*This was originally published at Free Your Parenting
Baby wearing is an excellent way to promote security and attachment in early infancy and toddlerhood. Baby wearing can also be convenient, but not in a detached, shiny new gadget, batteries required way. Rather, wearing a baby gives parents free hands while at the same time providing a fantastic way to start building a life-long connection between baby and parent.
I remember a moment, looking down at my daughters gaze when she was just a tiny two week old baby. She was nestled up against my chest, her big blue eyes just staring right at me as if she were trying to decode this world she had pretty much just entered. All was well, all was safe, peaceful and then Crash! OUUU! MaMaaaaa! Wooof!
I looked up, a giant tower of legos my then four year old was working on had been triumphantly destroyed by my two year old. The crashing and clanking excited the dogs who barked. I thought for sure Bella would start crying in fright but as I looked down she was closing her eyes and drifting to sleep, totally content. Despite the commotion, she was completely secure and snuggled, listening to the tick-tack of my heart beating.
I have been baby wearing since my first baby was born. I was probably influenced by memories of my parents wearing my sisters and one friend in particular who I watched in amazement as she wore her 10month old in a beautiful wrap and took two large dogs for a walk in the park. She was moving gracefully and her beautiful boy was all smiles, fully engaged with his world, taking in the view of flowers,trees, faces.
Over the last six years I have tried quite a few wraps, carriers and contraptions and found my favorites. Each of my children were a bit different with how they liked being carried or worn but what they all loved no doubt was being close and comfy.
My first baby loved facing the world as we went to the grocery store, farmers market, taking walks. He hated strollers and no matter how much I tried I invariably ended up wearing him and pushing the empty stroller. In time I used the stroller less and less and opted for a carrier instead. I also learned how to nurse in the carrier and that proved to be a priceless skill with my second baby.
My second baby loved being snuggled up and for his first six months it seemed like I wore him around the clock (although he did learn how to roll, crawl, and sit too). Wearing him was so wonderful,and proved to be a phenomenal tool in balancing life with a toddler and an infant. Activities like going to the playground, for my oldest did not need to be interrupted. I often found myself pushing the swing and nursing while baby wearing. This meant connectedness and contentedness for the three of us and baby wearing made it possible.
Over the years, it’s become totally normal for me to vacuum, cook*, facilitate playgroups, go for walks and I even attempted some wacky version of yoga while baby wearing. Currently, I have been using a multi functional carrier that offers front, side and back carrying options. Having that flexibility with three small children has been great. Bella is nearly 18 months and I still wear her daily.
Most recently while on vacation, wearing Bella was the perfect way to make sure she was able to see the sights, enjoy all the views and fully participate in everything we were doing.
Practicality aside, the security and connectedness that comes along with baby wearing is amazing. Feeling my babies breaths, seeing their loving gaze right by my face, taking the world in together, its truly magical.
Do you have a favorite baby wearing activity? What is it and how did you discover it?
Peace & Be Well