>Babywearing As a Way of Life

>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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I first heard of babywearing back in 2005. Kiah was 8 weeks old, and I was exhausted. I called my midwife and told her how she wanted to be held all the time, and I couldn’t get anything done. she suggested that I wear her on me when we weren’t playing or nursing. That’s where it all began. Only I didn’t know about all of the fabulous carriers they have now.

Babywearing is more than wearing my kids on me so I can get things done around the house, or fit groceries into my cart.
 

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Ava at 15months in a Didymos Eva shorty.

For me babywearing is another way to bond with my baby. I started wearing Kiah around 8 weeks old in the Evenflo front pack.  Ava was 6 weeks old, and started with Samuel at 4 days old.
I’ve owned, sold, traded, and borrowed so many wraps over the years. I now have 3 wraps and one Napsack that will never leave this house.
They are carriers that I will pass down to my children so they can wear their children.

Did you know that babies who are worn cry less? Notice I said less, not never. Where would you rather be after nine months in the womb, a vibrating chair, or in mom and dads arms?
You can wear your baby skin to skin in those first few days and weeks. It helps keep baby warm and allows for easy access nursing.
As baby gets older they see the world from your point of view, not only from the floor or the carseat.
Babywearing also promotes growth.
Preemies can be worn and you can do what is called Kangaroo Care.
Babies who are worn are very alert. They are very in tune with their surroundings.

I can also nurse hands free in my wraps, and no one can tell what I’m doing.
If Samuel gets over stimulated or someone is in his face and he doesn’t want to be bothered, he can simply turn his  face towards me and “hide” in the wrap. It’s great for keeping well meaning strangers away.

Babywearing feels so natural to me. It would be hard for me to get along with three kids with out a carrier.
People think I’m from Africa and that’s why I do it. True, they do wear their children in Africa, but the entire culture there is different. They also see no problem with co-sleeping, breastfeeding, etc…that’s a whole different post.

When you wear your baby, you learn their cries and cues quickly. You’re also able to go about your day. The baby is able to pick up on your emotions and body language. They are always close to your heartbeat when sleeping and that reminds them of being in the womb. They constantly hear your voice and smell you.

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Samuel in a long Didymos Eva at 4 days old.

If you have more than one child, babywearing allows you to parent your other children hands free. After Ava was born and I found the Moby, I would wrap her in it and sit in the floor to play or read with Kiah. I’ve done the same thing this time around with Samuel. I’m able to take care of the girls’ needs while taking care of Samuel’s needs as well. Now that’s multitasking!

Woven wraps are my favorite. They are so versatile. They can be worn several ways for added support for mama and baby. You can use them as blankets, a scarf, a hammock or a swing.

I’m free to cook, play with the girls, grocery shop, go for walks, do housework, and so many other things while wearing Samuel.
For those times when he’s sick…..I feel bad for him because he feels so awful, but I love the extra snuggles in the wrap.
He usually nurses to sleep at night, but lately I’ve had to pop him in one of the wraps and pace the floor listening to music while he looks around and finally nods off to dream land.

Nursing Samuel while we play at the park in Miami Hoppediz.

Another misconception is that you can only wear smaller babies. This is not true. I wore Kiah several times when she was around 3yrs old. Ava was worn until she was well over 2.5yrs and I’m sure Samuel will be too. The world can be a scary place for toddlers at times. It’s comforting for them to know they can be carried on mom or dad as well.
Just like breastfeeding can offer comfort to a tantruming toddler, so can babywearing.
Rest assured that you can wear your baby up to 35lbs.

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Ava at 18 months in a borrowed Dolcino Male.
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Samuel at 4 months in Didymos Colorgrown Waves

Outings are so much easier. Most of the time I don’t have to bother with a stroller, we can be in and out of places quickly. You’re free to live life and take care of business as usual all while taking part in the great benefits that babywearing offers.
I’ve heard people say that you will spoil your baby if you wear them constantly. Again, not true. Babies are born to be held and looked after constantly and consistently. That’s part of parenting….being there for your child and responding to his/her needs in a gentle loving way, as quick as possible. Food spoils, babies do not.
Other caregivers can wear your baby as well. Grandma, grandpa, aunties, uncles, siblings.
You can wear your baby in the coldest of weather and the warmest. In cold weather I can wear my carrier under my coat and in the summer I use a thinner/shorter wrap.

I also love that Charles wore all of them at some point. He wore Samuel when he was days old. Can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures!
Even though he doesn’t wear them as often as I do they are in his arms alot of the time when he’s home.

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Charles and Ava at 6 months in Ellaroo LaRae.
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Kiah at 3yrs in a dyed Storchenwiege Leo.
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Ava sleeping with a borrowed Chococabana Girasol.

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Babywearing is a way of life for me. As much as breastfeeding, co-sleeping and unschooling. I rarely ever leave the house without a wrap.

I love looking down into my sons face, into those sweet smiling eyes for hours, day after day. He’s always close enough for me to smell his hair, or kiss him on the cheek. He grabs at my face and watches my mouth when I talk.

Another part of the good life.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit 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.
Thank You For Sharing!

26 Comments

  1. >Such a wonderful baby-wearing gallery!! I wear a Mai Tei that I made, but I think some of your other slings look much more comfortable. My shoulders get tired sometimes.I really do love all the pics, though. I scrolled through to see them all before I even read the post!

  2. >The Ergo is actually rated for kids up to 40lbs, and their site says it's been tested for kids up to 90lbs – wow! I don't want to be lugging Kieran around when he's 90 lbs 😉 I *love* babywearing – this is a wonderful, comprehensive post. TY!!

  3. >Love it! Is it just me, or are babywearing dads even better looking than others? :)Can't wait until my DH gets home and can meet our little one and wear him. Too bad the only size 6 wrap I have is a red/green mille…. Guess I should buy a manly size 6. Oh, and I'm glad I'm not the only mama puting my little boy in pinkish wraps. Now I feel better about it. I'm hanging onto my Vat Maruyama.

  4. >I have tried the Ergo once or twice, but the buckle carriers are not for me. One day I wrapped Kiah on my back for kicks. She's over 50lbs now. I was surprised bu how well supported we both felt with the wrap. Most of my friends use the maya wraps, or ergo's though.Charles wore Samuel in my pink/purple wrap those first few weeks. I was totally gushing :)I've always wanted a mille didymos.

  5. >What beautiful babies! I started with a Baby Bjorn (because that's what Babies R Us carried…) and have since graduated to an ergo and a ring sling from etsy in a beautiful print. My son constantly wants to be held, too, though since he started crawling a month ago, now he wants to get down a lot too. I still carry him a lot around the house, since I find it easier to set him down to do stuff, but I was thinking that when I have another child (or more) I'll definitely need to baby wear more!

  6. >Seriously. My husband with my newborn son hanging from his chest in a slink was THE sexiest thing ever. That's a man! I loved my Maya wrap for all of the same reasons you posted. Every participant that writes about a sling is egging on a fourth pregnancy in our family. I miss that sweet warm lump tied to me.

  7. ><3 love this post. Makes my heart yern for another tiny babe wrapped up tight around me. That closeness you talk about … their eyes gazing up at you, their smell a constant throughout the day, the connection that is unmatched. Ahhh, love it! My babes are bigger now, but they were thoroughly worn :-)

  8. >What strikes me most about this post is the photographic evidence of what you're writing! I love the limp-legged relaxation evident in those sleeping babes. They are so content and comfortable! Thanks for sharing your babywearing wisdom.

  9. >It's always so lovely to hear from a fellow baby-carrier addict (and love the photos!). I think my purse addiction morphed into a carrier addiction :)Love this post, and love your blog! So glad to have found it :)

  10. >I'm with you on the awesomeness of babywearing! It's such a huge part of my bond with my son. I may just be a weirdo, but when you're out and about and you see another parent babywearing don't you want to hi-five them? I love seeing a kindred spirit!

  11. >Thank you all!I get so excited seeing other mama's when I'm out and their wearing their babes. It warms my heart. I always give them that knowing smile.I had a Maruyama back in 2008. I would love to have another Vat for this coming summer, or something similar to it.I'm so glad I can share my love of babywearing with others who get it.

  12. >I love your post! I am SO looking forward to babywearing from the start with this newest little one when s/he comes. It really is so cuddly and useful, isn't it? I have to say, your woven wraps are GORGEOUS. I love the bright colors. I think I'm going to have to invest in one!Oh, also — I've recently worn my 42-pound 3-year-old from time to time, so you can keep going if your back can take it. :) I do back carries in a mei tai or Ergo with him.

  13. >Thank you!There is nothing like a newborn baby snuggled in a wrap.I wore both of the girls after 35lbs with my wraps. Especially my Hoppediz and Didymos. Those are awesome supportive wraps. Back carries rock in them.

  14. >What a wonderful post, Darcel. (I'm catching up on your blog and making a bunch of comments tonight). I have an Ergo, but I absolutely love my woven wraps. Your babies look oh so comfy snuggled close to their mama. Your wraps are so pretty and colorful too!

  15. >Thank you!There is nothing like a newborn baby snuggled in a wrap.I wore both of the girls after 35lbs with my wraps. Especially my Hoppediz and Didymos. Those are awesome supportive wraps. Back carries rock in them.

  16. >It's always so lovely to hear from a fellow baby-carrier addict (and love the photos!). I think my purse addiction morphed into a carrier addiction :)Love this post, and love your blog! So glad to have found it :)

  17. >What beautiful photos – thank you for sharing. I sure miss my baby wearing days. My baby is now 9 and although I never admit it to her, it's really hard for me to even pick her up for a cuddle now. So glad you are cherishing these precious times :)

  18. ><3 love this post. Makes my heart yern for another tiny babe wrapped up tight around me. That closeness you talk about … their eyes gazing up at you, their smell a constant throughout the day, the connection that is unmatched. Ahhh, love it! My babes are bigger now, but they were thoroughly worn :-)

  19. >What beautiful babies! I started with a Baby Bjorn (because that's what Babies R Us carried…) and have since graduated to an ergo and a ring sling from etsy in a beautiful print. My son constantly wants to be held, too, though since he started crawling a month ago, now he wants to get down a lot too. I still carry him a lot around the house, since I find it easier to set him down to do stuff, but I was thinking that when I have another child (or more) I'll definitely need to baby wear more!

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