Why I’m a Babywearer

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Multitasking in the Early Days

It’s no secret to those who know me or to followers of this blog that I’m a bit of a babywearing nut. Maybe addict is a better word icon wink Why Im a Babywearer So of course the first thing I recommend to parents-to-be is that they invest in a quality baby carrier. While babywearing fits squarely in the AP principle of “nurturing touch,” I don’t think one has to be an adherent to Attachment Parenting to reap the benefits of babywearing. In the early months especially, babywearing is a fabulous parenting tool that allows mama (or daddy) to nurture and comfort baby while still being able to conquer life – I can’t imagine what parenting would have been like without at least one trusty carrier.

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Daddy Magic

While there are a number of different carrier types that work well for newborns, it might take a bit of trial and error to find what works best for you and your babe.  I started out with an assortment of ring slings, stretchy wraps, and a Babyhawk mei tai; the Babyhawk was the early favorite for the first two months…until I discovered the world of woven wraps.  While finding just the right carrier might take a bit of trial and error (I highly recommend finding a local babywearing group to speed this process along!), it’s worth the effort.

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A View of the World

I think Callum was a relatively easy baby all things considered.  He did wake up a lot and we had a couple of weeks in the early months where “buster fuster” was in full effect, but mostly he was happy and easy going.  He did, however, love to be held – a pretty common thing with the wee ones.  And while I loved to hold him, I also loved being able to use both hands for things like eating or chores that just couldn’t wait.  I also had to return to my “job” as a full time PhD student a few weeks after Callum was born, so there was lots of reading and writing that had to be done.  While I knew that babywearing would be a useful tool, I had no idea just how useful until I discovered how much happier we both were when Callum was snuggled on my chest.  I still fondly remember many a day with a wee Callum napping peacefully under my chin as I read or did other work; nothing like the scent of a baby’s sweet head to inspire you to greatness icon wink Why Im a Babywearer

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Urban Adventures

While the benefits of being able to snuggle baby close are pretty obvious, there are lots of other ways babywearing has been a key tool in my parenting arsenal:

  • Routine tasks like walking 2 very eager 50 pound dogs are much easier when you have both hands free to wrangle leashes.  Added bonus…baby’s weight gives mama’s workout an extra wee boost.
  • In the same way that swaddling is comforting to cranky newborns, wearing helps ease the unavoidable baby fussies.  An upright position that puts slight pressure on the tummy also helps with gas and other tummy troubles that are common in newborns.
  • Babies love motion.  Being worn naturally provides motion as mama or daddy goes about his/her business.  If you have to sit, an exercise ball provides just the right amount of bounce to keep most babies happy.
  • Sometimes babies want/need to be held for long periods of time.  While all that shushing and swaying can give your arms quite the workout, it’s nice to be able to rely on a carrier to take some of the load.
  • A carrier can be a great tool for nursing.  It allows for hands free nursing (especially key if you have other kids to keep up with) and provides instant “coverage” when nursing in public.
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    Big Kid Snuggles

  • Babywearing is a great daddy soothing tool.  Jesse developed quite a knack for getting a cranky Callum to sleep with a magic wrap and some special music.
  • Babywearing makes tricky navigation easier.  I’ve conquered airports and subways among other places with Callum on my back.  It can be quite liberating to be able to go anywhere your feet can take you without having to look for a path for a stroller.
  • Being worn provides a different vantage point for curious babies.  Once Callum “woke up” he wanted to see everything.  A high back carry was perfect for letting him take the world in – and for falling asleep when he’d had quite enough.
  • Toddlers like to go up!  Many kids will go on a “wearing strike” when they learn to walk.  But once they master the skill, they seem to remember how great being in mama’s arms is.  The right carrier can make it much easier to hold a toddler who isn’t quite sure if he wants up or down.  On more than one occasion, a teething or under-the-weather Callum has felt much better after a bit of “up” time.

Over the last two years, wearing Callum has evolved as he has grown and changed.  These days we don’t wear much at all – usually just for our (almost) daily dog walk.  But every once in a while, the afternoon crankies will hit and Callum will bring me a wrap to go “up.”  When newbie arrives in two months, I’ll have the pleasure of starting a babywearing journey all over again.  And I can already imagine that wearing will be even more of a necessity in trying to care for both an active toddler and a wee newborn.  If I’m lucky, I might even get a chance to give tandem wearing a go…stay tuned!

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CNPnaturalparent Why Im a BabywearerVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

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