Baby wraps and slings are enjoying a renaissance in the West. They’ve always been popular in developing nations, where childcare is hard to come by for working moms. We’ve all seen images of happy babies worn by their mamas who seem equally content as they cook, wash, or clean.
One can’t help but think: Isn’t that precious? What a lucky pair.
At some point, mothers in the Anglo world began trading their car seat carriers and even their modern structured carriers for the simple yet hardy swathes of linen used elsewhere. They allow parent and child to bond while running around town, and they’re super convenient. It became apparent to the Joneses down the street that the happiest baby on the block was the baby worn with love. Word of these wraps spread far and wide, and fussiness in American babies went down by 94%.
(Yeah, I made that up, but I am probably right).
During my first pregnancy, I began searching for an apparatus that would help me get the baby around when a stroller wouldn’t be practical. A lean lady standing at just under 5’2, I am too slight to lug a heavy car seat carrier around parking lots. As I learned more about the wide variety of wraps, slings, and modified structured carriers on the market, I realized that I was in for a real treat. Crunchy groups on social media were brimming with photos of moms and dads wearing their babes with pride. And I was about to be one of them – ecstatic, and eager to share.
After extensive research, I finally decided on a couple of carriers that would be suitable for different ages. They were excellent choices, and they had resale value. More on that, soon.
Nearly every time I’m out, older ladies gaze lovingly at my 3 month-old as they remark about how wonderful it is that I carry her so close. This has been the case with both girls. Indeed, I consider myself lucky to have access to these carriers that have come about through the challenges of previous generations. Empty nesters wistfully express that they wish they could have carried their babies the same way.
“Those things weren’t around when I was young.”
Well, they were around – all over the world – just not in Formulaville, USA.
Occasionally, a senior hippie lady will beam at me and say, “I wore mine like that, too. I got some looks. I think those moms wanted the bond that my sons and I had.”
I shake my head and laugh, and we both quietly acknowledge that people are psychopaths. There is an unspoken knowing that ‘silky’ moms need to consider back-to-basics parenting. Perhaps ‘progress’ has created too large a gap between parent and child.
Mama Bear wisdom is hard to explain to people who are so attached to the intellect that there is little room for intuition. If you put aside your monkey brain, with all of its conditioning and ramblings, and go into your heart, you will find radiant truths.
One of those truths is that babies don’t want to be apart from you. They have a biological need to be attached to you.
Even my highly intelligent, logical, left-brained husband knew this fact when I was hospitalized for a few days when Kate was 4 months old. He let her sleep on his chest at night. It was no use trying to get her to sleep in the crib or portable bed. She needed her daddy.
If he had tried to ‘sleep train’ her, it would have led to immense sadness and hardship on both ends. I think that anyone with a little bit of sense can see how exquisitely right it is to care for your baby with top-tier affection.
When I came home from the hospital, I could pick up on my husband’s joy and satisfaction from bonding with his little girl. And, after aching so badly from our separation, it was an immense relief to get right back to wearing her like my favorite T-shirt.
I wore her not only to stores, but also around the apartment. It just made things easier. She could even nurse on-the-go. Dinner and chores could get done with nary a twine from the youngling. With wide eyes, she observed all kinds of domestic affairs. The experience was sweeter than pecan pie. 10/10 would recommend.
When Kate was about 8 months old, it was time to retire the Boba wrap and move on to the structured carrier. It had a different feel to it than the wrap, but it was still a lovely thing. My butterball was comfortable in the Ergobaby, and I was able to use it for a year or more. By the time she was walking, I had positioned the Ergobaby so that she was on my back. It was a fun and fleeting moment in our mother-daughter relationship.
And then, one day, she was my big girl. Not a baby. I stowed the carriers away in hopes that there would be another little one.
Nearly three years after we welcomed Kate, we welcomed Klaire. This time, I had the mother of all slings – the Sakura Bloom. The full retail cost is your soul, plus death and taxes. I had bought it barely used at a great price ($80) from a local mom right around the time Kate was too big for it. It was a GREAT buy. I cannot fully articulate how sweet and perfect this sling is for Klaire and me.
Let me just say that it took several tries to get the hang of it – but it was worth it.
Not only is it the most aesthetically pleasing carrier I have seen, but it is easy to grab and go. Lightweight and simple, I can get the baby secured in it fast, even in my sleep.
Once Klaire is six months old, she will probably be too big for the Sakura Bloom. That’s how it goes with ring slings. Is it really worth the price for just 6 months of use? Yes, yes, yes. Don’t miss out on the ring sling, Mama!
I will probably be able to sell my Boba wrap for $20 and the Ergo for $40. As for the Sakura Bloom? Well, although I could potentially sell it for $60, I will do no such thing. It will be one of those Special Mementos that I keep in a Special Box.
Oh my, do I LOVE baby wearing. And holy smokes, a dad wearing a baby is the best thing you will ever see.
Keep calm and wear all the babies.