I’m so pleased to have a guest post today from Amy of Anktangle. Amy is the lead editor at Natural Parents Network, and also a nurse and labor doula. She’s been blogging since 2006 (wow!!).
My son Daniel is almost a year old, and he’s on the verge of learning to walk. It’s at this unlikely moment that I find myself falling in love with babywearing all over again. When Daniel was first born, my partner and I wore him all the time, in the pouch sling first (Hotslings), then a woven wrap (Didymos), and eventually the ring sling (Second Womb Slings), mei tai (Babyhawk), and a soft structured carrier (Ergo). We bought such a wide variety of baby carriers because we knew we wouldn’t be buying a stroller right away, and we were right—it wasn’t until he was almost seven months old that we did get one (as a gift). I loved wearing my son: it was convenient, easy to nurse on-the-go, and he seemed to really appreciate the closeness.
I liked to wear him a lot, but as he got older, heavier, and more mobile (and thus, more wiggly), wearing him became a lot more difficult on my body. I found that some days, I didn’t want to put him on at all, even though he still wanted to be carried and snuggled close just as much as before. My partner wasn’t having the same trouble: he seemed to gravitate toward the Ergo, and was wearing Daniel in it daily. Since it’s the most padded of all of our carriers, the extra weight didn’t bother him at all. However, it just wasn’t working for me. I was finding that I needed to constantly readjust the Ergo to fit my body again after Jaymz had been wearing it.
Then one day, I had the idea to try putting Daniel on my back. I had done the back carry in the Ergo several times right after he learned to sit independently, and I had even tried it in my homemade no-sew stretchy wrap, but he had never really enjoyed being back there where he couldn’t see my face. But that day, I was determined. I had been doing Wii fit, and Daniel simply wasn’t having it. No amount of distraction, nursing, finger foods, or fun toys to play with would keep him from getting upset and crawling onto the balance board (very effectively preventing me from performing the exercises). I had been enjoying myself though, and I was getting in some much-needed time for me, so I had an idea: how about trying another back carry?
I looked up a video tutorial of how to tie a woven wrap in a back carry. I decided to try the secured high back carry (the SHBC, for you veteran babywearers) because I thought if he could see over my shoulder, maybe being on my back wouldn’t be so bad. I watched the video once, then got out my wrap and tried it while watching (and pausing to figure out what I was doing).
The first try was…a disaster. Daniel vomited down my back. (Oh, did I not mention that he was sick at the time? No? Well, he was.) Anyway, not to be deterred by a mess, I got us both cleaned up, and tried again. The second try was a success! I got him securely tied onto my back, albeit not quite as high as I was hoping, and wouldn’t you know it? He was as content as could be! I finished my fitness activity with him there on my back (which made it more challenging, but definitely less stressful) and we went on with our day.
Since then, I’ve mastered the back carry with the mei tai, also. I’d say it’s Daniel’s favorite way to be worn these days! As soon as I scoot him around to my back, he gets a big smile on his face and starts signing “more.” He frequently falls asleep back there, and I’m able to sit on the couch while untying the carrier so I can transfer him to his bed with minimal disturbance.
I’m enjoying the convenience of babywearing once again: I can hang my diaper laundry out on the clothesline with Daniel right there, I can work in the garden without having to keep track of where he is (or what he’s putting in his mouth), and I can take him with me on the train, without interrupting his nap time. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on babywearing too soon!
Photo credit: Author’s own