Guest blog post written by Lisa R.
Years ago before I had even fallen pregnant I remember dreaming about being a Mum and certain things I would do raising my child. Oh how things changed very quickly when I did become pregnant and started to read and research things in depth. I changed my views and ideas in regards to many subjects but one thing I never looked into was babywearing. Actually I didn’t know that babywearing was even a ‘thing’. While pregnant I was handed down a carrier and pocket sling and thought that would do, one thing to check off my list. I spontaneously went into labour the day I turned 23 weeks gestation. My son Wynter was born 3 days later and that started another journey filled with more reading and research for me, now into premature newborns. I soon discovered the importance of kangaroo care, bonding and keeping baby close. There were so many benefits for my son as well as for me to keep up my milk supply.
Naturally we want to be close to our babies but it can prove difficult in a NICU scenario when our babies might be too sick or weak to even be moved. Any pregnant woman that gives birth and has to face the gut wrenching reality of leaving the hospital without their baby knows all too well how precious those cuddles are when they do happen.
So fast forward a 117 day hospital stay for my gorgeous boy and I am home with a tiny baby. I can have cuddles all the time. Now how do I get things done around the house? I hated putting him down. We wanted to spend time as a family out and about now we were free from the hospital too. We used our pocket sling and front pack carrier a few times but found them pretty uncomfortable and bub seemed a little squished.
Thank goodness my sister who had just had a baby 4 weeks before I had started to look into the world of babywearing a few months later. Initially I was put off by the term Babywearing. I honestly didn’t like the sound of it but I could not deny the generous community and joy of carrying my son around in an optimal carrier. Wynter was around 10 months old at this time and keeping him close for breastfeeding and to be hands free to get the cooking, cleaning and shopping done was a god sent. It’s the ultimate form of multi-tasking which we as women are so good at because we have to be!
If you think you would like to carry your child but don’t know where to start the best resources are online. Websites based in Perth such as www.carrymybaby.com.au and www.karritreelane.com Perthbabywearers (facebook group) and BabywearingWA (facebook page) are all great resources that are a wealth of local information from experts, vendors and babywearing mums. Don’t be put off by the lingo and abbreviations (I thought I was reading a second language when I first started looking) everyone is willing to help you find the best carrier for your family. Then the next thing to do is to go to a meet in your local area. They are held most weeks around Perth and surrounds and are wonderful to get some advice and try different types of carriers. As long as you know about the TICKS guidelines to safe babywearing now is the fun job of choosing a carrier. The main type’s are-
1) SSC Soft Structured Carrier- Brands include Manduca, Tula and Ergo. These are buckle style and favoured by dads too. Easy to use from newborn through to toddlerhood. This is my go to carrier for quick trips.
2) Ring slings- Different to pocket slings these are easier to adjust. Nice and soft they sit over one shoulder and bub is positioned upright. Some brands include Sakura Bloom and Maya Wraps.
3) Stretchy wraps- This is a very long piece of fabric that you can wrap around your body and baby. Stretchy wraps are made of a stretch jersey usually and are great for newborns and babies till around 5 months old. Unfortunately you can’t back carry in a stretchy wrap. Brands include Boba, Moby and Hug-a-bub.
4) Woven Wraps- These are same as above but the fabric has been woven on a loom, it’s a little thicker and heavier duty so it can carry newborns to toddlers. There are so many ways to use the long piece of fabric in many different carry’s. The advantage is that the fabric can be very pretty and you can adjust it to your body for comfort. You can also back carry with a woven wrap. The disadvantage is it does take practice especially with back carries to master getting your child into the right position. It is so satisfying when you get it right though. Brands include Natibaby, Didymos, and Kokadi.
5) Mei Tai’s- These are a panel of fabric that sits over babies body and long wrap straps that wrap around you. Brands include Girasol and Babyhawk. These are from newborn to toddler too.
Now Wynter is 2.5 years old I still occasionally carry him on my back but he is very independent and wants to run around like most kids his age and I’m fine with that. If I am blessed enough I look forward to carrying my next baby in my baby wrap collection. You can buy carriers to use up till pre-school age though which can come in handy for traveling and around busy roads, car parks and shops.
This is just a start to the pile of information out there so I encourage you to look into the world of babywearing. Hope you will enjoy holding your precious babies close.
If you've enjoyed babywearing with your child please leave a comment to let us know which carrier you preferred.