Connie graciously allowed me to share her Facebook post to friends from earlier this month:
Why do we babywear?
For my child with cerebral palsy, babywearing allows him to engage with the world when he was a non-walking toddler; now he walks with orthotics, but tires easily, the carrier allows me to offer him rest and respite.
For my child with ASD, the snug hold of a carrier helps him to organize and calm down when he feels overwhelmed and in need of refuge.
Babywearing allows our children to be fully engaged in the world. We take them places that strollers cannot go, we show them the world that we see. My child who cannot walk without his braces can still go up a mountain, or down to the edge of the sea. My child who gets over-stimulated can still participate in our family and friends’ celebrations and be a part of the community.
One of the fears I have as a mother to special needs children is that their world will be smaller and dimmer than I’d hoped for them. Babywearing helps me to combat that, to write a different future for them, in a world where they know, from the beginning, that they belong.
I know you love wrapping your baby: the closeness, the connection, and the convenience! AND it’s so pretty! And mastering the different wrap carries is fun and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment!
Naturally, you want to share this amazingness with EVERYBODY. But does everybody want to hear? Are you just turning everybody off of babywearing with your enthusiasm?
AVOID posting excessive studies, articles, or other “proofs” about how great babywearing or wrapping are.
INSTEAD talk about the things you’ve been able to do comfortably and easily thanks to a baby carrier:
AVOID looking like a looney when you suggest that a mom might want to wear her baby AND her 40 lb toddler at the same time. Leave tandem wearing discussions between expert babywearers and keep it tame for the general public.
INSTEAD mention how wrapping your newborn made it so much easier to care for your toddler:
AVOID telling your newly pregnant friend that she’s going to prefer a baby carrier to a bucket seat. Positioning yourself in opposition to what she’s always seen and expected just weakens your credibility.
INSTEAD mention that you personally preferred a wrap because the seat was heavy:
Share super cool wrapping related things when you come across them like this babywearing orchestra:
And mostly, just share about your family having fun like everyone else does on Facebook, and if wrapping is a part of your life, it will show up in your pictures and stories without having to force it.
Mandy is a pediatric nurse. She doesn’t work in NICU so hadn’t had experience before with a baby going through withdrawal, but as a babywearing mother, when she found herself responsible for a distraught baby, she knew what she could offer him for comfort! When she shared this in our local babywearing group, I felt fit to burst with emotion: compassion for the baby and mother and also a deep gratitude for the ability to comfort babies with the simplicity of human touch; for the good fortune to know how important this is for babies; and for Mandy to be working when this little one needed that. Mandy reported that the other nurses were continuing to wear the baby so that he was not left adrift when she went home.
In Mandy’s own words, “I’m a pediatric nurse and had a baby going through withdrawal. I made a makeshift sling out of some baby blankets and “wore” him as much as I could. It was the only thing that consistently calmed him down! Wear ALL the babies, even the ones who aren’t our own!”
Babywearing a baby in Florida means knowing how to keep everyone comfortable in hot weather. Here are my suggestions for lighter Summertime wraps, recommendations for cooler carries to use with your wraps, and tips for surviving hot weather wrapping so you don’t have to stay in-doors all Summer!
Tips for Choosing a Wrap
Thin wraps and wraps with open weaves: a thin, airy wrap will be more comfortable than a thick, densely woven wrap and because there is no padding or heavy canvas, has the potential for cooler carrying than many other carriers. Try Ellevill, Wrapsody Breeze, and EllaRoo wraps for the most comfort this Summer.
Short wraps and carries with fewer layers: another cooler option for hot days is a shortie in a single layer carry. If you already have a wrap and it’s not the coolest fabric, it’s good to know that a heavier wrap in a single layer carry can be as cool as a thin wrap with multiple layers. A size 3 or 4 will give most parents several front, back, and hip carry options that won’t warm you up as much as a longer wrap.
If you want a stretchy wrap, choose a cooler stretchy wrap: the silky-soft Wrap DuO is similar to other stretchy wraps on the market, but SO MUCH COOLER, and it does double duty as a wrap you can wear in the water (think pool, beach, splash park, or shower).
Tips for Choosing a Carry:
Cooler carry suggestions (click on the photo to go to instructions page):
There are also some very short carries (size 2 or 3 wrap for most parents) that are tied at shoulder with no waist belt and no pass over the caregiver’s torso and these are great for hot Summer weather:
Rucksack TAS (tied at shoulder)
Double Rebozo Back Carry
Half Jordan’s Back Carry
If you have a longer wrap and are doing Front Wrap Cross Carry, try bunching the crosses at baby’s side to keep some of the layers off baby in hot weather (click the photo to go the the tutorial page where you’ll find instructions for both spread and bunches passes):
6 Tips for Sun Protection:
Even the FDA recommends against using sun screen on babies under 6 months old so here are some old fashioned methods of protecting yourself from excessive sun exposure.
6 Tips to Avoid Over-heating:
Motherhood is an experience that is unique to each of us yet there are certain experiences that many of us have in common. That’s why other moms can be the best allies and friends and help to keep us sane and make us happy.
Jay (founder of the organization) understood that because she felt the absence of that “village” of moms when her baby was born and out of necessity Walking Mums was born.
Jay’s story is here and I love it because I strongly believe that many of the things that make wrapping such a great tool to combat post partum depression (or post natal depression) are present in this organization’s walks, whether the moms use strollers, wraps, or just carry their babies. Some of those powerful elements to mental mom health are: sunlight, fresh air, adult companionship and conversation, enjoyable time spent with baby and exercise.
It sounds ridiculously simple but the truth is that it makes a world of difference feeling cooped up indoors alone with a needy baby vrs strolling outside with other moms (who are also moms and don’t make you feel like an outsider), chatting and making friends.
For one thing, a baby on a walk – whether in a stroller (pronounced Pushcar or Pram if you have a British accent) or a wrap – is usually not crying. That alone can save a mom!
Additionally, exercise, outdoors, and companionship can all positively affect hormones which might leave you feeling like a different person.
Knowing you are not alone in your trials and worries and feelings can also be a game-changer and change tears to laughter before you know it.
Walking Mums of London has recently implemented Introduction to Babywearing Walks/Workshops to complement their existing program of walking with other moms and babies for companionship and enjoyment. During these walks, parents will be able to try 4 types of carriers, with assistance from a certified babywearing consultant.
“We aim to teach people about wraps as we believe they are the most ergonomic and natural types of carriers but unfortunately a bit of time is needed to learn and feel confident and that what we are trying to achieve.”
Their first Into to Babywearing walk/workshop was a great success and Jay was kind enough to share them with me, and let me know that there will be more walks to come!
Bomba is a traditional Puerto Rican dance derived from the island’s African, Spanish, and Taino cultural influences. The dance is named for the drums – bombas – which follow the improvisation of the dancers in an energetic dialogue as the drummer responds to the gestures, moves, and swirling skirts of the dancer:
Jessica drums to the rhythmic dancing of Asia and baby Esmé in a woven wrap. If you enjoyed these, you can see more about their art at Bomba Body Dance and Drumming Co.
Photos by Petal & Vine Photography.
The earthy rainbow wrap Asia and Esmé are wearing is called Barefoot Rainbow and is a Wrap Your Baby exclusive design handwoven in Guatemala by one of Girasol’s weavers.
Sometimes I hear that wrapping is too hard. It has a steep learning curve. There is even a popular meme circulating that begins with “Dear New Wrapper” and promises that as terrible and frustrating as it is to learn to wrap, it will all be so worth it.
I disagree. Wrapping doesn’t have to be hard.
I get emails all the time from parents who just received their wrap, tried it on and LOVED IT. And that’s what I want to happen every time I ship a wrap.
But it is not uncommon for a parent to try a wrap for the first time and end up with a big mess. Baby crying, wrap not supporting them, back hurting . . . what went wrong?
Just this: wrapping is not common in our culture, so we’re totally unfamiliar with it. And just like tying shoes, something you’ve never done and aren’t used to can seem impossible the first few times until it clicks and, with practice, becomes second nature.
So what do we do?
What I do: I provide step-by-step photo and video instructions on my website. I send an instructional DVD with every wrap I ship. I invite questions and am eager to help trouble shoot a problem. I know from experience that I can help you love your wrap!
What you can do to learn wrapping without tears:
If you have any trouble, let’s solve this and get you happily wrapping:
Tatyana relates her experiences with wrapping her babies and toddlers as she and her husband Frank, always adventurous, embark on the adventure of farming:
With two babies 13 months apart, babywearing has saved my sanity way too many times! Me and my husband met hiking the Appalachian Trail, so backpacking is what we love the best. Only when babywearing your load is much more precious than a load of camping equipment.
I was lucky to meet a great local support group (South Florida Babywearing) and learn the right way to carry my first newborn when he was only few weeks old. It has been an amazing closeness ever since – either flying, hiking back in the woods, going around my daily chores, nursing.
We moved to our new farm in Ocala, FL when Nadia was just a month old, and Andrei just 14 months… I tandem-wore them A LOT at that time. It was an adjustment for all of us…new sibling, new bright world outside the womb, new house.
With Frank’s unpredictable travel and work schedule, my hands were, and still are, very full… Two kids, the house to clean, cook, feed the horses, clean the chicken coop, start a vegetable garden, plant a tree, water the flowers, check on my bee-hives (when kids are sleeping at the same time).
Wearing my baby feels safe! When you are working around horses you need to be very careful, and keeping my baby close and safe brings me a peace of mind. Plus, I am always paranoid about fire ants that can bite little feet. Also, we like to take long walks on the country roads around the farm, and me and my husband always carry a baby along.
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