Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I believe: in babywearing

Today is the last day of International Babywearing Week. I love babywearing. Let's be clear: I love our stroller, too, and I definitely enjoy tossing a heavy kid in my lovely husband's arms and walking away for a moment of solitude, but I really love babywearing.

Yesterday, wearing baby G at the Summers Farm corn maze.

I've told you before about how E was born the loudest baby in the world and while we can probably just say now from the safe standpoint of distance that she was colicky, at the time we just thought she was loud. And incessant. And for fun, insomniac. We figured out when she was about two weeks old that if I wore her, she'd sleep. And sleeping meant no screaming. Suddenly, I was a babywearer.

We had received a secondhand Bjorn so that's where we started, but we only read the instructions after sticking her in it. The instructions said the baby should weigh at least eight pounds and she was nowhere close, so quickly I bought a Hotsling. After Bjorning and Hotslinging I also flirted with ringslinging and a beautiful wrap mei-tai but then I found my modified mei-tai, seen above, and I knew we had our system.

You know those stress balls that are sold by places like Brookstone and handed out at insurance fairs and motivational seminars? Those squishy foam things that are supposed to bring you enlightenment and peace of mind by their mere squeezability? Baby feet are like those stress balls. But better, obviously. There is no greater path to peace than a happy baby dangling weightlessly* in front of you, with one of his fat feet in each of your fists. Step, squeeze, step, squeeze. Baby squeal (of happy). Yum.

Teensy toes in the foreground, full-sized toes in the background.

*Yes, weightlessly. I mean, not without weight, just without any strain of weight. If I have G snugly in my mei-tai and it's tied properly and positioned well, his entire weight is carried on my hips. I have full arm movement and my shoulders don't feel any strain.

So with #1 babywearing was helpful because of colic. With #2 it was essential because it left me hands-free to avail myself of chasing #1. And with #3, well, for the first time ever I face the end of my baby-having. He's my littlest...and he's not that little. I'm keeping him close while I can keep him close.

Plus his sweaty head smells like marshmallow. And its smell under my nose is as calming to me as my nearby heartbeat is as calming to him.

(You should smell the head of a breastfed baby whenever you can. Seriously, marshmallow. Sometimes cotton-candy. My friend Father Goof calls it caramel. It smells sweet, unless I've eaten a lot of salsa, in which case it smells like garlic.)

It's good for the mama and it's good for the baby and it's convenient and it's peaceful and when he blows bubbles against my chin or practices grasping against the same pendant his sisters pulled I know he's happy and he's a great dance partner and I can whisper a thousand times "I love you" in his ears to carry with him into the years when he won't want to hear it from me and I can nibble on those ears, too, and squeeze his fat feet and pat his round bottom and hear him sigh with contentment, hhhlllyahhh in that high breathy silly baby way and who even cares about reasons for babywearing, just look at that happy drowsy, about to plop-against-me-and-sleep face:
he loves it there and I love him there. Why should he be anywhere else? Pin It


Lenae said...

"Plus his sweaty head smells like marshmallow." YES. This is why I do it :)

And the baby-feet-stress-balls? Totally agree. Actually, that might be why I do it ;)

Mariposa said...

I just found out I'm expecting and definitely plan on "wearing" my baby! :)

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Oh YES! I totally forgot about squeezing baby feet as you go along the way. Oh my goodness. Utter delight.

Okay, mama, you said this all far, far more gorgeously than I ever could have. This made me all dreamy-eyed and nostalgic.

SmartBear said...

Marshmallow! THAT's what that smell was! Oh, how I miss it. I was a babywearer too. I used a ZoloWear pouch. Hubby used it too. Loved it. My tot was not your average sized baby and I am all of 5 foot 3 so it got to be a challenge when he started walking. I loved babywearing though and wish I had more photos of that time.
Adore this post! Love the photos!

a li'l bit squishy said...

With my baby now three, I totally miss my babywearing days. I will never understand the need to plop a babe in a stroller when you could have that lovely marshmallowy smell right under your nose. Plus, I could do ANYTHING with baby in sling because they were always so content.

heather yalin said...

I'm pregnant with our first now, and always planned on being a baby wearer, so I loved reading this! And nice to get recommendations for systems, since I'm doing a little research on which to buy exactly. Thank you!!!

thingsyoudidntdo said...

Hear via Megan from Sorta Crunchy...

And you took the words out of my mouth! The bum patting, ear nibbling, love whispering, fat-feet holding words right. out. of. my. mouth.

I'm wearing my last baby now too...and cherishing every moment! Great post!!