Or, why I carry
I’ve generally been celebrating IBW2015 by errrr, carrying Smallest a lot. Which I do, everyday. It’s an innate part of our relationship and something I’ve done since she, like her sister, was days old. So I thought I’d recount some the “journey” as part of the week. You know, I really don’t like the term “babywearing” so I tend to use just plain old “carrying”. The former reminds me of a bit of something nice that is adorned. But a baby isn’t jewellery, she doesn’t just hang there.
Anyway, I digress. Carrying my baby essentially saved both mine and my husband’s sanity when our first daughter was tiny. She cried, quite a bit, and unsurprisingly for a newborn baby who has just been ejected into the bad and cold world, she didn’t want to be put down (Google the fourth trimester, it makes perfect sense). After a teary conversation with a friend she promptly sent me her Close Caboo (a stretchy with rings so you can’t mess up getting it on in your postnatal state) and it changed everything. Suddenly husband and I could sit down at the table and eat together, at the same time; a revelation. Ok so he was carrying her, at the table, trying his best not to drop pasta on her little head whilst she sobbed and then passed out into deep sleep, but honestly I don’t care about details like that.
This all happened around the time I was on the campaign trail to get elected as a borough councillor so carrying her in her (suitably) red carrier became the norm to the point that she accompanied me to the count, snuggled up and oblivious to the roars of noise in the hall.
When she became too heavy for the Close we experimented with Rose & Rebellion, Sleepy Nico and other buckled carriers until I finally got a Madame GooGoo made for me that I used equally with my Didymos Petrol Vogels Dreamcarrier half buckle conversion. You’ll notice a lot of brands there….it can take a while before you find the right carrier. I’m grateful that carriers generally hold their value so it’s easy to recoup costs. At the moment the DC is on loan to a good friend, hopefully saving her sanity with her non napping toddler.
Once the GooGoo was in full use I stopped using the pushchair for the work run. It seemed so much more instinctive to have her on my back, chattering into my ear about the things we could both see. If it was raining, no problem, an umbrella kept us both dry. I once carried her for 7 hours at a demo in Manchester. She loved it. If she wanted to switch off for a bit, she would fall asleep, head buried into my chest or neck. There’s honestly no better feeling than having your child held close. Thank goodness carriers were designed to make them <almost> weightless so you can do it for hours.
I carried my first born until she was 2 3/4 or rather, I was 39 weeks pregnant with our second daughter. The last carry with her was quite poignant though husband continued to carry her home from our childminder until she was 3 1/2.
For Smallest, carrying has also been integral to mothering her in the way I wanted to; the pushchair (a rather nice Mountain Buggy) is languishing under the bed. The beginning of her life wasn’t easy, tongue tie and various external challenges gave carrying even more emotional significance.
I first carried her in a Marsupi Plus (gloriously soft and simple velcro mei tai) until my custom wrap conversation (a vintage Didymos Indio I never used) arrived and she was large enough to use it. Early on in her life I ‘dipped’ into babywearing raffles and happened to win a Mokosh wrap. I couldn’t have hoped for a more beautiful wrap. Fire Malachite is made from cashmere, silk and cotton and it’s been a joy to use; I’ll be reviewing it soon. It also sent me down the rabbit hole of mid-high end wraps and in particular Mokosh as a brand though thankfully I’m more of a passive observer than active purchaser. I have four (bought two, won two) each a different size, design and blend and rejoice in using all of them depending on my mood, Smallest’s mood, how I want to carry (front, hip, back), what we’re doing and the weather (wrap tails in puddles are a bummer).
Regardless of the highly alluring world of luxury wraps (it feeds the fashion geekery in me at a time in my life when wearing McQueen doesn’t really fit) it is all about the carrying. Smallest is happiest cuddled up against my chest. From there she can observe the world, flirt (frequently) with passers by, sleep and on days when she really doesn’t want to be put down and we need to eat, she’s slung onto my back whilst I cook. I’m also blessed to have a childminder who carries Smallest too using the MGG and I’m thrilled that she gets just why carrying a child is so, so lovely.
International babywearing week is as much about enabling others to carry their child as competitions and promos. One website I refer to a lot is Wrap You In Love: http://www.wrapyouinlove.com/ and the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wrapyouinlove for tutorials and tips on wrapping. I also refer to Wrap Your Baby when I’ve forgotten sizes and look for other tips: http://wrapyourbaby.com/wovenwraplength.html.