In honour of the fact that I’m currently giving away a KangaWrap on my blog at the moment (enter here if you haven’t already!), I thought I’d write a post about babywearing. The first time I tried Ebony in the carrier she was just a couple of weeks old, and I remember feeling terrified I would somehow tie it wrong. But, with the help of a couple of instructional YouTube videos, I was soon confident enough to venture out of the safety of my house. I carried Ebony, first in a Sleepy Wrap and later in an Ergo, until she was just over 18 months old.
I loved babywearing, there is really nothing lovelier than having your baby asleep on your chest as you walk by the canal on a sunny day. And the specialness of being able to hold those lovely little feet as they dangle by your sides, and kiss that beautiful fuzzy head whenever you want. So, in the hopes of getting you all fired up to enter my competition, here are some of the best things about babywearing:
1. You can sniff their head all day
I love that amazing smell newborn babies have. They smell warm and snuggly and clammy. I used to spend hours just breathing in Ebony as we got to know each other. What a hassle it would have been to have to bend over and sniff her under a pram hood, but with a sling you have access all day long. And can do it discretely, which is useful if you don’t want to get a weird nickname.
2. They hold your hand
Ebony used to reach out for my hand, well, finger, because that’s how tiny her hands used to be, and just hold on tight. She would fall asleep with her finger gripped in her clammy palm as I walked through the countryside.
3. You know where they are
This might sound a bit stupid, and perhaps it’s true that I was a slightly anxious new mother, but I always wanted to know where Ebony was. I didn’t like the idea of her leaving my sight (crazy much?), so babywearing was perfect for me. You can’t lose something that’s strapped to your chest, well, not easily anyway.
4. You have an audience
In my pre-motherhood days, the worst thing that ever happened to me was when I would think of something hilarious to say and have no-one to share it with. I mean, you can’t ring people out of the blue just to tell them about a pun you just thought up. Eventually they just stop answering your calls. A baby is nothing if not a captive audience. And, with the bonus of babywearing, you don’t need to shout the jokes loudly to your baby in the pram, you can whisper them and avoid being judged by nearby strangers.
5. They are warm
No need to worry about layering up with sweatshirts or buying a new scarf, that portable radiator will keep you nice and toasty on even the coldest of winter walks.
6. People can’t snatch them
I’m talking about friends and family members here, though I suspect even Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s child catcher would have trouble hooking a baby from your sling. Everyone wants a hold of the baby, no matter how much you visibly hate being parted from her. Simply strap the baby to your chest and problem solved, everyone will be too terrified of your sling to even suggest such a maneuver.
7. They see what you see
Your baby is nestled into your chest, and can peer out at the world around her. She will see the things you see, hear the noises you hear, and interact with the same people. Babywearing helps babies to be just that little bit more involved in what’s going on around you.
And now for some of the negatives about babywearing, because it’s not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows:
1. People look at you as if you are deranged
From the subtle double take in the street, to this less subtle fearful face as you put your baby in the sling in a public place, you will notice a lot of facial expressions. Even friends and family members won’t be able to stop themselves looking at you as if you might need professional help simply because you have your baby in a sling.
2. People ask if your baby is ok
Strangers perform many wonderful public parenting services. From unsolicited advice to facial prodding, you will soon become well acquainted with total strangers simply because you’ve had a baby. You will get stopped in the street by people enquiring whether your baby is ok in the sling. You know, in case you hadn’t considered that.
3. You get covered in snot
When your baby has a cold, which is basically everyday from October through till March, babywearing pretty much guarantees that your chest will become a hankie. Your chest will shimmer for most of winter, it’s unavoidable.
4. They wee on you
My friend once told me this wasn’t a thing, and that babies don’t wee on you. But, thanks to many a wet patch, I can assure you that they do. Whenever Ebony fell asleep in the sling, she would wee on me. Which is fine, apart from sometimes her nappy would leak. Luckily it was usually on the way home, rather than when we were on our way for lunch. Usually.
5. They are warm
Great in winter, not so great in summer. You will find yourself partially immersed in baby sweat during the summer months. So, actually, you’ll shimmer then too.
6. You have nowhere to put your bags
Prams are so wonderful for storing things, and though I tried to travel light, it’s not that easy when you have a little baby with you. Nappies, outfit changes, toys and snacks, and all of a sudden you’re a bag lady.
7. Your ovaries will tingle
Not while you’re babywearing, but long after, when you encounter a babywearing mum on the street. The sight of a newborn snuggled happily in a sling will set your ovaries alight like nothing else.