaker at a conference we hosted. He is brilliant, and if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, definitely take it. But listen carefully, he talks very fast.
Once I decided that I was going to babywear my baby, I purchased a fleece pouch made by Hotslings. I had him in there from day 1 and he loved it! I would snuggle him on my chest and then slide him to my back when I needed to do something, trusting the way I could feel him resting on my back, and never worrying about any sort of mishap. I know that if anyone ever saw me wearing him the way I did then now, I would likely be the topic on a very busy babywearing forum. But I stand by my methods of wearing, as I was so in tune with my baby and his safety. This was also before people could social police the use of baby carriers, because frankly, there were none around. I didn’t know anyone who wore their baby the way I did. I am not referencing the Bjorn style carriers, I used those with my first two babies, and they were pretty common.
This was the original pouch that I used from newborn in to toddlerhood. Wait! Gasp! A baby on my back in a pouch?! Oh the horror. Yes I did that.
I also did this (well, with my fourth):
My baby spent plenty of time in the pouch, but I continued to research carriers. The next carrier he was worn in was a Mei Tai. A Mei Tai is a traditional Chinese carrier that is used to tie the baby on to you. It has a body panel and two straps that tie around your waist and 2 straps that go over your shoulders, weave through the baby’s legs and tie off at your waist (depending on carry). After the first 2 initial purchases of carriers I may or may not have gone a little crazy with the carrier stash building. I proceeded to buy an Ergo, a few more pouches, a ring sling, a water pouch and a Didymos wrap. It was around that point I started EcoBaby Canada (my brainchild that I shut down in 2013). It seemed like the right thing to do. 🙂
The idea of a happy baby when worn was so appealing that I invested my whole life to it. I wore that child everywhere, and you will never guess what. He was happy. He was gentle and calm. And our breastfeeding relationship was amazing, I noticed every little cue he gave and managed to feed him before he lost his little mind. I absolutely loved having him close enough that I could smell that sweet newborn smell and kiss the top of his head at any given moment. Now, I understand that babywearing does not necessarily equal a happy baby, but I know for certain that it (among many other factors) contributed to the happiness of my baby. And thus, contributed to my happiness.
This was the first carry we did with the Didymos wrap. At that time, there were no local distributors, so I learned from a book, and ordered this beauty before ever even seeing a wrap.
I co-founded the “Bridge City Slingers” – the Lethbridge Babywearing Group while expecting my fourth in 2007. I still miss that group greatly. I have moved on to co-lead the Babywearing Calgary group, and I love it here, but I think I will always miss my original group. With that said, you should see the Babywearing Calgary lending library, it’s nuts!
Sometimes I put my littlest biggie on my back just to test a wrap out.
So that is my history with babywearing, and what led me to be as passionate as I am about it. It really saved my life, and I can’t imagine what life would have looked like without my babies tied to me.
I am still involved in the babywearing world, as a co-leader with Babywearing Calgary, helping doula clients, and also while working at Babes in Arms. I love seeing parents have that Ah-Ha moment when they get their baby snuggled in on their chest and watch him/her drift off to sleep. I also love reassuring the parents who have a baby that screams every time they go in a carrier, and helping them troubleshoot and figure out what needs to be tweaked to make baby more comfortable and happy. All in all, I love everything about babywearing and I have dedicated a good portion of my life to researching it, learning it, practicing it, and teaching it. I am so thankful that even though my youngest is too big to wear, I can still help others, and wear my lovely dayhome baby. So even though I may not have a baby of my own to wear, I can wear your baby… or even better, teach you how to wear your baby.