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A Babywearing Life September 29, 2010

Next Wednesday, the 6th of October, marks the beginning of International Babywearing Week. Of course, round here every week is babywearing week. The small one will be fourteen months old at the end of IBW and he will have been carried in some kind of sling almost every day of his life.

In the early days we would tuck him, tiny and curled, into a chocolate brown peanut shell sling. So small that not even a finger or toe poked over the edge, I could walk around the local shops and often people wouldn’t even realise I was carrying a baby. Then we discovered the miracle that is the wraparound carrier – the hug a bub. A gift from the BLF, this soft and stretchy, pistachio green, organic cotton carrier was my outerwear for months. Well, not just my outerwear – small has been worn by the beloved, The Nanna, The Granny, the LMFs. Where the one-shoulder sling could be a little awkward (I always felt I needed to cradle it with my opposite arm), there was virtually nothing that couldn’t be achieved with small in the hug a bub, although I did draw the line at mowing the lawn. Before small was eight months old we had travelled overseas twice, both times taking the hug a bub instead of a pram. This was partly habit and convenience, but partly because both the beloved and I suffer acutely from Pram Shame. Pram Shame is some kind of allergic reaction to being exposed to Pram Rage, you know… ‘Out of my way! I have a pram! Coming through! I Have A Pram! MOVE! I HAVE A PRAM!’

Nearing one year old, small was starting to seem a little heavier in the hug a bub, stretching it a little more, wanting to look around a lot more. He’d got big enough that stretching around him to reach the kitchen bench, the ironing board, or the keyboard was getting harder and if he was awake and facing outwards his efforts to ‘help’ were getting downright dangerous. I really needed something I could use to carry him on my back. Now we have the Ergo Carrier, with its handy pockets for my keys and the nifty little sleeping hood. It’s fabulous. Although, when I see the group of Burmese parents who gather at our local library, their babies and toddlers tied to their backs with blankets, I wonder if I really need anything that fancy.

Why do we wear our baby? Because we wanted to Attachment Parent – even though our own version of AP has shifted and evolved over time , because it’s easy, convenient, time-saving, sanity-saving, loving, nurturing and fun. For all of these reasons and more. We want to know this tiny person intimately. We want to parent him responsively. We just love it!

So, if you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin or friend of a baby, big or small, why not try it? Leave the pram at home. Strap your baby to your front, your back, your side and go about your business. Find a Babywearing Week event near you and meet some fellow baby-wearers.

Or join me for mine: a Babywearing Walk on Saturday the 9th of October!

International Babywearing Week

A Babes in Arms initiative, sponsored by ERGObaby

October 6-12