How I became a mother, Wrap Your Baby became a business, and you got 25% off a Natibaby wrap this week – read on!
I became a mother on September 9th 2004. It was a girl! I had planned to name her Molly if she was a girl but once he met her, David insisted that she didn’t look like a Molly.
We spent our first day together in bed (all three of us) trying out names and the first one we all really liked was Ada. David’s father comes from a Jewish family and we loved that Ada is a form of the Hebrew name Adah, which is found in the bible and means “ornament” or “brightness.” I didn’t find out until later that Ada means First Born Daughter in the Nigerian language Igbo, and while we have no known ties to Nigeria, I love that it is appropriate in another language as well.
We gave her my maternal grandmother’s name for her middle name and she became Ada Maria, thus giving her another tie to her heritage, this time to her great grandmother who was half Puerto Rican and half Cuban. Of course, Maria is a name referring the mother of Jesus, giving her two biblical names.
And then, when she was three days old, we fled the home where she was born in the face of Hurricane Ivan, which meant a very unplanned roadtrip to Georgia with a 3 day old baby (we were fortunate that the hurricane did not hit our city and we would soon return to an intact home).
While pregnant, I remembered seeing a mother wrapped up with a little baby at a tiny grocery store in Washington DC when I was a teenager. That was how I wanted to carry my baby. But I didn’t know what she was using, what it was called, or how to find it, all these years later, and I didn’t know anybody who wrapped their baby in that way. But I did my best and before she was born I purchased a Second-hand Snugli carrier at a children’s consignment shop for about $10 and I ordered a Maya Wrap Sling from an ad in Mothering magazine – the only kind of cloth baby carrier I could find.
We tried the Snugli over the two days that we were out of town during her first week of life. We knew we liked having her close and could see how a baby carrier would ease our transition to becoming parents.
We soon learned that Ada was only happy when being held, and usually only wanted me to hold her. Since I couldn’t hold her in the car, she screamed during car rides, and that resulted in a lot more stay-at-home days. I broke out the olive green Maya Wrap and I did use it some but it wasn’t love. Without knowing any other ringslinger, I had no one to help me get the hang of making it really comfortable and useful to us.
I liked the idea of the ringsling – a piece of fabric binding us together – better than the Snugli, but working the rings wasn’t intuitive for me and it never clicked.
As for the Snugli, Ada was just about 3 months old when I stopped using that. We were diapering her with prefolds and wool covers – perfect way to combine the frugality dictated by our recent transition to a single income and the natural fibers we knew were the only thing we wanted around our baby’s sensitive parts – but this resulted in a very big diaper and (I’m not even exaggerating here) one day when I took the Snugli off I had to spend two minutes prying Ada out of it. I was afraid if I ever put her in it again, it would be for good!
Meanwhile, Ada still wanted to be in arms constantly. I didn’t want to try to “teach her” independence while she was still so dependent. I didn’t want her to get used to the idea that her clear communication and biologically normal instincts wouldn’t be answered. But I also didn’t want her under the care of a mother who was short on sleep, sanity, and the ability to feed herself and keep healthy for her family!
I took to the internet and discovered www.thebabywearer.com – what a treasure trove! Long before Facebook existed, that place was full of moms talking about baby carriers for keeping their babies close just like I was trying to do. And the baby carriers were all I wanted them to be – cloth carriers that put no barrier between baby and mother, derived from traditional and time-tested practices around the world and explained for the layman with help from the most generous moms who had already figured it out and wanted others to, as well ❤
Poring over the forums, it didn’t take me long to find the one that called to me. There was no doubt about it, I wanted to be a wrapper. I loved everything about woven wraps, the closeness, the two-shoulder support, the cocoon like environment for baby, the beautiful fabrics and the style of a beautifully wrapped carry. I ordered an EllaRoo wrap, famous for being Summer-weight and just what I wanted for constantly wearing a baby in the Florida heat.
While I waited for it to arrive, I studied photos and photo tutorials online (these were the days before YouTube) and advice for new wrappers. I knew I was ready to use it as soon as I had it in my hands.
Ada was 4 months old when our Mary Ellaroo arrived. She was nursing (she was always nursing) and my husband handed the wrap to me and I wrapped it sloppily around us while seated and we loved it immediately!
Ada continued nursing and fell asleep. I used my hands that were now free to tell my village – the folks on The Babywearer – all about it.
Having found wraps, I sold my ring sling and never looked back. For people like me, a piece of fabric without any rings or buckles is easier to figure out. Adjusting is in pulling, spreading and tying – no messing with straps or threading of rings.
Very soon we were travelling with our baby in our wrap. Wrapping made getting through the airport a breeze. We wrapped all through the Cincinnati Aquarium with several of my college friends, where Ada was too young to care about the scenery but happy to be wrapped on my chest and able to nurse as much as she wanted without slowing me down.
Attending Great Grandma Kate’s Birthday Dinner at a restaurant in Kentucky was a cinch since we didn’t need to lug in a an infant seat. I am NOT a fan of infant car seats being used to carry babies outside of the car so I was thrilled to have something that worked better, wasn’t heavy, allowed my little one to sleep on the go, and let me keep her close.
In December, we took a plane trip to Austin. Here we are at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar admiring the art for sale. An art show is not a good place for a toddler – unless they’re wrapped on your back where they can enjoy the atmosphere, fellow shoppers, and view of the visual cacophony of art without jeopardizing it!
A latina friend pronounced her name “ah-dah” and told me that it is the Spanish word for fairy (although I since learned that the word is spelled with a silent or very soft H – hada). By the time she was 3, Ada was in love with fairies and wore her wings everywhere we went, and once again I was amazed at how fitting her name seemed to be. Here she is, wings and all at Busch Gardens with her father.
From the Birth of Ada to the Birth of Wrap Your Baby:
Over the course of Ada’s first year, wrapping was such a huge part of my life that I wanted to share it with other moms in the area. I started teaching wrapping locally, and bought a small number of EllaRoo wraps at wholesale to sell to moms if they liked what I showed them. My mom helped me build a website with an email address to contact me for anyone who wanted to learn to wrap and I started meeting moms I didn’t know at libraries and parks to give them the opportunity to try wrapping. They almost always bought a wrap after one of our sessions.
I created several wrapping photo tutorial pages on my website, using Ada as my model and they started to get shared around the web. A few years later I added an online wrap store and a few years after that my husband stopped doing construction work in order to help me ship wraps and now this business Ada inspired supports our family of 5.
How did this happen? Becoming a mother was momentous and it took over my life at the time. The one piece of baby gear that made a huge difference to my quality of life every single day was my wrap. Without a comfortable and easy way to hold my baby, we both would have cried a lot more tears. I would not have been able to take care of myself well enough to take good care of my family, would not have been able to get out of the house so often, or met and helped so many families, and might well have gone crazy for a while.
Eleven Years Later
Ada Maria has bloomed into a sweet young lady who still loves fairies but seldom wears wings, who loves to read and draw and do origami. She loves playing with her younger siblings and is a great help to her parents. I don’t regret a moment of holding her close.
Thanks for attending my celebration of Ada. Since you stuck around to the end, I have a party favor for you:
25% off Natibaby wraps in my store
with coupon code ELEVEN
Coupon is good through Wednesday, the 9th of September on Natibaby wraps (the new silk Nursing Love wrap is not included in this sale) in my store. Can not be combined with other discounts, with the exception of 2nds Quality wraps that are already marked at a lower price (the code will take 25% off the price marked in the store).
Limited quantities in limited sizes and they are going fast but here is what’s left as of noon my time (US EST) 4 Sept:
Dark Olive Linen Colibri size 7 (unlisted – please email me if you want this wrap)
Bargain Rainbow Song Linen Blend, size 7
Ring Sling – Original Nati Notes (black background with white music), 100% Cotton, lightly used, size Medium
Black on White Hemp Blend Notes, size 7
Blue Flames Cotton, size 4, 5, 6, 8
Turquoise Winter Wool Blend, size 2, 4, 5, 7
Ring Sling – Greenman, size L