When you see a man or woman wearing a child, stop to thank them for the heart investment they are making into a citizen of the world. —Unknown
In celebration of International Babywearing Week, I thought I’d share one of the greatest pleasures I have experienced as a new mother—babywearing.
The term Babywearing is used to describe the art of holding or carrying a baby or young child using a cloth, sling or other form of baby carrier. For centuries, babywearing has been practiced around the world, but it is only recently that it has gained popularity in the industrialized world.
My work and travels abroad have allowed me to see women all around the world carrying/wearing their babies on their backs or hips in baskets, slings, blankets or brightly colored cloths. However, I didn’t realize that I would do something similar until I was pregnant and saw my friend C carrying her 6-month old baby in a beautifully made red, woven wrap. The brand of her wrap was Didymos, a high quality German-style woven wrap specifically designed to function well as a baby carrier. I immediately knew I wanted to carry my baby the same way. I ordered two Didymos wraps in two fabric blends, silk/cotton and cashmere/cotton, before my baby was born.* I will forever be grateful to my friend C for introducing me to Didymos woven wraps.
Learning to wrap and carry my baby took some time and practice, but it was worth the effort. It has been one of the most valuable parenting tools I have learned for my baby and for myself. There’s nothing quite like that warm, snuggly feeling of having a sweet, happy and content baby (sleeping or awake) on your chest. The ability to kiss his little forehead at any time is, to me, priceless.
I started carrying my baby in a woven wrap when he was a week old. He is now almost 14 months old, a little over 20 lbs, and I still carry him almost everywhere we go. As I started carrying him early, he has always been quite comfortable being carried in the wrap. Although he squirms, at times, to be put in his car seat, high chair or during diaper changes, he has never been squirmy about being put in the wrap. It’s quite natural and comforting to him.
In my experience, babywearing has made nap and bed times easier, it has allowed me to quickly identify my baby’s cues, and it has made my bonding experience with him so much sweeter. Trips to the grocery store, walks at the park or running errands around town are replete with communication about what we see, hear and do and who we encounter along the way. For me, it is so much fun to watch the world through his eyes as we spend time so closely together.
The time will soon come when I will no longer be able to carry him, but for now I treasure and appreciate each skinny minute I can. It’s a beautiful gift.
Carrying baby in such a kangaroo fashion is especially important shortly after birth. It was previously thought that skin-to-skin contact was only necessary for premature babies as it was considered vital for their survival. However, what studies from psychology, zoology and psychiatry now show is that skin-to-skin contact at birth is vital to start the physical and emotional regulation of all babies. When babies are placed on mom’s chest in skin-to-skin contact the first few minutes after birth, babies grow and develop best. Right in these first minutes of life, both emotional and social intelligence are being fired and wired into baby’s brain.
Heart to heart. Soul to soul. We walk the world together, parent and child.
*I purchased my wraps from Woven Wraps. This blog is not affiliated with them, nor am I receiving compensation or benefits from them.