My first act of babywearing happened out of pure desperation. My first born was about a week old and I didn’t want to put her down, not even for a second… nor did she want me to put her down… But, my husband had gone back to work, and I was left all alone, starving and thirsty on the couch with a baby glued to my chest. (I know that a lot of people out there reading this can relate)
Before she was born, all I had read on the topic of babywearing was in some stupid book, that mentioned that babies who were carried in a carrier too often were understimulated and spoiled (OMG, stupidest, most untrue thing I’ve ever read). Because of that, I never looked into buying a baby carrier.
Anyway, here I was, with this scrumptious newborn, without my ‘village’, and needing my hands to be free for a second so that I could shovel some food down my throat. I had to do SOMETHING! So, I rummaged through my closet, found a cotton shawl and somehow managed to strap her to me. I made myself a sandwich while she slept on me and damn, did I revel in the fact that I could hold her AND make myself some food!
Enter: Babywearing journey that has lasted the past four years and shows no sign of ending any time soon. I now have more baby wraps and carriers than I can shake a stick at. Some of them I’ve made myself and some I’ve bought. I won’t tell you how many are in my ‘stash‘ or how it all came to be…. but, my name is Kate and I have an addiction… it’s that sort of thing.
Today, I was watching a Do-It-Yourself tutorial on how to make a baby carrier by cutting out three t-shirts. (You can watch the tutorial on Keep Calm and Carry Them’s Facebook page). I left a comment, which was something along the lines of, “this is the coolest damn thing I’ve ever seen“, and then I casually scrolled through the other comments, left by other people. I was shocked to see some people dissing this lady’s tutorial, saying that you shouldn’t do it and that it’s unsafe! It instantly reminded me of the many times, right from the start, that I had been discouraged from wearing my baby! Even after I was a seasoned baby wearer, I still had some well meaning babywearing friends tell me that my do-it-yourself baby wraps were not going to be any good, because they weren’t ‘supportive‘ or may not even be safe. Really?!
Women around the world wear their babies in anything they can get their hands on! Rags, old dresses, animal skins, beach towels, and *if* you’re lucky, you have access to a purpose made baby carrier. ANY BABYWEARING IS BETTER THAN NO BABYWEARING! And, that goes for Baby Bjorns too! Sure, Bjorns are uncomfy as hell for the wearer, and because of their design, could *potentially* ( as in maaaaybe), cause hip problems if your baby was being worn for hours on end and already had a pre-disposition to having hip displaysia… but I think cases of that are extremely rare. Some people have forgotten that the number one thing is to just wear your baby. ‘What‘ you wear your baby is really secondary in the whole scheme of things.
Babywearing is cuddles. It’s hands free. It’s sanity saving and sometimes actually life saving! I’m not even joking, we’re talking LIFE SAVING!!!
If I do see someone wearing a baby in a truly unsafe manner (I’ve seen it sometimes with newborns in pouches, dangling by the mother’s waist), I cautiously ask them if their carrier is comfortable and then go from there. But really, whenever I see anyone wearing a baby, no matter in what or how, I’m sure to give them a smile. Although it’s re-gaining its popularity, babywearing is not the ‘norm‘ in our society, so people need to be encouraged and informed and made to feel like what they are doing is awesome… because IT IS!
For a few simple safety guidelines: TICKS guidelines).
To read a real story about why baby wearing is actually life saving, check out Project Baby Bilum, about poor women in Papua New Guinea.