One of the things that I hold nearest and dearest in my path as a mother so far is Babywearing. I didn’t know anything about Babywearing when I had Valentina. I had a Baby Bjorn on my registry list, but a wise friend of mine got me an Ergo instead as she had been told that they were really popular and more comfortable.
I loved the idea of wrapping the baby and went to a few meetings to learn how. But as much as I loved the idea of Babywearing, those long wraps all tied up like spaghetti seemed cumbersome and complicated to me. I did get a ring sling and that was great for wearing around the house, and out and about when Valentina was really small. But sadly I never mastered the art of wrapping. The pics I’m including here of us in wraps all required a helping hand from someone more knowledgable and experienced!!
Somehow along the way I heard about Tula baby carriers- they’re buckle carriers that are very easy to put on and wear. I rented one from a store here in San Diego and knew within five minutes that I wanted one. Well who would’ve know that Tulas are addicting, and with every generation of Tula I bought, the more hard-to-get they got, and the higher the price tag!
My first Tula was a canvas one with elephants on it. I loved it! When I got my first one made out of a cotton wrap, not from canvas, I was in heaven! Now I have a thing for Meeyoo, which is a type of wrap that is handwoven by two amazing sisters in Ohio, and I’m completed besotted! In fact, my favorite carrier today is an Ocah that was custom made for me from a Meeyoo wrap by a mama in the UK with a real gift and an ever-growing business – I’m not the only one with a passion for very special baby carriers!
My collection of carriers is a source of pride and joy for me. I don’t buy shoes or purses any more, I buy carriers!! Others might think that having several carriers is indulgent and unnecessary, but to me they’re collectors items, and are very close to my heart. Every one has a story, and every one holds memories for me of carrying the most precious cargo of all. Valentina is now 22 months and still loves to be worn. It does happen less frequency as she wants to walk more and more, and these days she has more fun being carried on my back as she can see more. She’ll ask for “backpack” meaning being put on my back in her carrier and she’ll cling to my neck while I buckle her in. I have had people wonder and ask why I carry her when she could walk by herself, and why I even carried her at all when she was younger.
The answer? Babywearing had given me so many opportunities to hold her close to my heart, to kiss her head, to snuggle with her while we walk. I can sing songs to her without anyone else hearing. I can talk to her as we go. I’ve also made some amazing friends in the babywearing community and feel a real sense of solidarity and belonging there. Many of these mamas I’ve never met but I consider them friends and value their support.
I actually think that Babywearing has provided a stronger bond for me with Valentina than breastfeeding (dare I say it!). Part of the reason for that is that I’m still wearing her now coming up on age two, whereas we stopped nursing at one year (thinking it would help us get pregnant). I hope I will still wear her for another year at least.
Now I know the benefits of Babywearing, I am determined to learn to wrap if we are blessed with another squish. But even if I don’t figure out those spaghetti wraps, I know that I’ll have the ring slings and carriers out from the beginning. It’s such a precious art for me and something that she and I have shared, and still cherish.