Babywearing has been around for ages, although many seem to think it’s a more recent phenomenon. There are many different types of baby carriers, from ring slings to wraps to soft-structured carriers. The benefits to babywearing are many, including reduced crying from babies, an increased feeling of parental competence, and increased bonding. We realized all these advantages and more as we dealt with colic, post-partum depression and other challenges.
Babywearing as a Mom of Two
We didn’t babywear with my first child, Alexa. The amusing (and somewhat regrettable) fact is that we had a Moby Wrap but never used it. I was a bit intimidated to try it out and just never took the time. Looking back I really wish I would have. My daughter was definitely an in-arms baby so most of our time was spent holding her. She would only nap on my chest. I can’t help but think of how much easier life as a first-time mom would’ve been if I’d just taken the time to learn how to tie the Moby, especially since using it becomes second nature after the first few times.
When we were pregnant with our second child I knew I wanted to try babywearing. It seemed logical to wear my baby and have two free hands for my toddler. Little did I know, babywearing would become an integral part of my life as a mom of two.
Babywearing made life as a mom of two so much easier. We could head out and I didn’t have to worry about where to park a stroller or set an infant bucket seat. When we went out for long errands I had Alexa sit in the shopping cart while I wore my son, Preston. When we played at the park, Preston was right there seeing the sights and experiencing it all with us. I didn’t leave the house without my Moby wrap. I joked that I needed two, one for babywearing at home and one to leave in the car so I never had to worry about forgetting it. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t wear Preston.
Babywearing and the Colicky Baby
When my son was about three weeks old he became very colicky. Babywearing was a lifesaver with a colicky baby. As any mom who has been through colic knows, wearing him in the Moby didn’t always do the trick, but it was high on the list of things we tried to help calm him. We soon found that he was calmer during the day if I wore him, so I did. There were many days where I tied the Moby on first thing in the morning and had it on all day long. He was comfy in there, he was close to me, he could look up and see that he was safe with his mom, and I was able to spend much needed quality time with my daughter. Evenings with a colicky infant were more difficult, but babywearing was always part of the long list of things we tried to help comfort and calm him.
Babywearing and Post-partum Depression
Many moms state there is a learning curve to getting out of the house with two children. Dealing with post-partum depression (PPD) made this learning curve steep. Research has shown that babywearing can make things a little easier for moms struggling with PPD or depression. Having Preston close helped with our bonding experience and also allowed me to provide care for my daughter, family and self.
Babywearing and Bonding with Dad
When Preston was about four months old we started transitioning to using the Ergo. I really liked it and, after some adjustment, so did he. Shortly thereafter I injured my back, which really threw me for a loop, so many of my daily activities relied on the ability to wear my son. I’m sure I got more than a few laughs when I posted “How do moms of two survive without babywearing??” on Facebook. It certainly was a change for us, but it was the start of my husband regularly wearing Preston.
Babywearing is a great way for fathers (and other caregivers) to bond with baby. My husband marveled at how comfortable the Ergo was and now we both wear Preston regularly.
It turned out that babywearing was much more for us than just the logical choice for a mom of two. Between dealing with colic, post-partum depression and the normal issues that go along with becoming a family of four, I can’t imagine life without babywearing.
The following are some excellent resources if you’re looking for more information on babywearing:
1. For more information on the different types of carriers, read Choosing a Baby Carrier from Babywearing International.
2. For tips on safe babywearing, read International Babywearing Week: Safe Babywearing by Lauren at Hobo Mama.
3. To learn more about the recent recalls on sling style carriers by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), read the Position Paper on Babywearing from the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance.
Photo credits: Author
Kristen blogs at Adventures in Mommyhood where she shares her experiences with natural parenting, food allergies and post-partum depression.