Happy International Babywearing Week!
To celebrate, I’d love to share with you my 9 top tips for starting off babywearing.
The fist time I saw someone carrying their child on their back is etched on my memory forever.
It was in Bolivia in 2008.
I was travelling with Dave, my now husband (then boyfriend).
I observed a Bolivian woman, who was stood in the marketplace, sling a piece of cloth (perhaps 1.5 m wide) around a small child who was standing up just in front of her. In a flash the child was whipped up and was happily snuggled in on her back.
I was like WOW!
And I said to myself that one day, when I had kids, I was going to carry them like that.
It just felt really natural somehow. Apparently Welsh women used to carry their babies in this way too.
Women around the world have been carrying their babies in cloth forever.
It seems so sad to me that we have lost much of this knowledge.
Women at some point in history began to see prams as the latest (and the best) thing. Having a pram was seen as a status symbol; something to aspire to.
And like many things with parenting and birth, we have lost the wisdom about the way things have been done for thousands of years.
To be fair, I did find my pram really useful. But it was mostly to put my shopping in while my baby was carried!
In 2011, my first child Matilda Rose was born.
She was the kind of child that hated to be put down.
Every time I did, she cried.
It only occurred to me afterwards, on reading The Food Of Love by Kate Evans (which I highly recommend by the way) that actually a lot of babies prefer to be carried.
These experiences inspired my babywearing poem ” My Mother Didn’t Get It!”
9 Top Tips To Start Babywearing
1. Often people start with a stretchy wrap.
Then, when baby gets a bit bigger, say 4-6 months, you can go on to a woven wrap. If you’re experienced and confident though, you can use a woven wrap from birth.
Most people start with putting their baby on your front and then when baby is a bit stronger around 6 months, they can go on your back although I think my second child was around 4 months when she started to go on my back ( I just couldn’t wait and I was an experienced wrapper by then).
2. There are lots of different ways to tie your wrap.
A starter method might be ‘the newborn hughold’ or a ‘front wrap cross carry.’
3. Don’t be scared of ‘wrapping’
That’s the idea of using what is essentially a piece of cloth to carry your baby. You ‘wrap’ your baby.
Lots of people don’t even try because they see the modern baby carriers with straps and buckles as easier and more ergonomic than a wrap but that isn’t necessarily true.
This is why babywearing is SO addictive!
ALL THE KINDS ARE BRILLIANT!
When you learn how to do wrap or carry safely, it’s a fabulously convenient way to carry your baby; far easier than hawking out a pushchair everytime you want to go somewhere.
4. If you’re not keen on one you’ve tried, try a different type!
Even though I started with a stretchy wrap AND a baby carrier, it might seem excessive, but I used them both.
And absolutely loved them.
Then I got a ring sling which I tended to wear more in the house but sometimes out the house too!
5. Check out ‘The Superman Toss’ method on You Tube.
It took me ages to find out how to get my baby on my back like the woman in Bolivia because I didn’t know what to Google!
There are loads of tutorials.
This is how the Bolivian woman got her child on her back.
It looks tricky at first but honestly, it’s really easy when you get the hang of it.
6. The ‘superman toss’, in my opinion, is much easier than ‘the hip scoot’ which is another method of getting the baby on your back.
But try them both and see what you think.
7. There are many fab makes.
Some of my favourites I could recommend include:
- A stretchy wrap by Moby : This was the first wrap I bought my newborn
- An Ergobaby with a newborn insert: This was my first baby carrier
- Ellevil I got my first woven wrap from here!
- Joy and Joe Lovely local (ish) company based in Warrington
- Oscha Gorgeous high end wraps
- Girasol Oh so beautiful
8. You don’t have to buy them new although you can if you want to!
There are various forums online, you can do this. Here are a couple;
I bought, sold and swapped them until my kids stopped being carried when they were in preschool!
9. Find your local sling library.
This is something I’ll always recommend to my KG Hypnobirthing clients
Google your local sling library to find yours.
They are great places to meet other likeminded mums and try out different kinds of slings before you buy.
You most likely have an enormous list of things you need to buy for your baby when you’re pregnant.
My friend helped me out with with two lists in pregnancy;
- things her friend told her were essential and;
- things she thought were essential
And after having my babies, my list would have looked different to hers.
There really is very little you actually need when you have a baby but a sling, I couldn’t have done without.
PS If you have space on your wall for some babywearing art, please check out MY SHOP.