Sunday, October 10, 2010

Babywearing: On knowing and growing

In celebration of International Babywearing Week 2010, I'm sharing stories about the many benefits of babywearing.

Wednesday's post celebrated the opportunities and dreams turned into realities that babywearing has afforded my family. Saturday's post celebrated how Colleen's family survived and thrived because of babywearing.

Today, Heather, one of our co-leaders for the Lake County Babywearers, is sharing her babywearing story, which started with knowing which carrier worked best for her family and then resulted in growing into parents who were changed, in part, by babywearing.

On knowing ...

I did not wear our first child very often. I had a Baby Bjorn that I didn't find very comfortable at all. I didn't feel it was as supportive as I would have liked, and it didn't always treat my nursing breasts very kindly.

Our first child was a higher-needs baby and always wanted to be held. He was often cranky, and would not go to sleep easily, and it was a challenge learning how to live with this new little person. Just before our child's first birthday, I tore my ACL in a skiing accident, and had surgery to replace it with donor tendon.

Around the same time, my husband also purchased a frame backpack carrier to use that spring and summer when hiking. He loved the frame carrier, but I found it harder to use, particularly because it kept our son's weight further from my body, even though he was a very thin, light child. Don't get me worked wonderfully for hiking in the mountains and on trips to see the air show downtown so he was high enough to see over the crowds. But it just wasn't a good carrier for me.

When my first child was around a year and a half old and I'd completed much of my physical therapy, I purchased a wonderful ringsling that made parenting a toddler a little easier. I wish I would have found the love of babywearing earlier, as I think it would have made my 6 month surgery to recovery time easier with my child. We primarily used hip carries with him with the ringsling for the next year or so.

And growing
Fast forward a bit... and our second son was born. I received a Moby wrap from my lactation consultant, and my love of babywearing was born. My second son, who is now two, is worn daily.

Babywearing has saved our sanity on more than one occasion. Spending quality time with a two and a half year old was SO MUCH EASIER when the sleeping baby was tucked against my chest. I loved the closeness of having our second son on my chest when he was small, it made everyday responsibilities much easier, from doing housework to taking care of our other child. He was used to the comfort and security of being worn on us, and if he was teething, tired, or sick, overstimulated, or just having a rough day, wearing him has always calmed him down quickly. As he transitioned from a young baby to toddler, he also transitioned from being worn on my front to being worn on my back, or occasionally my hip.

Being put "uppie" as he calls it, has always been a safe place for him; he asks to come "uppie" when he feels tired, overstimulated, or cranky. This has helped us when grocery shopping, going to appointments for our older child, and especially taking our older child to school. On days I wear him, he doesn't frustrate me doing those "normal" toddler activities... running around preschool, trying to free himself to run off when walking to the car, dominating the water fountain and ending up soaking wet twice a day.

We've also worn our children on vacation when hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains, and when traveling around little mountain towns. Trying to travel with strollers would have been very frustrating, and we would have missed out on some great experiences lugging strollers around. I've also felt comfortable discreetly nursing my toddler in public. It's not often you'll see a toddler nursing amid thousands of people like he nursed at the Chicago Marathon. Though to be honest, I don't think anyone even noticed the little boy in the carrier was nursing.

I'm really thankful our family found the art of babywearing; I think it has helped transform my parenting style. And I like the changes I've seen as a result.

{Our group, The Lake County Babywearers, is hosting a huge celebration TODAY here in Lake County, IL in celebration of International Babywearing Week.

Check out our blog for more details. It will be worth you're time as we're raffling off an Action Baby Carrier donated by Heavenly Hold, an Anaju Bamboo Wrap donated by 3Tree Design, a Pikkolo buckle carrier donated by CatBird Baby and a Sakura Bloom ring sling, just to name a few items. And, yes, you can purchase tickets -- 3 for $5 -- if you contact me.}

1 comment:

There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.