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International Babywearing Week 2016: The Beauty Of Babywearing

I always knew I wanted to babywear. With a giant belly and well into my nesting phase of the pregnancy, I was picking which carriers I wanted for my husband and myself to snuggle the new sweet baby that would be arriving in July of 2013, but we never made it to July as Mr. Do-It- My-Own- Way arrived at the end of June instead. With that began a beautiful, and extremely necessary, babywearing journey.

It was no longer about wanting to babywear just to keep us close; instead, it became about needing to wear a very colicky and upset baby just to sooth him. Our son, who was diagnosed with Milk Protein Intolerance and Acid Reflux, spent the first 6 months of his life in an upright position. He slept in a chair and when he was awake one of us was holding him. As parents know first-hand, holding a baby just in your arms for hours on end is exhausting. Babywearing kept him in the position he so desperately craved leaving my arms free to rest or manage other household tasks that I couldn’t accomplish when I was holding a screaming child. Carrying our son was also one of the ways my thoughtful husband helped me to have a break. Things like more leisurely showers or just a lovely moment of downtime. These days were an intense blur, but babywearing saw us through and gave each of us an even closer bond with our son.

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As our son grew, we needed to learn to carry him on the back to improve our mobility since he was upwards of 20 lbs. A thoughtful friend showed me how to safely transfer our son to my back in the Ergobaby SSC and then I came home and taught my husband. Learning this new skill opened new doors for both of us and renewed my love of babywearing, but even more so renewed my husband’s love for the practice. You see, he has a bad back and just carrying our kids freehanded is very painful for him, but babywearing helps ease that discomfort. Of course, once the child is bigger, moving the weight from his front to his back is a much better alternative. Even with his bad back, babywearing has allowed my husband to keep our children close to him a lot longer than he would’ve been able to otherwise.

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Approaching our son’s second birthday, we were not wearing as often. I feared we had outgrown this relationship, but around that time we got pregnant with our daughter. Our son was not yet weaned and due to breastfeeding discomfort, I found myself needing to night wean him in a hurry. For a child who had nursed to sleep every night since he was born, this was no easy task and just like that babywearing became a necessity again. Two months pregnant, I wore our son on my chest as I paced up and down a dark room while classical music played in the background. I hugged him tight as he cried for milk and braced myself against the pain of what was happening, and when I couldn’t handle anymore my husband was there to sub-in. It was a chaotic time, but my only comfort came from our closeness. It came from babywearing. If not for our Ergo, I could never have held our 25lb child for multiple hours as he struggled and pushed off of me avoiding sleep at all costs if it wasn’t on his terms. Once he would calm down and drift off, I’d gently unbuckle the carrier and lay him down in his bed. It took a week of this, but when he was finally night weaned, we were once again able to cuddle in bed until he fell asleep.

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We do still wear our three year old from time-to- time, my husband more than myself, especially recently as we’ve done some big outings as a family of four, but I now primarily wear our 5 month old daughter. While the circumstances are very different for her, I still find babywearing to be absolutely necessary to my sanity in everyday life. I cannot chase after my toddler, do laundry, prepare meals or handle naps when we’re out and about without it. I started wearing her the week we brought her home from the hospital and haven’t stopped since. I just started wrapping her on my back and the newfound freedom is amazing! We have been able to take her to so many places that I never could have if not for our carriers. For instance our recent trip to Natural Bridge Caverns where we went down into caves 200 feet below the surface and just this past week a 3-mile walk charity walk for the Children’s Miracle Network. Both were incredible experiences for our little family.

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In the three plus years that we’ve been wearing our children, we have owned many types of carriers, but our current stash is made up of a Sakura Bloom Linen Ring Sling, which was baby girl’s very first carrier, our well-loved Ergobaby SSC, a Tuck & Bundle stretchy wrap, a Wrapsody Baby wrap, and a Beachfront Baby Water Ring Sling. Each has a different place and purpose, but when we travel, I have a hard time deciding which ones to leave behind. If any!

Babywearing has been absolutely essential to our family and I couldn’t imagine doing everything we’ve done as parents without it. I look forward to wearing our kids for many, many more years to come and keeping them close just as long as I can!

Happy International Babywearing Week and keep on carrying on, y’all!

About Guest Blogger:  Beth is a SAHM to two beautiful children; one boy, one girl, & a lucky wife to her husband, Eric. When she isn’t breastfeeding, cloth diapering, or potty training, Beth can be found babywearing & going on adventures with her small family. Beth loves supporting small businesses, upcycling, baking breads from scratch, & drinking almond milk lattes.

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