Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's not just slippers. I'm also addicted to baby carriers

I have a problem. And this week, being International Babywearing Week, is probably a good time to face up to it. I think I'm a sling addict. Just something else to add to my embarrassing slipper addiction.
Babywearing was one of the practices I most looked forward to while pregnant. Though I initially didn't know it had its own name. I thought it was just having your baby snuggled into you while you were also able to go about various jobs. 
By the time my baby was born I had three baby carriers. That number reached four when she was a few months old. 


Some of our early babywearing occasions.

I really wanted one of the fabric, wrap style ones, and my lovely grandfather bought us one as our 'you're having a baby' present. But I'd also heard Baby Bjorns were well liked, so when I saw a local mother was selling a second hand one in good condition I snapped it up. And finally, there was a pouch style one available with some other pre-loved baby gear I was buying so I figured I may as well have it too. I drew the line there. 
The wrap and pouch would be for home, and the less fiddly Baby Bjorn would stay in the car and be used on town trips. "No more" I told myself. 
Until using something as simple as the pouch proved to be beyond my powers of co-ordination, and the wrap too fiddly in some situations. That fecker takes a LONG time to get on when you've a baby yelling in your ear hole. When a simple clip-on carrier came up for sale for 10 bucks I thought 'there's my solution!' and added it to my collection.


Some more recent rides in the Hugabub, one of which 
involved a short nap (centre).

But for all my enthusiasm and preparation our babywearing experiences have been a bit hit and miss. 
When I was researching what carriers to buy, I read a lot of information advertising about how happy and comfortable babies were in slings, and how mothers likewise appreciated the comfort and convenience of babywearing. 
Yet many of the mothers I came across selling their carriers said their bubs hated being in them. "That's weird," I thought. "These 'experts' say babies love it. Oh well, I'm sure my baby will be more than happy strapped to chest for several hours a day."
So imagine my surprise when said baby did not in fact beam up at me with rapturous smiles and/or quickly drop off to contented sleep upon being placed into any of our slings. Many times she was lifted back out and the thing torn off just as quickly as I'd put her in it. Fancy mothers knowing more than marketers!
Thankfully, this was not always her response. It may be that I learned when she was going to like being worn and when she wasn't, but she does generally enjoy time in the Hugabub and often nods off. And unless she is hungry, or too warm, the Baby Bjorn is a hit while we're shopping. The other two slings have also come in handy several times. 
As for myself, I enjoy having her snuggled against me. Though I'd need my arms to grow roughly a foot each for me to find the experience as easy and comfortable as I had hoped to. 
I feel very traditional and Mother Earth-like, even, trotting down the street with my baby upon my chest rather than labouring behind a wheeled monstrosity that looks and handles more like a Hummer than a pram. (Though of course I do have a pram, and am not afraid to wield it when the occasion warrants it.)
One thing I've noticed is that everyone else loves seeing babies carted about in slings. We attract lots of smiles and friendly little chats. My favourite was with an elderly lady who said she used one with her son - a son who is now 60. Their carrier had a little seat in it and with him safely tucked in she'd get on her push bike and they'd have a merry time riding about town. 

Paul had more success with the pouch-style one.

What about you? Are you a fan of babywearing? Was/is your baby?

1 comment:

  1. I've got a baby Bjorn carrier which I've found great when I'm out. Amelia only likes it if I'm actually moving around though, if Im standing around she gets unsettled.
    I've thought about getting a wrap or sling for at home but money's tight and I worry about her not liking it.
    I've always wondered how easy or hard the wraps were, I have enough trouble with the Bjorn when Amelia is crying.


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