I believe the proper term is in fact, "babywearing". For those of you not in the know, this would refer to the implementation of a worn sling, mei tei, backpack or wrap, in which to carry your baby.
When I was pregnant with Otto, I was very drawn to babywearing, right from the beginning. With Emma, I was not in the least bit interested. I would guess this was because it wasn't very mainstream, and there just weren't many options back then. But go into any upscale baby boutique these days, and you will undoubtedly find an amazing array of beautiful (and expensive) baby carriers. It is becoming somewhat of a trend, I suppose. But a positive trend, nonetheless. When Emma was a baby, there was the Baby Bjorn, in all it's navy blue glory, and that was it.
While pregnant with Otto, I had planned a special visit to my favourite diaper shop, A Child's Garden (Northampton, Massachusetts), specifically to try out different baby carriers. I tried on two varieties: a mei tei and then a ring sling. With a fake little weighted baby loaded in, it was clear to me right away that I was a sling girl. It was so simple: one very long, single layer of fine Irish linen, with two aluminum rings anchored at one end. I fell in love with this sling instantly! I was amazed at how it made my fake little weighted baby feel so secure to me, that we seemed to have meshed into one single mobile unit. Wow! Just imagine what it would do for me and my real baby!
And so I sprung the $90 and went home with a Sakura Bloom Pure Linen, in Storm.
And then I practiced. For weeks I practiced how I would load the real baby into this contraption.
And then I practiced how I would take him out.
|Hiking with Darren and Otto at 2 weeks old|
Needless to say, I was nervous about using the sling with real life Otto. I waited until he was about two weeks old before I actually got him into it. And I will admit that for about the first month, I fumbled with that sling like the complete amateur that I was. With two rings, and these insanely long fabric edges they call "rails". . .I didn't know what to pull and what to tug. But I kept at it. And before long, the sling became an integral part of daily business with Otto. I don't think I even used our stroller until he was at least three months old. Everywhere we went, he was cradled into my sling; walks with Dottie, doctor's visits, the market, hikes, dinner parties. . .you name it! I would even make dinner or do light housekeeping with Otto nestled in. Snuggled in his storm coloured pod, my little pea was as content as could be.
|Beach vacation with Otto at 9 months old|
Ten months later... I am proud to say, I am a babywearing expert! The sling is a staple in our life, and we rarely leave home without it. Weighing in at over 26 lbs., Otto has graduated from the peapod reclining position to the upright hip carry (his feet dangle free, and he now gets a really good look at the world and at me). Admittedly, with a monkey this size hanging off of you, it's nearly impossible to make a dinner. But the sling does still afford me the hands-free liberty to do something as simple as grocery shop, without being bogged down. And I don't have to worry about what he's doing, since he's right under my nose.
Most importantly, I feel there is an inherent security that comes with this snug physical bond between a mama and her baby. I know that Otto instantly calms when I tighten the fabric through the rings, and he is gently pressed close to me. Perhaps he is reminded of his infant days, reclined in the sling, being lulled to sleep by the pounding movement of my step and the steady rhythm of my breath. Whatever the case may be, Otto and I are crazy about our sling. And it carries up to 35 lbs! So, while Otto is by no means a lightweight, I do believe we will see him hanging out in the sling, for many, many days to come.