When I had my first child, I honestly had no idea that babywearing existed. I’m not sure what rock I lived under, but it’s the truth. I saw my sister attempt a moby wrap once and she was drowning in a 50 foot long piece of fabric. She never figured it out and I definitely did not want to take part in that long strip of frustration. My first kid was also super high needs and I frequently heard myself saying, “I sure wish I had as many arms as an octopus so that I could hold my crying baby and cook food at the same time (although I’ve learned that is a babywearing no-no).” I always chose holding crying baby over food which equaled one very hungry and cranky new mama. When he was a couple months old I discovered some form of crotch-dangling carrier at Target and bought it right away! We used it a couple of times, but it was terribly uncomfortable so I gave up on any pair of artificial limbs. (It should also be noted that I lived in Arkansas when he was born. It isn’t exactly a progressive area and babywearing (and breastfeeding, for that matter) were not the norm, at least not in front of other people.) I was pregnant with my second child while living in Portland, Oregon. Portland was a hub for natural living, breastfeeding, and the definition of progressive. Every mother I knew wore their babies in carriers and wraps. I had never even heard of a woven wrap until I lived here and joined a local babywearing group. I swore to myself that I would give it 2 full weeks with a woven wrap before giving up. By day 1, I wanted to light the thing on fire. By day 3, I was slowly getting the hang of it. By the end of the first week I couldn’t imagine how I ever took care of an infant without some form of carrier.
So here we are. This is our top 12 list of reasons why babywearing is a lifesaver for new parents.
- You can pee without waking baby. Because that sleeping baby is strapped to your body.
- You can pee without an awake baby crying because you don’t have to put them down.
- You can soothe your baby while earning money. I’ve known babywearing hair dressers, yoga and dance instructors, photographers, cafe workers, lawyers, doctors, and librarians that have worn their babies while working.
- If you don’t mind picking crumbs out of your baby’s hair, you can eat in peace.
- You can clean your house.
- You can hike without feeling like your arms might fall off after 20 minutes of lugging around that 15 (or 40!) pound sack of potatoes.
- You can do mommy and me classes while babywearing. Exercise and bonding with baby, simultaneously, sounds like a win to me!
- You can reduce the amount of strangers touching your baby because they are wrapped in their little cocoon against your body.
- You will have an easier time chasing after your toddler if baby is wrapped to you. It leaves your hands free for playing with the sibling; carrying them; feeding them; reading to them; keeping up with them at the children’s museum.
- If your baby has become mobile, it allows you to grocery shop without the little creature ripping everything off the shelves.
- Wearing your baby makes walking and breastfeeding (at the same time) much easier.
- It gives parents a tool for success. There are so many outside forces telling parents that they are failing. Parenting is hard. Being present and attentive to everyone except yourself is hard. Babywearing gives you some power and independence while still meeting everyone’s needs. With babywearing, you can start meeting your own needs more often.
Babywearing can seem daunting when you take those first tentative steps toward the rabbit hole.
“What style of carrier do I try? There are things called a Tula, an Ergo, a liliebaby, a woven wrap. And then those wraps come in different sizes with different fibers and different weaves!”
“What the heck does SSC or DH with a CCCB finish mean??!”
Fear not, fellow mommies. If you can, join a local babywearing group or look for a Babywearing International meet-up in your area. Most of them have a lending library and trained instructors that can show you what there is to use, how to use it, and so on. Start small. Practice. Don’t give up! If it isn’t working, ask for help. I learned to wrap from watching YouTube videos. My favorite is Wrap You In Love. So get out there and give it a shot! Your arms and baby will thank you.
From some of the babywearing parents out there:
“I babywear because I can bring a sense of calm to us both when she isn’t feeling well.” – Mama Caitlin
“Super girl has lots of rescuing to do! She has to get to it and those little legs don’t move as quickly as dad’s do!” – Mama Bekka
“So we can lean and dance all over and be goofy but we don’t have to stop walking.” – Mama Bekka
“Babywearing helps my nap-fighting toddler continue to take naps.” – Mama Antoinette
“It also allows my daughter to stop and smell the flowers.” – Mama Antoinette
“Makes air travel a breeze in a hectic airport!” – Mama Megan
“We can go on adventures that wouldn’t be possible with strollers!” – Mama Myste
“It made gardening possible this summer!” – Mama Alicia
“I run a small boutique shop in Monmouth OR. My two girls 2 and almost 5 go to work with me everyday. Lucy our youngest naps everyday we are at the shop! Makes for a happy mama and shop owner!” -Mama Tyler
“I love that my boyfriend can carry our babies close just as I carried them inside for 9 months.” – Mama Amanda
What does babywearing mean for you? We would love to hear your story and see your babywearing photos!